Friday, January 04, 2019

Elsie 221 Featherweight

Since posting about my new (to me) old vintage machine, and receiving some email questions about her, I realized I needed to write a whole post about this lovely machine.
Elsie 221
It has been sitting used for many years. You can see that there is residue from a piece of tape that was stuck on the machine, likely as a seam allowance guide. Even after a lot of elbow grease, I was unable to get it all off, but it's better than it was.

Vintage Singer Needles
I was gifted this machine by someone I didn't know very well, but she knew I was a quilter and wanted to give her special sewing machine to me. I know the value of this gift and was reluctant to accept it for a while. It had been sitting in her closet for a long time, and then it sat in my closet for a long time, while I slowly came around to accepting this generous gift. Elsie joins my sewing machine collection (otherwise known as "the herd") as machine #17 - you can read about the others here.

Using the Singer Featherweight webpage on dating machines, I discovered that this machine with serial number EG642139 was born on May 16, 1951 which makes her 67 years old!

One of the very special things about this machine is because she was born in 1951, which was Singer's centennial year, it has a special badge that says "A century of sewing service" on the blue oval edge of the badge.

wrong position
After dismantling, cleaning, oiling and checking all the working parts, I couldn't get it sewing properly. But I had forgotten one important feature of Featherweight machines. 
Okay... see how the "positioning finger" is at the 9 o'clock position? 
right position
It must be at the 12 o'clock position. After removing the faceplate and cleaning the years of gunk under there, I had not repositioned it correctly. 
That problem had me stumped for a while, but once I solved that problem, it sewed perfectly. The tension was exact and she may now be my new favourite machine!
This is the box of accessories that came with her. Only one of these bobbins is for the 221 machine (the top left one) so I'm not sure what machine the other bobbins are for.

And sew... as soon as I'm done work, I'll be in the sewing room with Elsie to start sewing the last step of Good Fortune. Bonnie surprised the quilting world with posting the mystery design reveal this morning. Can't wait to put some blocks together to see how my version of the quilt will look!


barbara woods said...

I love mine, she was born in 49

Janet O. said...

What a beautiful gift!I can see how you might feel hesitant, especially since you don't know the giver really well.
And my featherweight proudly wears that same badge. :)

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Mine is from 1941. I had a Centennial too, but sold it to a friend who liked the design on the faceplate. Mine has a scroll design, where later models had more of a linear design.

Debbie said...

A beauty! Did you try peanut butter rubbed on the tape residue? It sometimes works for me. For any info on the FW be sure to check out the Featherweight Shop on line. They have great tutorials.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've done that with the positioning finger. Cindy P has the cheapest 221/301 bobbins around.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

mine is from 53 - this sure is a pretty machine and that is just so nice of the person to give it you even if you were not really close she knew as another quilter/sewer that you would use it and love it I bet.

Deanna W said...

Lovely little machine. I am sure the lady who gave it to you knew exactly what she was doing. Accept it with gratitude and sew on!! I have been collecting the clues for Good Fortune and may start it someday soon...maybe during our Piranha retreat?!?!

Mary said...

I have just one Featherweight. I wasn't lucky like you. Enjoy her. Good Fortune reveal was a great surprise.

Kate said...

What a beauty!

Kim said...

Such a treasure of a gift. Your Elsie is a beauty!

Vivian said...

Elsie will love working on Bonnie quilts! I sat out "Good Fortune" this year but my Centennial Fanny FW pieced both "En Provence" and "Ringo Lake". You and Elsie make a great team!

Kristin said...

Mine is '48. =)

Karen said...

I recently added a 4th Featherweight to my collection. It was in perfect condition. A splurge but they are so cute!