My Other Machine is a Singer Featherweight

Over 10 years ago, this Singer Featherweight was the first thing I bought from ebay. Ever. I knew I wanted one, so I signed up for an account and had to create a user ID. For lack of anything better, I chose ChristaQuilts as my user name. It has stuck with me ever since. And so has this beauty.

Sewing in the Mountains, 2013

Sewing in the Mountains, 2013

Singer Featherweights were quite popular in my traditional guild about 10-15 years ago and since then, their popularity has ebbed and flowed. Sometimes at a retreat or class I will see more than half the class using them. I recently got mine tuned up and I’m excited to sew with it again. So imagine my delight when I’m starting to see Featherweights popping up on modern quilting blogs.

Sewing at the Beach, 2012

Sewing at the Beach, 2012

I took mine with me to the beach last year and to the mountains this year. It’s such a fun little machine to use and I can set it up anywhere I can find a table and a plug.

After lugging my Klingon Battle Cruiser of a machine to my owner’s class last week (my new Bernina as my mom calls it), the Featherweight makes a nice travel machine. 🙂

Sewing Machines

It’s so tiny!

30 thoughts on “My Other Machine is a Singer Featherweight

  1. Pat Watts says:

    What do you do to make sure your 1/4 inch seams are the same when mixing machines when working on a project. I recently made 4 French Braids on my Pfaff, put them together then decided I should have a 5 braid quilt, so brought out my Featherweight and made the 5th braid, trimmed it and pinned it to the main 4 braids – to my horror it was 5 INCHES SHORTER. The only thing I can think what happened was the two 1/4 inch seams were different – – –

  2. @mpv61 says:

    I picked up a little sewing machine at my parents’ church’s rummage sale for some ridiculous price like $2 or $5. I didn’t need it, in particular (well, I suppose I was down to my last two machines ;)), but for a price like that, and super-cute in green? Sure!

    Recently I pulled it out of its little box and discovered it was a Featherweight. I’d heard about them, but didn’t actually know what it was until then. I still haven’t plugged it in, checked to see if it works, etc., but now at least I know what a good buy it was.

  3. Michele says:

    I’ve looked at the listings on Ebay a few times and I’m sure eventually I will have one too. And yes you must name your machines! It is only fair…the others in your family that you love, like you pets, get names so why shouldn’t your machines. My domestic is named Lucy after my maternal grandma and my Voyager’s name is Penelope.

  4. dezertsuz says:

    I’ve had a black one and a white one for years, and someday, I’m going to own a tan one. I learned to sew on my aunt’s 1935 model, which had no numbers on the tension dial. There is nothing better for sewing on a binding. A couple of years ago, I found a FW card table in the thrift shop for $25! I’m so thrilled with that purchase.

  5. quiltingpiecebypiece says:

    I actually FOUND my Featherweight by the side of the road. Someone was cleaning out a house and just put it out by the trash. I couldn’t believe it. This was in the mid-1980s.

    I’ve sewn brocades and velvets and leather on that machine and nary a problem. When I moved up to Lowell, I “discovered” I had about 8 machines (mostly old Singers) and asked my mom if she’d like the Featherweight (well, there were hints on her part.)

    It lived in PIttsburgh for about a decade and I just got it back this Spring (when Mom was working on paring things down in anticipation of moving into elderly housing.) My 99 (“Barbara”) is now my go-to quilting machine and the Merritt is the go-to piecing machine, but the Featherweight (still unnamed) is probably going to be the go-to “going” machine…

  6. treadlemusic says:

    I used to work in a bridal shop (did bridal gown alterations) and the owner used her featherweight to do some sewing, too, when we got in to the ‘thick’ of the season. Sewed like a dream!!!! Even chiffon posed no problems! My Bernina is a “boat anchor”, too (which really is a good thing when sewing!) but taking it to class/workshop has always made me a bit ‘edgy’. It’s a 440QE and would suppose has tiny parts/wires/circuits that could be damaged if jostled, so I take my workhorse Juki (TL2010Q). Heavy but totally mechanical and great for piecing and FMQ!!
    Your little machine is really sweet!! Hugss……

  7. GrandyKandy says:

    Ok, I just have to ask…. I am new to following you this year. In the ‘sewing at the beach 2012’ picture…. What are you worki g on? Is it a jelly roll quilt? I am very curious. Is there a link to that particular project? Thanks in advance!

    • Christa says:

      Sure – ask away! That was my very first Quilt Along – the Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt. I have links to that on my quilt along page:

  8. Maggie says:

    I have a Featherweight, too. My mom bought it in the 50s, for 10 monthly payments of $10. She made some amazing stuff on it- from slipcovers, to men’s suits, band uniforms to my wedding dress. I mostly use it for piecing now,but I also love love love the buttonholes it can make.

  9. Regina DeMatteo says:

    Fiona is my Featherweight’s name and she is just a lovely little girl. I agree that traveling with a Big Bernie is a pain. Fiona was from a LQS who spiffed her up. @Debi Bielawski, ALL are “refurbished” since they are so old and many need new parts and pieces. I just got a new 1/4″ foot for mine and can’t wait to use it. PS: you can verify the date of manufacture on Singer’s website. Mine was born on August 16, 1948, just about the time I was conceived! My friend, Bethany, got one just before me and named hers Phoebe!

