Category Archives: Vintage Sewing Machines

A new Featherweight ….

The Singer Featherweight Shop in Idaho has an auction the first Tuesday of each month. They generally have about 12 different featherweight machines that have been fully restored. The auction opens at eight and the bidding is fierce. They sell out in about 5 minutes. In September I did my first bidding on the site, rather than just watching the auction. My eye was on a featherweight 222k – the free arm version of the featherweights. To my joy and amazement, I actually won the machine I wanted first try! Here is my sweet beauty……

Singer Model 404 Restored

My hubby brought home a Singer 404 recently that I just finished restoring. This machine has a slant shank, is gear driven, has an internal motor, internal light, straight stitch with reverse, along with a bed that is 16.5″ wide x 7″ deep. There is a flip-up bobbin winder on the vertical portion of the arm of the machine just under the handwheel. It has a drop in class 66 bobbin in front of needle position accessible by a slide plate. The machine threads front to back. The thread cutter, rather than a separate metal part, is built into the back of the presser bar. This machine also has a rounded throat plate which raises instead of having feed dogs which lower. The machine has a tan color while the top and handwheel are on the machine cream.

The motor for this machine had a cracked casing. I was able to replace the motor with a fully serviced replacement. It runs and sews beautifully!

Piecing with my Featherweight

Month 5 of our Digitizing Master Class was all about color. I am not a big ’stash’ collector, so my scraps are prepared for specific projects. A lover of batiks, I had slowly been collecting batik scraps that I cut into 2.5″ squares, saving them in small snap containers. After I finished my Month 05 lessons, I had about a week’s worth of time before the next class. Inspired by our color lessons, I decided it was time to make my batik quilt.

This was also a great project for using my vintage Featherweight. To make quick work of piecing, I used quilter’s 2.5” fusible grid interfacing. I created 20 blocks in total with about 7 different combinations. Each of the large blocks contain 7 x 7 blocks of the 2.5” squares for a total of 980 squares.

For my sashing and first border, I chose a golden yellow batik because it feels like being surrounded by sunshine. To join the blocks in each row I cut 15 14.5” x 1.5” sashing strips. To join each of the rows, the top border strip, and the bottom border strip, I prepared 6 59” x 1.5” pieces. For the right and left side borders, I prepared 2 pieces 76” x 1.5” long.

Next I added the outer border strip. I chose to use ‘teal’ because I love water and it grounds me. I prepared 2 side borders, 76” x 6.5”, and 2 top/bottom borders each 88.5” x 6.5”.

After the top was pieced, I mounted it onto my longarm for quilting. I chose a teal and purple batik for the backing and a purple ombre batik for the binding. I chose purple because it feels like passion. For the quilting I chose a butterfly swirl panto motif designed by Anne Bright.

Here is my finished quilt!

Singer Model 66 – Day 2 Clean & Reassemble

When I disassemble the machine, I separate the parts into individual containers. Into the containers I add simple green and water. Then I shake the containers well and allow to sit overnight. The next day, I run the containers through my sonic cleaner. It is important not to place any of the painted parts, for example the handwheel or bobbin winder guard, into the simple green mixture. It will remove the paint!

To clean the machine head, I use sewing machine oil. I have found it loosens most of the grime without destroying the decals and shellac finish. To protect the machine, I use a Polish that I purchase from “The Singer Featherweight Shop” in Idaho.

Parts cleaning

Motor cleaning and testing – I check the wiring, remove the brush caps and brushed, and any old grease from cups. Then create a basic circuit to test motor.

Simple circuit motor test

Simple circuit light test, new LED

Finally reassemble all the parts….

Singer Model 66, Day 1- Disassembly

A friend gave us a Singer model 66, with a cabinet, that has been in their attic for the last 15 years. Continue reading to see this beauties restoration. I do the machines, while my Sweetie does the cabinets.

Condition prior to teardown….

Removal of light and motor

Removal of hand wheel and bobbin winder

Removal of thread tensioner

Removal of presser bar

Removal of take up mechanism and needle bar

Removal of needle cover, bobbin cover, and feed dogs

Removal of bobbin case, and bobbin keeper

Removal of hook, oscillating hook mechansim

Everything prepped and ready to clean….

The 101 is fully serviced….

I finished up servicing the 101 and it is now waiting for it’s restored cabinet.

Yesterday I greased the motor and gears. Prior to reinstalling to the machine, I tested the motor.

Direct motor test…

Next I removed the last few pieces in the needle bar area to fully clean and service.

Then began reassembly…..

Here is the machine fully assembled. You can also see images of the stitch quality, followed by a video of the machine stitching.

Cleaning out old grease, oil, and dust…

Had a little time Friday to work on the 101. The goal to run parts through the ultrasonic; clean-up the painted surfaces with machine oil; clean out all old grease, oil, and dust.

Cleaning bearings of old grease, oil, and dust/grime. There are 4 locations on the 101: lower left front under the hook, lower right rear under the vertical shaft, upper back where motor is mounted, and top rear machine upper cam.

Next was disassembling the motor for cleaning: brushes, grease wicks, commutator, and motor bearing.

Another rare Singer 101 …..

My Sweetie picked up another rare Singer 101. Our first one we finished restoring in October. These machines are engineered very differently than other Vintage Singers. They have a direct drive potted motor internal to the machine. The first of it’s type on a Singer. The models 15 and 201 have potted, direct drive motors that are part of the machines armature on the hand wheel.

The base of these machines are also different than all other vintage Singers. The base is fully closed with cast iron, providing only two access ports for greasing the bearings. The top base of these machines are made of aluminum. They are removable to access the machines wicking system. The ‘spider’ like piece absorbs oil that is distributed to the areas attached at the end of each wick arm.

I disassembled for cleaning, always my first step. Next is running the parts through the ultrasonic cleaner. While the parts clean, I begin the process of removing old grease and oil. The motor and bearings will be greased, then begins reassembly.

Machine parts ready for cleaning