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what to look for when buying
singer featherweight 221?
Tishie

Tishie
USA
Member since 4/7/08
Posts: 426
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Date: 11/18/08 4:19 PM

Thinking of getting this machine locally off craigslist, what should I be aware of. Is the serial # important? Obviously it should be in working order, and I would hope to get several feet / accessories. Thanks for the help.

lamx
lamx
Intermediate
Maryland USA
Member since 10/4/04
Posts: 50
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In reply to Tishie


Date: 11/19/08 6:30 PM

Make sure the bobbin case is with the machine. A replacement can cost up to $60. Look around the bottom for corrosion - aluminum corrosion is a white, powdery substance. Bobbin winders often break off, make sure the bobbin winder is there.

Ed

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Sewing-machines.blogspot.com

Barbara3
Barbara3  Friend of PR
Intermediate
USA
Member since 5/22/06
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Date: 6/2/10 6:08 PM

I know this is an old thread, but my questions seem to fit here. I'm hoping that some of you familiar with Singer Featherweight 221s might be able to tell me the following:

- Were there any functional or quality changes made to these machines over the nearly 30 years that they were manufactured? Any cosmetic changes?

- If so, could that mean that there are advantages or disadvantages to buying an older (1930s) versus a more recent (1950s) Featherweight?

- What would you want to be particularly aware of when looking at buying one of these machines? My first thought was that the wiring would likely need to be completely replaced. What do you think?

Please feel free to offer any advice or comments to help me learn about how to buy this type of machine. Thanks very much!

Soolip
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Soolip
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California USA
Member since 6/18/08
Posts: 2259
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Date: 6/2/10 6:36 PM

1) Make sure a case comes with the machine. If it's marked up, or the latches are broken, they can be repaired. Replacement cases are available, but they are not as good as the originals.

2) The only major change over the years was the addition of the internal timing belt on the WHITE FWs only. They also have a shorter extension table. The other changes are primarily cosmetic, as in the scroll vs. striated faceplates. Functionally, the quality was consistent throuout the model's run and there is no advantage to buying a later (or earlier model). Some years are more sought after by collectors (a Centennial, 1951, machine usually costs about $50 more, for example), and there are a few "limited edition" models, which are identified by changes in the design of the Singer badge. By and large, they all function the same.

3) The condition of the decals and paint dramatically affects the value of the machine.

4) Usually the wiring on these machines has already been replaced. If not, it's easy to do. DO NOT attempt to re-wire the light. You shouldn't have to anyway.

5) Get David McCallum's book/dvd combo on the Featherweight. These will tell you everything you need to know about repairing and restoring these machines and their cases.

6) If the attachments are not available, they are plentiful and cheap. Not to worry.

7) Anything that needs to be replaced on these machines is available, even the motors. Unless it's been in a fire or stepped on by an elephant you should be able to get it to sew.

LynnRowe
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LynnRowe  Friend of PR
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In reply to Soolip


Date: 6/2/10 7:26 PM

Great info, thanks, Soolip.

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I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

GothDom
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GothDom  Friend of PR
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In reply to Soolip


Date: 6/2/10 8:14 PM

Quote: Soolip

7) Anything that needs to be replaced on these machines is available, even the motors. Unless it's been in a fire or stepped on by an elephant you should be able to get it to sew.

lol, this actualy had me laughing

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This one, that one, and a bunch of other ones!
(though the herd is getting more streamlined)

Donna H
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Donna H
Washington USA
Member since 9/29/05
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Date: 6/2/10 8:25 PM

To add to what Soolip said....the earlier FWs had unnumbered tension dials. Not a big deal, but if you're looking for a number, it won't be there on the earlier models.

And...most FWs don't need to be rewired. I have yet to see one that needed it and I've handled a couple of dozen.

------
The single most important discovery made by a group of women? The Empty Tomb!

http://www.donnahodgson.blogspot.com/

Soolip
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Soolip
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California USA
Member since 6/18/08
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In reply to Donna H


Date: 6/2/10 10:28 PM

Donna, you're right about the wiring on FW. With a lot of other models, it's the wire going to the motor that gets soft and cracked -- not really the plug/controller cord. Is there even a wire from the plug to the motor? I'm sure there is, but it's hidden away...

Barbara3
Barbara3  Friend of PR
Intermediate
USA
Member since 5/22/06
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Date: 6/2/10 10:42 PM

Thanks SO much for that great information, Soolip and Donna. PR is such a resource.

I'm not sure I understand why the old wiring wouldn't need replacing if it hadn't been - even if (and particularly because) it is hidden away. Would you really feel 75-yr-old wiring is safe? Even if safe, would you feel that such old wiring serves the motor best?

I will definitely look into getting David McCallum's publication.

What do you feel the range of fair prices for FWs in good condition are today?

Soolip
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Soolip
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In reply to Barbara3


Date: 6/2/10 10:56 PM

I paid $100 for mine. It included a case in decent shape (had to re-rivet one of the latches, easy enough), all the attachments in the original box and the manual. The paint and decals were in good shape, only a few scratches which polished up quite well.

I wasn't looking for one, but the price was good, and personally I don't think I would pay more. However, this is up to the individual. If you are really hot for a Featherweight, there are plenty out there at premium prices. If you are willing to be patient you'll find a bargain.

Regarding the wiring, I just opened mine up. The wiring is underneath, and it checked out fine -- not soft or cracked. Replacing the wires on this machine looks like a chore, but not difficult.

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