      • Ohioquilter says:

        I named mine April after April Henry. I bought it on eBay at April1930’s several years ago along with many original attachments. I also have an original Featherweight card table. I recently discovered that April has a wonderful FaceBook page. I also have an old Singer 91J that’s is a real workhorse, too (also from eBay in Canada). I put it in a cabinet and had a “knee pedal” installed on it because that is what I learned to sew on!

  10. Alice says:

    My ONLY machine is a Featherweight, given to me by my mother, who inherited it from her aunt, who bought it new in the 1930s. I love it dearly and refuse to sew on anything else. For anybody who’s wondering, despite their small size, they are work horses. I’ve never run into anything it wouldn’t sew. Parts are still available for them, although they don’t seem to break down. They even take the standard Singer lightbulb (Mom just got me one of those fancy LED bulbs for it, so if you’re tired of burning the crap out of your hand, get one of the LED bulbs, they don’t get hot!). My mom has also bought some Featherweights on Ebay (she repairs old sewing machines as a hobby), and has found that they’re usually in good condition when you get them. They’ve usually been stored in the case, as opposed to other machines, which may have been exposed to more dust, dirt and moisture in storage. And they’re simple, mechanical machines, and very common, so you won’t have trouble getting someone to check it out and work on it for you. With normal use and a little oil, these machines just keep going and going.

  11. Judy Cinerari says:

    I have never seen one of these before. Maybe they didn’t make it out to Australia? Certainly solves the pain of lugging your big machine to classes!

  12. Judie Harron says:

    Christa, I have 3 Featherweight sewing machines and love them all. The excuse I use to rationalize having 3 is… “I might need another for parts someday!”. I recently bought a walking foot for my Featherweight and now I am in heaven!!! Yes, it is wonderful as a travel machine too.

  13. Kim says:

    Christa, tell us about the table you use with your Bernina/Klingon Battle Cruiser. 1- Is it stable enough not to shake when you sew really fast? 2- Is it big enough? 3- Would you recommend it to other quilters? 4-What’s the brand & model? I apologize if you have written a post about your table recently — I obviously missed it! THANKS!!!!

    • Christa says:

      I got the table over 15 years ago from the Bernina dealer so I can’t remember the model or brand name. I got a special insert cut out to fit my old machine. However, I can still drop my new machine in with it and even though I don’t have a cutout that fits – the machine still fits in the hole with the attached sewing bed covering most of the hole. Yes, it is large enough and stable enough to sew at a high rate of speed. It’s wonderful and was well worth the investment.

  14. Colette says:

    Great name for the Bernina,that is the way I feel about my Viking it is so huge. Great to quilt on, but I love my little antique machines to piece on, and I am fortunate enough because DH loves to tinker, with anything mechanical, mine run like tops.

  15. Debi Bielawski says:

    I have seen them on ebay snd two local sewing machine repair shos have them (refurbished I think) for sell.
    I have always wanted one…even more now thay I have my “state of the art” Singer Futura 6000 4 in 1 that my hubby 2 be bought me last year. Then I could sew while embroidery items stitch out. The Questions I have are
    What is a resonable price to pay for the machine and what red flags should I look for?

    • Christa says:

      I bought mine over 10 years ago so I’m sure the prices have gone up. But I would suggest watching them on ebay for a few weeks and see what they go for to get an idea of the market price. I would get one in as good a condition as possible and plan on getting it serviced as soon as it arrives. It’s really nice if it comes in its original black box with the manual, and that the electrical cord is in good working order.

  16. Betty Lou says:

    I bought my Featherweight on EBay also and luckily it was not a dud but a sweet little machine. I call my machine Black Beauty and I marvel at her perfect little stitches. Just wish I had room in my sewing room to keep her out all the time.

  17. quiltingrammy says:

    PS. A y hints in what to looks for when examining the treadle machines??

    Thanks again!!
    Edrie Cross
    Altoona PA

  18. quiltingrammy says:

    I have the opportunity to buy a singer treadle machine. Something I have longed for!! Do you have any idea what I should offer? There are two machines both in wood cabinets in good shape. I have no clue and the seller wants a bid. They were he grandmothers and she recently inherited them.

    Thanks for any help you may give!!

  19. Britt-Inger says:

    I have a cute little Featherweight too. I bought her, Henrietta, her name, six years ago, and I haven´t worked with her as much as I should, but when I do, I love it. I have also a bigger sister Featherweight with free arm, but I favor Henrietta.
    The straight stitches you get from an old Singer machine, you could never get from a new computorized machine, as a new one should make so many other stitches.
    I think I should soon take Henrietta out of the box. But to classes I have a small mechanical Janome, the first Janome Jem, which I bought some years ago, which is a darling to bring to classes.
    Have a great time playing with your little darling Featherweight.
    Greetings from Sweden

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