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Feb 7, 2013

Be nice to your neighbors. (They may have an old sewing machine they don't want.)



Friends, I'm almost embarrassed to share what just happened to me today but my hunch is you can already guess.

About a week ago, my dear neighbor of more than twenty years, Irma -- you may recall I fixed her old Singer 66 last March -- told me that a well-to-do friend of hers was downsizing and getting rid of a sewing machine.  She'd told her friend about me and said that if I was interested, I could call her friend and make arrangements to take the machine off her hands.

Since the last few weeks I've been dealing with a low-grade sinus infection -- I haven't felt 100% since the first week of January -- I'd neglected to call her.  Well, the day before yesterday, I was over at Irma's -- she'd cooked meatballs for me and Michael -- and she reminded me about her friend and asked if I'd called her yet: Irma's way of saying, Call her already!

Long story short(ish), yesterday I telephoned her friend, who lives about a half mile away.  She said she had no idea what model machine she had, just that she'd seen it in the window of an antiques store many years ago and picked it up (trading in her old zigzagger plus some additional cash for it).  We made arrangements for me to swing by this morning, which I did.  I figured it was probably an old black Singer, but I was expecting a 99K in one of those big wooden boxes or even a 128 with the shuttle bobbin (which she actually does own -- her late husband had turned it into a dining room lamp, with the top of the box serving as the shade, with fringe attached; I wish I'd brought my camera.)  Obviously, as soon as I saw the familiar black case I knew it was neither of those models.

Half an hour later I was back home and gave the machine a good inspection.  The case is in pretty good shape.



Original manual inside.



Assorted attachments including a real Singer-branded walking foot!





The belt had been attached inside out and on the outer edge of the motor axle, if that makes sense, so I reattached it correctly.



Otherwise, all was well.



All the bobbins it came with had more than one color thread wound on them -- a big no-no in my book.







I oiled the innards, dusted it a bit, and she was good to go.  The first stitches looked great! 


 

So there you have it -- another lovely Singer featherweight joins the family.  Will it remain in the family?  We shall see.

Here's a short movie of the machine in action:



Readers, have you ever been gifted a nice sewing machine you didn't really need?  Did you keep it, sell it, or give it away?

How many featherweights are too many featherweights?

Have a great day, everybody!

71 comments:

  1. Too many? When you start using Featherweights as paperweights.

    Isn't it wonderful when the world delivers back a part of the good you've done for someone else?

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    Replies
    1. But the only good thing I did was to take it off her hands! ;)

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  2. How I wish I had a Featherweight.. But they seem to be very rare here in Finland and therefore I own and use a Singer 66 treadle. Its nice but very noisy and I would love to have an old electric machine. My modern Huqsvarna is ok but too plastic-y and somewhat noisy.

    Too bad that shipping from the US to Finland is so damn expensive..

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    Replies
    1. Paula,

      I live in Germany and here the Featherweight is pretty rare here too, but I have seen some in the auctions. I bought mine in Belgium though. In Great Britain they are plenty.

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    2. For a Featherweight, check out Graham's site: He is very highly regarded with respect to Featherweights...
      > Graham Forsdyke
      > Purveyor of fine Featherweights to the gentry
      >
      > http://www.singer-featherweight.com

      Delia

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    3. I'd love to have a Singer 201K. I usually find Singer 201K's on eBay but the sellers are usually in Europe and it's very expensive for me to pay for the machine and for it to be shipped to the U.S..

      The reason I like Singer 201K's is because they can be used as a treadle, hand crank, or a with an electric motor. Oh well (sigh). Maybe one day...

      Delete
  3. There is no such thing as too many Featherweights.

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  4. Trade it for a free arm featherweight, then you'll have one of each!

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  5. I don't have any but now I'm on the lookout! I did wake up one day to find that a neighbor had placed a Singer industrial machine on my front porch. I'm not sure if was a blessing or a curse...industrial machines scare the daylights out of me!!! The behemoth sits in my garage for the day I'll be brave enough.

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    Replies
    1. I once found one of those in my building's trash. I left it there!

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    2. If you live anywhere there are boaters/boat docks, you can always advertise it for sale or trade. There are folks that repair their own canvas covers and sails. And there's always the leather wearing biker crowd.

