Dating Your Singer Featherweight
Now available in our online store: FeatherweightThe Perfect Portable, 3rd edition. The ultimate Featherweight book, at a discount! The Singer Featherweight portable sewing machine is a model made by that company between and The machine modeladapted from an earlier portable, the Standard SewHandy which company was bought out by Singer weighs about 11 pounds and has been found to be an ideal machine quilters and other sewers feathwrweight take to classes or "on location.
Even the oldest machines, if they've been cared for, still sew wonderfully. The Featherweight came in a standard black model made in the U. Those made before World War II and apparently a few after the war had an attractive "Egyptian Scrollwork" pattern on the faceplate, while most of those made after the war had a simple, striated pattern of vertical stripes. They were further decorated with gold decals and the Singer name, but nowhere do they say "Featherweight" on them.
In Great Britain a white Featherweight was sold, which was made in Scotland. Some "mint green" machines are also rumored to have been made, but opinions vary over whether macgines was really dating featherweight sewing machines green machine or merely a white one with a green tinge to the paint. Larry Oliver, a Featherweight collector on Compuserve, wrote to me: They were Great Britain models. He had a government contract model made during WW2. The finish was mil-spec black crinkle non- glare.
These were used, according to him, by our armed services. He lost the case but said it was the same case as the commercial model without the leather covering. It was Army green with the appropriate military issue numbers stenciled on the box. I have featherwieght doubt his story featherwejght true, but I've never been able to confirm it. The machine 'looked' right though and did not appear to be a re-paint job. Darla Trenner has done some research on these unusual Featherweights, and has posted her findings at her "Crinkle and Blackside Machines" website at http: Both American and British models are characterized by a fold-up extension of the bed, or dating featherweight sewing machines, to add more sewing surface on the left side of feqtherweight needle.
The fold-up aspect allows the machine to be tucked into an almost cubical wooden case, along with its attachments. One variant is a model made for a short period in which the bed is detachable to allow "free-arm" sewing of cuffs and darning. The Featherweight is an excellent machine for piecing, but it is not recommended that machine quilting be done on it due to the possibility dating featherweight sewing machines burning out the motor. Having said that, many quilters on the internet report that they successfully machine quilt using their Featherweights.
Since the feed dogs cannot be lowered, it is necessary to cover them up with plastic or cardboard in order to machine quilt. Some Singer attachments, dating featherweight sewing machines as the buttonholer, come with a feed dog cover that can also be used for machine quilting. Featherweights come with six basic attachments: The best instructions on how to use these attachments featheerweight in the Singer manual.
Featherweight users also report that they have successfully used the "Little Foot" on their machines, as well as some brands of walking feet. The Featherweight is a low-shank machine. Featherweights, in spite of their cult status, are not rare. A great many of them were made and are featherweivht dating featherweight sewing machines through used sewing machine dealers, from matchmaking 3v3 lol, at garage and estate sales, by mail order, and through sellers on online services and the internet.
Since the machines are not labeled "Featherweight" they are often fsatherweight for sale as "old Singer" or "antique Singer" machines and some detective work is necessary to sort the Featherwelght from the other antique machines being sold. The light weight and the fold-up feattherweight are two indicators. Very diligent shopping should turn up one or more Featherweights in your local area, and they've been known to travel in packs, and reappear miraculously out of grandma's dating featherweight sewing machines or attic!
You will probably pay more to a dealer than you will at an estate sale, so it is worth combing the weekly Advertiser or classifieds and doing some driving if ssewing want a bargain. Dating featherweight sewing machines criteria vary from location to location but are based on the running condition of the machine and its appearance, as well as its rarity. For run-of-the-mill Featherweights, one dealer in Atlanta says he prices his mainly based on how good they look, i.
Older machines will not necessarily sell for more than newer ones. You should be able to try out the machine to see how well it sews, and you should make sure it's complete. One of the most frequently dating featherweight sewing machines items is the bobbin case. Ideally your Featherweight will come with its original carrying case in good dating featherweight sewing machines broken featherweighy and missing handles are sometimes a problem and all of its attachments. Lack feahherweight these is reason to discount the price.
Determining the approximate date of manufacture of a Featherweight is easy if the serial number is still intact. The number, which is on the bottom of the machine, will be preceded by a two-letter code, beginning with A for U. Use featherweighh chart below to decode it. The following machines were manufactured in Scotland, at the Kilbowie Plant, and thus are of the K for Kilbowie series. White Featherweights which were datiing in the U.
These were the last gasp of the Featherweight as a new feaherweight. They may have a variety of featheeweight numbers. While the above tables provide approximate dates, it is known that some machines were made in years other than those indicated here. For instance my AJ series machine was actually made on November 18, Other Featherweight owners have told me of similar discrepancies in the dating of machines, including machines with scrollwork faceplates made as late as or It is also worthy of note that changing faceplates is fairly simple, and macbines earlier face- plates may have been put on later machines by dealers or previous sewinng.
If you wish to find out the exact date your Singer was featherweigght, and the place, you can email them at talktous singerco. Be aware that their records are srwing always accurate and some people have been informed by Singer that their Featherweight was not a FW at all, but some other model machine.