My new (to me) Featherweight 221 & Resources

I had been watching for an opportunity to acquire a vintage Featherweight.  Seems like all the nice ones are way out of my budget.  I patiently waited and kept an eye out for a good looking machine within my price range.  I found such a machine on eBay this summer.  A 1952 Singer Featherweight 221 being sold for repair as it's power cord was in bad shape.

She looked so pretty, and the machine and decals looked to be in excellent condition.  The description said it sewed (had a photo of stitching too) but was being sold "as is".  I thought for sure I could get her within budget and fix whatever ails her.  Seems like several other folks on eBay had the same idea because the auction became very active at the end, and when the dust settled, I had won.  Yea me!  Couldn't wait to get her home.

This cord has definitely seen better days.

Three of the best sources I've found for Singer Featherweights are:
I did my research on how to clean, oil and lube this machine.  I found Tina Rose's video on how to clean a Featherweight to be helpful.  I set up shop on my dining room table and carefully inspected my new machine inside and out.

The power cord is easily replaceable and I found the part online for a reasonable price.  Turns out that there were a couple other parts on this machine that needed fixing or replacing.  The thread bar was missing (Singer part #PFW-45782) from my machine, and the bobbin plate brackets and screws were gone as well.  Doesn't seem like much, but there appeared to be some damage to the underside of the bobbin plate (see blue arrows in pic below).  Seriously, how did a hole get punched in there??  Since it is critical to hold that finger in-between those brackets, I thought it was best to replace the whole bobbin plate instead of just the brackets. I found everything I needed and/or wanted online either sold new or harvested from a prior machine.  Singer Parts Diagram.

Damaged underside of bobbin plate.
Thread mess when that finger (pink arrow) does not stay in the 12 o'clock position.
The Featherweight doesn't allow for any stray threads around the bobbin, and it can be quite difficult to get all the thread out.  For that mess of thread that I created in the above picture, I found April's video on how to remove thread from the bobbin case to be just the ticket.  I now keep a tiny flat head screwdriver in my sewing case so I can open that gib when needed.

The parts that required replacing on this machine:
  • the power cord
  • thread bar
  • bobbin plate
Other parts that I opted to replace:
  • light bulb - from incandescent which burns very hot, to a LED light.  Much better!  
  • straight side plate with a fancy scroll one.  Just for aesthetics.    
  • felt drip pad inside the bottom pan
  • new rubber cushion feet for both the machine and foot pedal.  
I used:
Here are some before and after shots of my new baby:
Gears behind side plate - before & after.

Gears under top plate - before & after.

Gears on the bottom - before & after.

Metal bottom before & after cleaning.

She wasn't too bad of shape, just old, dirty and in need of cleaning up, but she sure looks pretty now.
Replaced straight plate with scroll one.

And the final test was to see how she sewed.  She sews great!!  Nice even stitch.  I'm so excited for my new-to-me machine.  Here is a an overview glance of the machine and a test stitch:

Happy Stitching!


  1. She's beautiful :)

    I got a featherweight a few years ago and rarely sew with it much trouble to get the threads out :(

    1. Hi Deb,
      those threads can be hard to get out. Take a look at that video it has made it straight forward to do. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. She is pretty! Fun that you got her up and running. I'm happy to own a featherweight. Great little machine to take along to sewing days with friends.

  3. I just got a Featherweight today! Thanks for sharing all the great information. Mine really needs a good cleanup, but just can't wipe the smile off my face just looking at it.

  4. Congrats on your new Featherweight! What a beauty!

  5. I too have a featherweight. It was my first machine. My grandmother purchased it in 1941 and so I am only the second owner. I was using it to sew before it was the 'cool' machine to use. Once at a retreat the lady next to me made a smart-alecky remark about my old machine. Wouldn't you know that now she also has one! HAHAHAHA.

  6. Congrats, Sylvia! It's so beautiful. I'd find my self just standing and admiring it all the time, I'm sure.

  7. Congrats, Sylvia! It's so beautiful. I'd find my self just standing and admiring it all the time, I'm sure.


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