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    3. Industrial machines are fabulous! Plug it in and start practicing. They can sew over most materials and usually have a very consistent stitch. If it has a knee lift and automatic needle raise (usually done by pressing down with your heels on the front of the treadle), you may never touch a pin cushion again.
      ... and Peter- great score on the Featherweight. You can't have too many.

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    4. You can have them slowed down some so it's less intimidating. Industrial machines are awesome, but unless you work in a commercial sewing factory they go too fast!

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  6. I just love the reverence you have for these machines! So glad it wound up with someone who appreciates it. You have made me want one now after all your living posts about them. I shall have to start looking now!

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  7. How fun! A couple of years ago, a dear neighbor of my parents passed away, and it turned out she was a big sewist! My mom got her Bernina and I got her serger along with a ton of notions and sewing tools. It was absolutely perfect, as I was just starting to get serious about sewing but in no way would have been able to afford all the sewing goodies. Sewing with her things has been a great way to honor an old friend!

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  8. I am incredibly jealous. I used to have a Singer Featherweight that I inherited from my Grandmother. Sadly I accidentally left it in my dorm room one year and didn't realize that it wasn't with me until I had already made the long drive back to Ohio and was unpacking the car several days later. When I called the building they said they had already cleaned out the room and donated anything that was left to Goodwill.

    This is one of the great tragedies of my young life but I can only hope that my machine found a home with someone like you who would treasure it!

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  9. Maybe sell the one that it would replace since this one came free and has sentimentality to it. That's what I would do if all things were equal between the one that you already have.

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  10. How neat that she had a Featherweight!!! It's beautiful!

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  11. You can never have too many FWs! They are cute, adorable, sew wonderfully and fit so easily in a closet! After years of resistance, I finally purchased one for a steal at $150. Two years later, I now have five, purely by accident, including a second run 1934 with the green interior case and a Centennial and one I rescued from the dumpster. I'm refurbishing two of them as gifts - one for my niece and one for my mother-in-law.

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  12. If you ever get too many, then you need to have a Featherweight giveaway on the blog!

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  13. Peter, you are officially the luckiest person on the planet!

    Also, I wish you had gotten a photo of that lamp. It sounds like it was really... something.

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  14. Unbelievable. You might be the luckiest man I know. I will put it down to good karma. You've earned this!

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    Replies
    1. but I'm still seriously jealous. I did get my old Consew from a friend/neighbour who didn't know what to do with it.

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  15. Dude, you are KILLING ME. I want a featherweight so very very much and haven't had the luck in my search that you have. If you do decide to sell one, I'm totally interested and I live in NYC!

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  16. You're a lucky guy! Funny I also hate bobbins with more than one colour. I don't know why I find it so annoying :)

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  17. This is the same machine I have; it originally belonged to my great grandmother. I learned to sew on it, and it makes beautiful stitches. I love my computerized Viking, but there is nothing like sewing with an old machine. Not sure if it is nostalgia, or what, but I could never part with mine.

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  18. Quick...buy a lottery ticket! Its your lucky day!

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  19. Wow, that runs so nicely. I've never had the pleasure of sewing with a FW. I might just have to check it out now.

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  20. You lucky devil! I never wind more than one color on a bobbin. I just gave away my Pfaff 7570 to a young man who needs a machine. Yes, I do have too many machines. I hope you feel better!

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  21. I got a lovely Bernina as a bequest from a friend. It is nice, but the learning curve from a bottom of the line Kenmore was steep. :)

    Ann in MT

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  22. What a beauty that featherweight is.
    I was just gifted an old singer from 1910. It's a treadle machine. Sadly it did not come with a cabinet. I am wondering if it is worth putting money into to find a cabinet for it. Do you sew on your treadle machine? I know they are tricky to get used to but I've been told they sew very well. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Kathi, the short answer is yes, if you want to treadle with it, it's worth getting the table. That said, the tables are usually more expensive than the machine (and you'll want to make sure the table is the correct one; Singer tables may not fit other machines and vice versa). I'd see what's available locally, since you don't want to ship a treadle table! Sometimes they go for very little money since most people don't have any use for them. I also think you're likely to find that most tables already come with a machine; you might end up with two!

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    2. Thanks. I'll get looking for a cabinet.

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    3. Kathi,

      I live in Texas and I frequently see nice, usable treadle tables on craigslist for $50 or less. You have to be quick! The good ones go fast! (And the water damaged ones stay listed forever.)

