Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Every New Singer Featherweight 221/222 Owner Should Know

What Every New Featherweight Owner Needs to Know about their Featherweight!

Deloris Pickens's Good Things To Know About Your Singer Featherweight Notes...
Oiling Your 221 machine needs to be oiled for every 8 hours of use. Use only sewing machine oil and oil all the places that it shows you to oil in your manual You need to lube your motor about once a year and probably the gears about twice a year. Never use oil in your motor.

Clean out you bobbin case area after every sewing project. Be sure when you put your needle plate back on that the bobbin case base tip is inserted between the two little bars on the bottom of your needle plate. Your machine will not sew if that is not done correctly.

Sometimes you need to adjust your belt espically if the machine is running hard. To do this loosen the screw that mounts the motor and move the motor up or down a little bit so that the belt is not to tight.

Follow instructions in your manual for threading your machine. I like to use Gutterman thread for my sewing. The machines were built to use No 50 cotton thread and they really sew best with all cotton thread.

Smell in Case:
To get most of the smell out of your case, first clean the bottom plate on your machine and take the old felt off and replace it with clean felt if necessary. Set the box outside in the hot sun for several days and it should smell better.

The original bobbins work the best in the machine but be wary of the carded bobbins. Buy your bobbins from a dealer that sells them in bulk as these are made in Japan and are better bobbins than the carded ones.

Foot Pedals:
There are two different foot pedals for the 221 machine. The early ones are all metal and were in production for about 5 years. The later pedals are made of bakelite and are good pedals. The speed of your machine depends on your pedal. If your machine only wants to go fast you can take the pedal apart and adjust the screw on the back of the pedal. You can also rewire a pedal when the wiring goes bad. Dealers have new lead cords for sale and they work fine.

Featherweight Attachments:
The original 6 attachments that came with your machine are ruffler,narrow hemmer, wide hemmer, gathering foot, binder and edge stitcher. Also included was a screw driver for the machine and a screw driver to adjust the tension.

Trouble Free Sewing:
The main way to keep out of trouble with your 221 machine is to never, never, never sew unless you have material under your needle. If you do that you will get thread around the bobbin case area and is is the pits to get out. If you can not get the thread out easy spray the area with WD-40 every 15 mins for about 2 hours and it will usually dissolve the thread.

General Rules:
Don't drop your featherweight, don't store in in a damp basement or a hot attic, keep it clean and it should give you years of use. Read your manual and do what it says to do and you will save yourself lots of trouble.

Jesse Clarke
Las Vegas, NV 
Permission Granted to use this article(s) on Gaileee's FW Web Site 1998


Hi Feathers:

Since most of us didn't come into the world with a silver FW in our mouths,
and have been newbies at some point in our collectors lives,  the 4 things
that seem to plague new FW owners, at least in my experience, are:

I can't tell you how many FW owners in classes I've taken do not know how to
put the bobbin into the  bobbin case properly.  Since many FWs come to new
owners without the instruction book, (not that many read them if there is one)
they don't realize that the FW bobbin goes into the case just the opposite of
most of the modern day machines.  Holding the bobbin in your right hand, tail
end of thread in your left hand, the thread comes up, over the top,  pulling
to the left, COUNTERCLOCKWISE.  Read this part again!

When I got my first FW, I couldn't understand why the thread kept breaking!
All 3 of my FWs hiss & spit if I put the bobbin in wrong.

I've also seen new FW owners wind the bobbin, remove the bobbin, leaving the
little wheel in contact with the handwheel.  As they commence sewing, there's
soon a horrible whining sound coming from the darling little FW.  English

This is where my 3 really get their panties/ BVDs in a wad!  Put that needle
in backwards and they all 3 will throw themselves on the floor, pitch a fit,
hold their breath, and won't sew.  End of story!  The flat side of the needle
must be to the LEFT.

The quirky thing with threading the machine is putting the thread into the eye
of the needle:  It goes from RIGHT to LEFT.  This is opposite from my more
modern (non Singer machine)

Please! Give these wonderful machines a drink of OIL  (38 oil points, outside,
inside the head, and underneath) & a dose of LUBRICANT to the motor...DO NOT
oil the motor!  Some of these machines have sat untouched for up to 50+ years.
A little TLC is only humane.  How well would you work if put in a basement or
attic for years without food or bath?  

If you need instruction manuals, for goodness sake--ASK!  Someone of us on
this list will point you in the right direction for obtaining one or a photo
copy.  Deloris Pickens (EMAIL: provides Nice Reproduction 
Featherweight Manuals $7 (US only) shipping/handling included. 

After we have owned our FWs for a while, they become as familiar to us as our
kids or pets--we know all the idiosycracies, etc.  We forget what was a
puzzlement when we were the newbies.  There are more experienced FWF out there
who are able to add to my list.  These are my recollections as a newbie and
observations of other FW owners.
Since most of you sew with the machines in your collection, at least the ones
that aren't museum pieces--is there anything special you do to keep the bed
and/or decals from being scratched or worn?

Jess in what was once Las Vegas,NV, but is now just a 'burb of CA!

It never fails:  when you post an answer, the question is asked the following

Cooking oil, Crisco, even sewing machine oil!  Yep--that's the cheapest, non-
caustic way to remove glued on stickers.  Dab it on with a Q-Tip or your
finger (handy little gadget) let it sit for a spell,  it comes off like magic;
won't damage the paint on your machine, either.  
There's a commercial product GOO GONE that's supposed to take out all sorts of
stuff--but the oil works just as well--I've tried both.

For Beau J. Gales:  There was a thread a while back about polishes/ waxes used
on SM-one of the FWFs referred to a product by Johnson called Klean N Shine.
She'd used this  on her machine and was pleased with the results.  She lost
the URL for Johnson:;  Ironically,
on the website product page, no mention is made of Klean N Shine.  I wound up
calling the ph. # 1-800-558-5252 to find out if it was still on the market.
Yes, it can be found at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and at Ace or Tru-Value
Hardware stores.  I've not been able to find it at the local grocery stores as
I once could.

1 comment:

mmmegan38 said...

Thanks for the useful advise! I was threading the needle wrong and the bobbin winder was down! Now my baby is purring like a kitten!