Here is a little Singer 221 Featherweight that I refurbished in 2012. It had been owned by an elderly woman and sold by a family friend who knew nothing of sewing machines. He told me that it had the bobbin case, but what he meant was that it had bobbins. Always be sure that this particular model has the bobbin case. An original vintage bobbin case will run about $50 if you can find one. Lesson learned. It had the accessories foot pedal, case with keys, and the manual. I was able to find and add the grease and unopened vintage needles.
The unit was dirty and needed grease and lube. The cords and belt were good, but the bobbin tire and spool felts needed replacing. It shined up beautifully and ran like a dream.
The thing that is peculiar about the Featherweights is that the case and machine reek of a 1,000 moldy basements. It is hard to describe just how foul these things can smell. We had to keep it in the garage until determining how to deodorize it. It all has something to do with the glues used to assemble the case, the vintage oils that collect on the drip pan felt becoming rancid, and where the thing was stored over the past 50-60 years. Mine stunk to high heaven.
There is a plethora of home remedies for eradicating the odor on the internet. We first tried ZORBX which did nothing; don't waste your money. We then placed a plate full of ground coffee beans in the closed case for a week... then it smelled like musty coffee. I sprayed it with Lysol which helped a little, but the smell came back. Finally, I placed the closed case in my closed truck in the heat of a North Carolina summer for about a week. Odor definitely better. With the case now opened, it spent another hot week in the back seat of the truck. I finished off the treatment by misting lavender oil on all of the interior surfaces of the case... several applications. The case finally smelled like my grandma's potpourri laced dresser drawers.
The machine also stunk... even after cleaning, polishing, and waxing. These were one of the first machines with an oil drip tray built into the case. There is a felt pad which lies on the tray to absorb any oil. I suppose this was intended to keep young ladies attire from becoming sullied as they carried the machine from place to place. Unfortunately, it also created a repository for the oil to accumulate and soar to never before recorded levels of rank rancidity. I found replacement pads at www.sew-classic.com . Jenny, who owns the site, has many, many replacement parts for vintage Singers and many other makes of old machines. After cleaning the tray and replacing the pad, I left the machine in the lavender tainted, closed case for another month; applying repeat treatments of the lavender oil every couple of days. Finally, we could bring the machine into what has become the sewing machine display and rescue room... i.e., the dining room.
So now the machine, case, and accessories comprise what might have been a typical original purchase package. I like things being complete, clean, and in working order.
I intended all along to sell this machine once I got it working and looking good, but the more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with the design, the light weight, and the quality of the mechanical engineering and machining that went into its manufacture... plus it was just damned cute.
Finally, I wanted some other machine and needed to turn this little beauty into working capital... and so it was sold. I think I miss the oil can as much as the machine.
I learned a lot from the 221 and used the money to purchase a Necchi BU Nova.
I hope you enjoy the photos.
SOLD December 2012