      Last year I got a great condition 3 drawer treadle cabinet that had been refinished for $30. It came with a working model 66 with a motor and a portable case, too.

      I use the table to treadle with my Singer 237. It's a lot of fun and worth the effort for me.

      Delete
    4. Thanks Aimee. I am in Massachusetts. I have been looking on Craig's list and people want $200 and up for a cabinet. I talked to a local antique dealer and he said he can get me one for between $25 to $50. He said he'd call when he comes across one but I'm still keeping my eye open. I can't wait to treadle.

      Delete
  23. You can never have too many Featherweights. I love mine (which my mom bought nearly 70 years ago). My computerized machine recently froze up on me in the middle of sewing flags for the colorguard. While it was out for service, I happily used the Featherweight. It's still my go-to machine for buttonholes and super-duper thick fabrics.

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  24. Peter, I agree you are a luck person, God bless! One of yours is a Centennial, so whatever you decide, keep this one. Well, for the free-arm you will probably need to sell 2 of them.

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  25. Congratulations!! What a wonderful gift - to someone who most certainly appreciates what it is!

    So, I'm really curious to know what in what year was it issues? I can't see much of the faceplate, but I suspect it might be striated? That would suggest it is post WWII or there abouts.

    So, what will be honored as the first project you sew on it?

    And yes, I've been gifted a few very nice sewing machines - among them my second Featherweight and a Bernina 125 - the very old mechanical model, not the newer computerized version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AJ 142734 -- so March, 1949, apparently.

      I wouldn't say no to a Bernina! ;)

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  26. Jealous, very jealous. Congratulations! Sometimes the universe is kind.

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  27. I I feel sad about the table lamp. You do realise VS machines DO work!?

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  28. I was gifted a featherweight several years ago; I'll have to share that story on my blog. Your new lady is mighty pretty!

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  29. weren;t you telling me just the other day that you need at least three? that way they all keep each other company? ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Just five more and I'll have a baseball team!

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    2. Peter if you did a Featherweight contest I think you'd set a record for blog comments lol :)

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    3. FABLE!

      A Phyllis Phan

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  30. Oh wow. This is my dream! I've been looking for a featherweight to take on sew days for years, but I can't afford what most people ask for one. I keep hoping that I'll find one at a garage sale or something! You lucky duck!

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  31. Everyone needs an Irma!!!

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  32. I am so envious!

    My mother used to put multiple color threads in the same bobbin. I can't do it. It upsets my sense of order.

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  33. Holy shit! You are a freaking Featherweight magnet! You are bizarrely attractive to Featherweights. They find you irresistible. How do you do it? Let me know if you're thinking of getting rid of one.

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    Replies
    1. The first three I bought, don't forget. There's a FW auction ending for on eBay just about every 15 minutes!

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    2. I have no patience for ebay. I need to ask my husband to find me one.

      Delete
  34. Wow that FW looks like it's in great condition. No doubt the sound will lessen as the oil works its way through. And no major fixes.
    I don't know if you can have too many. Always a couple of "hangar queens" of the same model are handy to have around for parts. That's aircraft talk for an old aircraft stored in the hangar and greatly respected for the donations she has to offer.
    Love the way you refer to your new machine as "her", just like a ship you are sailing.
    I love my FW that I inherited from my mother. It's all tuned up and ready to go for things like another commenter noted, thick sewing, and with the buttonhole attachment, the best looking buttonholes I've ever seen a machine make and so simple to set up. Less room for human error.
    What ever you do with your new machine I'm sure it will be honoured - that means not sitting in a corner gathering dust!
    Barb

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  35. How do such insanely amazing things like this never happen to me??!! You scored! After your latest Singer Featherweight posts I got myself completely obsessed and just made payment on a 221k which should be winging its way from the UK in the next day or two. Being from Australia, they don't appear too regularly for sale, and since the UK has motors with the same voltage it seemed the way to go. Beautiful scroll-faced 221k for $180 (AUD) - best in Oz would be about $300. I am sooooo excited!

    Can you own too many Featherweights? I'm with the school of thought that if you aren't actually using them all don't just hang on to them - there are so many people out there wanting one to sew with - share the love I say!!

