Monday, July 19, 2010


What do this lady and I have in common?  We're both the proud owners of sleek, portable Singer Featherweight sewing machines!

First of all, I'd like to be clear that I blame Melody for all of this.  I hadn't ever heard of or seen a Featherweight machine before she brought hers to the Southeast MI PR group.  I've been loving sewing with the group--what a great bunch of people--but traveling with my Kenmore has been a huge nuisance.  It's not intended to be portable, so it weighs a ton, and it's tricky to unscrew it from its table.  Needless to say, I don't have a case for it, or even a place to store an empty case when it's not in use.

So after this week's meet-up, I started seriously coveting a featherweight.  Even though they were originally manufactured and marketed more than 50 years ago, these machines have really stood the test of time, and remain desirable (and valuable) today.  Singer began production of the first featherweights in the 1930s, making several design improvements that set it apart from its predecessor, the Sewhandy.  The Featherweight is made almost entirely of aluminum, so it weighs just over 11 pounds.  And the machine, with all its accessories, slides into a carrying case with about the same footprint as a 6-pack of soda cans.  The featherweight was perfect for the lean years of the 1930s and 40s, when it was introduced, since it was affordable, portable, and it's back-stitch function (a new feature on home sewing machines) was ideal for darning and mending.

Today, there's a significant resale market for Featherweights (search for them on ebay and you'll see what I mean!), with some rarer models, like the 222 free-arm, selling for more than $1000.  I was lucky to find mine locally, on Craig's List, and I think I got a great deal on a machine that's in almost perfect condition.

I spent last night exploring my Featherweight, and I'm planning to post an illustrated "tour" of my machine and its features soon.  Later in the week, the Mr. and I are planning to give it a thorough tune-up, which I'll also definitely write up for the blog.

If you're curious about Featherweights, there's tons of information out there, including histories, pictures, YouTube videos, and of course, plenty of machines for sale, too.  I highly recommend Graham Forsdyke's website,, which was the source of the advertizing images in this post, and much of the historical information, as well.  What's more, he has a copy of the orignial service manual for the Singer Featherweight, which has already proved invaluable to us as we tune up my new machine.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your find! I blame Melody, too. =) There are so many people on the FW kick, I even thought about getting one. I can't justify it, though, because I already have two sewing machines, a serger, and a coverstitch. Anyway, thanks for sharing the pictures!