Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I've been quilting for 25 years and sewing for more years than that. I don't remember when I first became interested in owning a Singer Featherweight, but they always seemed out of my price park. I clearly remember seeing one in an Antique Collective in Santa Rosa, CA circa 1989 and the asking price was $195.00. (!) At the time I'd heard of quilt friends getting them at garage sales for 50.00 or 75.00 dollars, so I thought one-ninety-five was highway robbery!

Well time went on, I never fell out of love with quilting and my interest in acquiring a Featherweight didn't slack. In 1998 I was working in our local sewing machine sales and service shop. The owner/manager had a *stack* of old, used machines of all makes and models in the back room that we called the boneyard, mostly because they were back there to pull parts from for repairs. I was digging around one day looking for a model to match the machine I was servicing and I happened across the familiar 'black box'. I went to the manager and asked her, "Did you know that was back there? Do you *want* it??" Yes, she knew and - well yes, she wanted it. The next day I noticed it was no longer in the bone yard.

Fast forward to last year, almost ten years later. I found out there are *lots* of Featherweights being offered for sale on e-bay. So I found a few that were in my price park, set bids and waited. I was THRILLED when I won the fourth machine I bid on, complete with oil can, manual and attachements. And guess what? The price was $195.00! Well that was a bargin because now Featherweights sell for 400.00 or 500.00 in my area. I figured I better get one now!

Isn't she adorable? She has all the art noveau decals on the metal and that nifty scroll-work plate that covers the left end. I call her Adella. :D That's because the last time I took her to Rosy's for a sew day we all decided to name our Featherweights. The names were very last generation, like Iva, Beatrice and Miriam. I settled on Adella. Don't ask me why.

The only down side to buying Adella from e-bay was not being able to see her before hand. The only thing less than perfect about her is really just the carrying case. The handle seemed to be made out of cardboard and was slipped into a metal band. The cardboard disintegrated and I was left holding the box so to speak. I talked it over with DH and after a trip to the local hardware store, this is what I have now.

It's a drawer handle out of burnished silver; very nice. Thank you DH!

But look at Patti's case! WoW! If her case looks like *that* what must the machine look like? Hey Patti, what's the name of your Featherweight??


Patti said...

Hee, hee Leslie - if you'd not mentioned me by name I'd never have recognized my featherweight in the picture that you obviously photoshopped off my website. My longarm has a name but I've never thought to name my featherweight. I guess I should, since she's my very best friend of all when it comes to quilting. I bought mine for $350 in 1993 (I think) at a vendor booth at a quilt show in Portland Oregon. She'd take cash only and wouldn't hold it for me more than half an hour. I had to return to my car on a Sunday morning, find an ATM in a part of town I was totally unfamiliar with, and get back to her immediately. She didn't care that I guaranteed I'd be back. Made it - thank goodness! That was the going price back then in this area. She is in really great shape and runs like a charm. I do every bit of my piecing on her.

Karen (Misiz C) said...

Yes, there is something very endearing about those little workhorses. Sounds like you have a prewar one. My little black one is a late 1939 or 1940 model. I got a decent deal on it 6ish years ago from a friend. She is one of those gals who hunts them down at garage & estate sales, fixes them up and resells them. She would help me with repair needs .... till she moved to eastern WA. 3 years ago my husband called me from an old car swapmeet to tell me somebody was selling a couple. Listening to his description of one of them over the phone, I started getting excited and told him I would take it. He brought me home one of the early 60's pale green ones. =) That is my every day one. The black one is for classes, workshops and retreats. They are all I use for quilting any more. But I'm a bad mother. I have not given them names..... yet. LOL

I recently discovered why they are called Featherweights tho. My husband's friend found me a 1951 Centenial model 201. If that thing ever dies, I could use it for a boat anchor. By comparison, 221s are Featherweights.

BTW loved the photo of your son's Kenmore. Brought back memories of my very first machine.
Happy stitching!

Rosy said...

Having a Featherweight seems to be like "belonging"!!! Your DH did do a greaat job on the handle! I love mine also and take to mini class every month.