Sunday, July 5, 2015

Light as a Feather

It pays to be polite and persistent. This little saying paid off in a big way this holiday weekend (Happy Independence Day, America!) when I got a text from a number that wasn't in my directory. No message but a media download so I clicked to find a Singer sewing machine in two photos. Not just any Singer, but a 221 known as a Featherweight. There was a message with the last photo asking if I was still interested. That was a bit of an understatement but who was this???? Then I remembered someone from the winter of 2014 with a text and machine but it never panned out because her husband didn't get it out of the garage storage area. I guess I didn't really forget since it only took about 20 seconds to recall this transaction. It was now out of deep storage and I could come and get it. We discussed price and I went over the next morning.

It was a longer drive than I like to make but for a Featherweight I would make an exception. They were coming back from breakfast out with a tiny tot in tow so I waited a bit in their newly minted neighborhood. Sure enough, in their immaculate garage as only new home owners can have (white walls?) they produce a box marked "Antique Sewing Machine." There she was, without a case or any accessories and with two foot controls. Oops: one belonged to her own newer sewing machine that she apparently hadn't used since they moved there a couple years ago before baby arrived. Upon inspection I note it's just dirty from storage but it's missing the bobbin casing:

Singer 221 with missing bobbin casing
We get it plugged in and she runs very slow but I would be a bit slow if I had been in storage through several Minnesota winters in a garage. The aluminum inside looks passable, just in need of cleaning and no real disintegration. I asked why she didn't want it, maybe she really did need to keep it as her husband suggested, but she said no, it was her grandmothers passed down through her mother but no, again, she just didn't want it. I didn't press the issue in case there was some long ago baggage she didn't want to open up about her relationship with her family but please note that I did at least ask her to reconsider. Really, I did ask. Then we exchanged cash for the machine and I walked very quickly to my car. You can imagine my excitement!
Singer 221 aka Featherweight: ain't she sweet?
So here she is at home, all cleaned up and waiting for a new bobbin case that was ordered within the hour. I drove straight to my daughter Kelly's and we talked about our recent sewing (me) and home improvement (her) projects. She walked me to my car and I told her she needed to see this little darling and she was too polite to say no. Her eyes got round with the wonder of this darling and commented "Wow, they really are light, and cute, too" while I stifled my I-told-you-so. We might make a vintage sewing machine user out of her yet!

When home and cleaned up (there was much fuzz and thread wound around the bobbin and hook) I ran her again and now the motor sprang to life.  Her decals are very intact, a better specimen than the last Singer 221 I had (and sold) but none of the extras we come to love. I have an extra buttonholer and a box of accessories but will have to order bobbins. No case is very worrisome but there are other solutions, such as a metal box from Harbor Freight but this I will leave to the buyer of this honey. I plan to get in touch with a former customer who said she was looking for a Featherweight to see if she still wants one and from there will rack my brain to see who else mentioned she wanted one.Here's the rest of her lovely looks:
Singer 221 back

Singer 221 birdseye view
I need to see how she runs so I borrow a bobbin case from the Singer 301 that is waiting in the living room (waiting for what?) and find out she sews a perfect stitch. Perfect.

May this holiday weekend find you in good sewing spirits, too!

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