For some reason, 2010 seems to be a year of restoration for me. I can’t recall when I’ve fixed so many things. Last evening, I decided to take a look at my Singer Featherweight that I purchased ten years ago. It came from an antique dealer on eBay and I was less than pleased when I received it back in April of 2000. The machine had been advertised as being “in good working order” but wouldn’t sew a stitch when it came. The seller never did make any adjustment on it. I don’t like to leave Negative Feedback but did. I recall spending the day before Easter with it and over the course of several hours finally did get it up and running. For some time, it has lived in our “poodlemobile” (travel trailer) that we take to dog shows. It is compact and fits easily into several of the compartments there. I always felt better having it along in case something ripped while we were out.
I bought the Featherweight machine back when I was VERY active in doll making and it was recommended for being able to sew leather or fur. Basically, I use these items on a limited basis but still wanted to have a machine with that capability. At the time, the old Singer treadle that I learned to sew on when I was 12 years old was still back at my parent’s home. I begged and pleaded to have it for years. When the treadle finally joined me, it was totally seized up and rusted–apparently from the humidity of being kept in a laundry room. I did manage to get it moving again but am not sure if it will ever be right. So sad. There’s another restoration job.
Recently, I’ve been designing some purses and decided to try and get the Featherweight machine back into service. Last evening, I was cutting out my green naugahyde (sounds hideous I know but stay tuned) and decided to give the Featherweight a test run. The stitching is beautiful but the machine runs SLOW. I’m used to sewing “pedal to the metal” and the top speed on this machine is seriously lacking. Later today, I’ll be exploring some options and cleaning up my Featherweight. It really is a very cute and potentially serviceable sewing machine.
It weighs around 11 pounds and fits inside a carry case. One of the best surprises was that I “discovered” it has a full set of attachments included! If you’ll recall, I had previously written about the Griest attachments that don’t fit anything. So, it was rather like an early Christmas present to find that I actually have attachments that will fit on a machine!!
I’ve been doing some online research and was most curious about the age of my Featherweight. Its serial number is AK085781. After a few dead links for determining age; I found a working one at:
which tells me that my machine is an AK series and is one of 50,000 was made in January 29, 1951. It is actually older than me but apparently not that rare whereas I am definitely one of a kind. <g>
OH–and there is not a way to drop the feed dogs on this model of the Featherweight. That’s been the main issue on my regular machine as they chew up vinyl. For now, I’m working in vinyl until I get my patterns perfected but eventually will be doing some leather work. Eventually, I’m probably going to have to invest in a leather machine if this new venture gets going. (No, sweetie–I was not going to sew a Buick fender with my Featherweight. Wow–record time on and off a ’help’ list.) Looks like the next investment will be a darning plate/feed dog cover. I’m hoping that the motor is alright or can be repaired. (sigh)
Here is my first purse which is still in progress as it currently has no back. It’s a box style purse and my original design. I’m not at all fond of working with the Barge glue even outside with lots of ventilation. We’re currently buried under almost two feet of snow and it’s 18F, so working outside is not an option. It’s a great day to stay inside though and repair things or sew.
The poodle purse in progress.
The inside of the poodle purse. Unfortunately, the glue won’t adhere the fuschia crocodile vinyl to itself–so I had to make some design changes to the lid of the purse.
“When it’s cold–just get out your afghan.”
Our afghan hound “Geisha” powering through the snow. This was taken on 12/6/2010 when the snow was **only** around a foot deep.
My daughter handling Geisha. Note how they are in perfect step even in a foot of snow. 12/6/2010
“Where, Oh where is my chair?” Taken yesterday 12/7/2010 around 4 PM. It’s been snowing all night. Humans, afghan hound and poodles are staying inside as much as possible.
Singer Featherweight Case
Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 221-1 (1951 Centennial Edition)
Featherweight with Attachments Box
Featherweight with Attachments
Singer Featherweight Attachments Close-up
Oil, Manual and Lubricant