Friday, November 15, 2013

Singer 221-K Featherweight: Esther

This is my first Featherweight.  It's a 221-K, says made in Great Brittain. My research shows that it was made in Clydebank, Scotland, at the Kilbowie Plant. Hence, the -K on the model number.  US made models are 221.  The motor is made in Canada.  According to the Singer Co. site, it was born in 1960. Searching for more detailed information resulted in a couple of sites showing that based on the serial number, it was made either in October 19 or November 3 of 1960, and only 2,500 of them were made during this period. Black Featherweights were made to 1961, so this was one of the last black ones made.

If it was indeed made on November 3, it is my parents wedding anniversary. I don't know which year it was but it's around 1960 that they got married. (My Singer 15-91 was born on the same year my mother was born. Interesting relationships I'm having with sewing machines....)

It came with the manual, foot pedal, and a few feet, a couple of bobbins, little screw drivers, and the key to the case.

It has a simple faceplate, unlike my Singer 15-91 which has a scroll faceplate.

Ever since I sew saw one at a garage sale, and I was amazed at how cute and small the machine was, I've wanted one.

It showed up one day when I wasn't even specifically looking for one.

I was learning back then that there was this interesting destiny dance when it came to looking for vintage sewing machines. "The right machine will show up at the right time."  It is really true. So I decided to wait, rather than actively looking for one. It sure came to me!

At this pristine condition, and the price was amazingly reasonable, I knew she was for me!

 Ooooo, and did I mention it has a Red-S badge? 

I read that Red-S badges are rare, though I don't know how rare. It sure is pretty.  I don't think this machine was used much.  All these photos were taken as I took it out of the case. I hadn't cleaned, polished, or anything. No obvious harsh scratches. Decals are perfect.  Shiny, shiny. All in all, in perfect shape!

 Here is the bottom.  When I removed the drip pan to see inside, again, I was surprised how clean it was. I wasn't sure if this sewing machine was ever used until I opened up the bottom, there it did have some old oil residue. (Well, maybe it was oiled but never used?! Maybe used just once?!)

It was owned by Ms. or Mrs. or Mr. Lennon.  John?!

The case was a bit scratched. So, when I first went to see the machine and saw the case, I wasn't all that excited. But you know, you can't judge a machine by its case! It has done a terrific job protecting the baby inside.
 The liner inside is in tact.

 A few more photos.  Just because.

I'm calling her Esther.  I made Esther an extension table cover so that the screw knob on the faceplate wouldn't scratch the table.  Great idea. I got that idea from Michelle of Life With Lou via Tammy's Craft Emporium.  (I've already shown this photo in my previous post, but, hey, you don't mind, do you?!)

By the way, it's interesting that I do want to name all my sewing machines, but I don't usually come up with a name until I start writing about her. My Featherweight was nameless until today.

I think just about everyone who collects vintage sewing machines eventually ends up with at least one Singer Featherweight.  I now have one, so I'm not looking for any more Featherweight. (well, unless it's the mint green one.... maybe..... definitely.... for sure) However, there is one courting with me right now. I shall see if it ends up with me.

If you are looking for Featherweight manuals and attachment list, here is a link to the ISMAC site with attachment list and free manual download. Download manuals are also free at the Singer's site. You can also buy printed booklet manuals there. By the way, not only you can date your machines at Singer's site with the serial number, if you go to My Singer Story, scroll down to the bottom and put in your pre-1970 Singer sewing machine serial number, you'll instantaneously receive a little 'birth certificate' of your sewing machine that you can print.  It's kind of cute. 

For those who have a Featherweight or two (or three), do you actually use your Featherweight, or does it sit in the case?  When and for what do you use it? Do you have and use a zigzagger with your Featherweight? (I want a zigzagger!)


  1. I have a Featherweight 221 that I named Penney and she was born in 1938. I do use her a lot and she sews wonderfully and runs very quiet. She is my favorite sewing machine by far. I also have the "big sister" machine Singer 301-A which I also use a lot. Your Featherweight is lovely and I know you are happy to have her. You are going to enjoy sewing on her so much!

    1. Yes, I'm beyond excited to have her. I'd better really get to know her! Your 301-A is a beauty..... jealous.

  2. So far, I have only test sewn on mine. She sits in my office for me to adore whenever I walk by. I did buy her a special walking foot though...just in case.

    1. I've made the extension table cover -- that's all I have sewn on her so far! I'm thinking that I'll use her for some holiday gifts project. I can't wait to sit down and have some 'quality time' with her.

  3. She's lovely and I'm jealous! I honestly don't know what I would do with a FW if I had one, but that doesn't keep me from greedily searching for a great deal.