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  36. There is a reason this happened. You are the right person for this machine to have gone to. You will either give it a happy home or find a happy home for it. I would advise selling it - and no guilt attached! Selling it assures that the person who gets it actually wants it enough to spend $$ on it.

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  37. Now that's true luck-scoring a featherweight for free. Hmmm I have one and if another one or two wandered in,I'd just let them be friends at least until I was clear headed about the whole situation and formally adopted them.

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  38. Wow, you must have generated some seriously good karma to get a Featherweight FREE! Congratulations. I'm sure you'll be able to sell it if you decide not to keep it.

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  39. If you feel bad about selling it then sell the one you have and keep the good karma one. However when my dear knitting friend passed away and we inherited her yarn stash we wanted every little skein to have a place but after a year we realized we either had to sell or throw/donate away. She was shopping up until the day she passed and we would never be able to catch up with her planned but unstarted project dreams.

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  40. Wow, you must be the luckiest person I know!! *jealous*
    I noticed in your video that you're using a cross wound thread on a vertical spool holder. Since I started quilting, I've learned that cross wound thread should be delivered from the top, not the side. A vertical spool pin on the Featherweight should only deliver thread from straight wound spools. For more info, check this video: http://goo.gl/bHcVX The explanation on this starts at 1:33.

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  41. Not long before she passed away, my mom's next door neighbor gave me her old sewing machine. It's a 1950s Domestic, in all of its turquoise and chrome glory. It's in great shape and came with all sorts of accessories. I have a Janome for my lighter sewing, but the Domestic gets hauled (literally, the thing weighs at least 30 lbs) out when I'm working with heavier fabrics, vinyl, etc. It hems jeans beautifully.

    My husband, being a weekend warrior car restorer, has designs on turning me into a one-gal sweat shop and pumping out vehicle upholstery on the thing. I said no.

    Right now it needs a tune up because the tension is a bit wonky, bit it's a well loved member of my machine entourage. I like to think that mom's neighbor is happy that it has a good home. And with its unique color and gleaming curves, it is the envy of every retro sewer friend I have. It's the sewing machine equivalent of a baby T-bird.

    I've had it ten years, though, and have yet to name it! I need to get on that.

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  42. I am also the lucky recipient of a free Featherweight. One of my friend was moving, and he said he had "a tiny sewing machine in a travel case" if I wanted it. I told him it was likely a Featherweight, and worth a couple hundred $$, but he said, "you don't understand, I don't want to sell it, I want to give it to someone who will use it." So I am the proud owner of two black Featherweights, both in good condition. I think that when my granddaughter is old enough, one will go to her.

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  43. OMG, that's the SAME model I learned to sew on! It was the only thing I asked my mother to give to me, but she gave it away as she was descending into Alzheimer's, alas. Sew in good health!

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  44. How amazing! Gotta love neighbors (and their friends)... :)

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  45. Peter, you lucky fellow! Enjoy it. LOL about the baseball team. Mom had 2 and I only brought back 1. I plan on bringing the other 1 up and it will go to a very dear friend of mine who really wants one. I just gave away a Pfaff 7570CD to a young man who just started sewing and needs a good machine.

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  46. ;) You could offer it as a giveaway for the Sew Grateful week....

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  47. You lucky guy - a free Featherweight with all those goodies, in a great case? I have two that I bought, both from antique dealers in the same town in Maine, but 4 years apart. I love them both, and wouldn't trade them for anything. But neither had a manual or a box with attachments, and each case has at least one problem, with both cases constantly growing that cellar-musty-smelly stuff. I'm so envious!

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    Replies
    1. If it's any solace, Janee, my cases smell a little musty too. ;)

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  48. Add me to the list of people who really want a featherweight (So I can have a light machine to take places with me to sew, my cast iron machines are not so light, and I often go to other's houses and churches to sew.) but can't afford the crazy expensive prices they seem to go for on ebay and craigslist. I have high hope for finding one for a reasonable (though higher than I usually pay for vintage machines) price at a garage sale. I bought both my 201 and 15-91 for $10 each and my 501 for $50. (Which I thought was crazy, but I really wanted it!) so I think it is possible. I just need to be patient as I wait for the right machine to find me.

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  49. I just got my first featherweight. I also got a card table to go with it so I can set up a portable sewing space in my small studio apartment. How terrific for you! I love mine.

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