Every once in a while, I find myself at the right place at the right time…
In last week’s blog, I told you that I was spending the weekend with my mom in Graham. She had a follow up appointment with the hematologist and I wanted to go with her. First things first, the doctor’s appointment went wonderfully great and Mom is well on her way back to normalcy. No more iron infusions are required now and there is another follow up appointment in three months. Everything is holding steady, but if she gets to feeling “puny” again, she needs to call the doctor’s office immediately.
THAT has been a year-long, hard journey, my friends. I am so very thankful that her health is better. And a huge “thank you” from me to all of you who emailed, texted, messaged, or called to ask how she was doing and to tell me you all were praying for her. I appreciate that and you all more than I can say.
So anyway, back to being at the right place at the right time. One of Mom’s friends needed my help sorting through some sewing machines. This lady’s mother-in-law had to move into assisted living. And she was a quilter. Her machines and sewing supplies were moved from her home to a storage unit. There were a couple of Pfaffs that I was to look at as well as sort through some boxes of thread and miscellaneous sewing supplies. So, Friday, before Mom’s appointment, she and I went over to the unit to kind of get a “lay of the land.” There were boxes of notions, the two Pfaffs, and to the side of them sat a very inconspicuous black box. It was not very big, but I immediately knew what it probably housed…a Singer Featherweight.
I have been drooling over these machines for years. Several of my quilting friends have one and I’ve always been just a bit envious of this link to the past of our sewing history. I opened the case up, saw what was inside, immediately shut it and asked what was the asking price. A little eBay research later and I walked away with a Singer Featherweight.
What is so special about Featherweights? They were made to last, for one thing. The last Featherweight rolled off the line in 1964 and the first one was produced in 1933. Adapted from the Standard Sewing Machine Company’s SewHandy (bought out by Singer), this little machine was touted by Singer as the “Machine you will sew on, teach your daughter to sew on, and your granddaughter to sew on.” And they are. They are little work horses that although they only sew a straight stitch, can sew through miles of fabric without a whimper.
Ironically, the Singer Company never called them Featherweights. Yes, the name is on the manual and like a lot of iconic ladies such as Madonna and Cher, she’s well-known by only her first name – Featherweight. However, the title Featherweight is nowhere on any of the machines.
From 1933 until 1964 this little jewel was mass produced and shipped all over the world. It traditionally came in black, although there were a few variants. Some of the later ones were kind of a cross between white, cream, and mint green. During World War II, the military had their own Featherweights with a special “crinkle” paint that was mil-spec black to prevent glare. Those beauties had a leather case that was Army green with military issue numbers on the box. As a matter of fact, the only thing that stopped the production of the Featherweight was World War II, when metal was in short supply.
Back to my purchase. Most Featherweights are a 221. Mine is a 222K – which means it’s kind of an odd-ball Featherweight.
My machine does a few things that the other Featherweights can’t. For instance, it is a freearm machine, meaning the bed is detachable. This made sewing cuffs and darning easier. You can also drop the feed dogs on mine.
The serial number is located on the bottom of the machine and you can use that to find out where the machine was made and the date it was manufactured. My machine came from Clydebank, Scotland and her birthday is March 14, 1955. She was one of ten thousand 222K’s made that year.
She doesn’t have a scratch on her and she came with a lot of feet and other gadgets. I even have a Little Foot made specifically for Featherweights.
Look at these prices!
And a really old packet of needles
The case is in excellent condition and the keys came with it. I don’t know how many hands this machine has passed thought, but she has had excellent care. The only thing I’m not sure of is what the clamp-thingie is on the side of the case. The apparatus in the top of the box is where you slide your foot control into to hold it.
I think Sam approves…
I am happy to have this little baby as my new addition to my ever-expanding sewing machine family! She has found a good home and I look forward to spending many hours with her in the future.
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam