For the longest time I have wanted a Singer 221 – better known as a ‘Featherweight’ – it’s a vintage machine, made from 1933 – 1966 by Singer Manufacturing Co., and it was their answer to the age old problem of portability (or lack thereof):
|courtesy of ismacs|
Singer’s Featherweight machine allowed ‘little ladies’ to tote their machines around with ease as it weighed in at only 11lbs – something I found particularly appealing for my late night kitchen table sewing and retreats and Guild sew-in events. Something that I could tote more easily, something with a gorgeous straight stitch for piecing, and something that wouldn’t break the bank if I dropped it/broke it, etc. – something I was very concerned about doing dragging my big Janome 6500 (aff link) along with me everywhere (especially since that’s the machine I use for my little Etsy business).
The problem with the Featherweight is that they are very sought after and have become quite popular in recent years. Which has driven the price up. And I just couldn’t justify spending $3-400 on a little machine like that for just retreats and sew-ins, as much as I really want one.
Enter what I like to call “the poor man’s Featherweight”. Or I should say: “the poor WOMAN’S Featherweight”.
Just as cute. With a stitch just as nice. Not as lightweight. (Ha!) - the Singer 185 - a 3/4 size portable, low shank, oscillating hook machine that takes class 66 bobbins - and rings in at about $50.
|...my little machine after weeks of cleaning and fixing and replacing parts - isn't she pretty?|
I researched this machine for several months; watched for one for months at garage sales and estate sales and the like with no luck, and eventually gave in and asked at Christmas for hubs to buy one off eBay – play the online-auction-sewing-machine-buying-Russian-roulette-game. Ugh. We lost.
They had no idea what they were doing with respect to packaging a sewing machine – one piece of bubble wrap (literally) and a few sheets of newsprint in a box that was miles too big, and the machine arrived with the bakelite case smashed to bits, the bobbin winding mechanism destroyed – it had been punched through from the inside to the outside of the case, the original green tire visible when I opened the box from the outside of the case (not a good sign); the spool pin had snapped off flush with the body; the light broke; and the list went on.
Luckily eBay’s return policy is fantastic and the seller was good to deal with and I received a full refund as the machine was just not useable in the condition I received it in.
A few weeks of dismantling the machine, tinkering, replacing parts, cleaning, and more,
|top L: the handwheel, bobbin winding mechanism dismantled for cleaning; top R after cleaning|
bottom L: bobbin case before clean, bottom R: after cleaning
and I managed to get it turning-
and then stitching its first few stitches -
Next up to rewire it, which is always fun. I’ve done a few machine motors, pedals and lights now, and I’m excited to do it. It’s just a matter of trying to find the time. The other pretty major problem is that I have neither a box/base or a table to put it in. Which means that for the time being, any tinkering is just that. Tinkering.
I can’t use it until I save up even more pennies to buy a base or case for it. Here I have one of two options - buy vintage (which means I run the risk yet again of receiving something smashed in the mail from an online auction site, or something old, smelly, and not worth the money) or buy new (which means I'm buying something custom and handmade (no doubt gorgeous but costly, and the ideal option) or plastic and ugly).
My friends say I should just make a case – why not? Oy. TIME. I NEED MORE TIME. Plus, who are we kidding - anything I make just isn't going to be as nice as what I can buy from a professional woodworker.
Sharing my pretty green machine today with Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash Share. I’m so proud of my little machine!!!
Make sure to pop over to see what he and the others are sharing from their stash acquisitions this week, there's always lots going on over there. Lots of juicy eye candy :)
Oh! And, don’t forget to enter my giveaway if you’re visiting here today from Stash share and you haven’t yet entered
– you can enter
Blog Post- Giveaway
Twitter - Enter Giveaway on Twitter
Instagram - Enter Giveaway on Instagram