The Sewing Place

Urgent advice please!

Acorn

Urgent advice please!
« on: December 21, 2017, 12:12:03 PM »
Yesterday we found a Singer Featherweight in a shop locally.  It seems to be in good order - clean and nice, in its box, with cables and a box of what looks like feet (I didn't look for very long).  I think the price is probably reasonable - £85.

Mr Acorn has decided that he would very much like to buy it for me for Christmas.   0_0

Please can someone tell me what we should be checking?  I am very nervous about the electrical side of it.  We don't have the expertise, although my Dad certainly does - but he is not on the spot.  I don't want to get it and then find that it needs a lot of work before it can be used.

I asked the seller about it and she said it had come directly from a house clearance, and she thought it looked good, but hadn't tested it.

Oh, and I have no idea about the age - I wasn't considering possibly owning it! - but it was black with gold decals and had a small green booklet that doesn't say 'Featherweight' on the cover.  Unfortunately I can't remember what it did say.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 12:26:00 PM by Acorn »
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.

Roger

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 12:39:26 PM »
Tbh snap it up especially if it has a case, tray, pedal, accessories and manual.

If it’s a 221 and has a case and pedal, some accessories, and the gold doesn’t look worn snap it up, if it’s a 222k just snap it up.
The electrics and the pedal are sort able and if it’s not working because of motor issues you can always dismantle them and make more on the parts.
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Morgan

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 12:43:00 PM »
Check that the pieces are present including bobbin case and at least one bobbin. 
Make sure that there's no rust around the bobbin case.



Insert a needle and turning the fly wheel by hand see if it makes a stitch.  You will feel whether the action is smooth or stiff.  It may need a little lubrication.


If the action is smooth the next step is a quick visual check for any bare or disconnected wires.
If the action is stiff, it's better to deal with that before running it with the power.


Plug the machine into a surge protector extension lead and make sure the power is switched off at the power point.


turn the switch on the machine then step away from the machine and turn on the power at the plug.  No bangs or whiffs of burning smells is good. :D


If the machine suddenly starts running on it's own, the issue will probably be a failed capacitor.  It's fixable and not a deal breaker.


The machine sits there quietly, say hello ('tis always a good idea to be polite just in case  ;) ), and then using the pedal do some test stitching. Move the stitch length lever up and down.


check that the bobbin winding mechanism can move onto and away from the fly wheel.  Don't worry if the bobbin winder rubber has perished or is as hard as a rock - it can be replaced.
Also check that the inner metal disk on the fly wheel will move so you can wind a bobbin without the needle going up and down.


At only £85, if the machine looks okay, even if it's not working perfectly, spending on a service and some repairs and even new wiring is worth it.
By way of example, my 221K (in good condition with a lot of accessories, new wiring and serviced) was a real bargain at £120 around 5 or 6 years ago.  Prices/values have gone up a little bit since then.


Hope the above might suggest a way forward for you.



Acorn

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2017, 13:23:51 PM »
Thank you, you two - we're just on our way to take a good look, with a copy of your comments.  It's about thirty miles away.  Mr Acorn was going to go on his own, but then I started talking about bobbin cases and he decided he needed to take me with him.  I don't think he realises that he might be about to learn quite a lot about vintage sewing machines!
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.

arrow

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 13:57:40 PM »
In apparently nice condition and all parts there I would just accept the price and take a chance. Common replacement parts are available for the Featherweights, and the less common turn up too with a bit of search. Featherweights don't turn up as often here, but when they do they are gone within a few hours. The last couple of years I have not seen any sell for under the equivalent of £150. One went in less than half an hour earlier this autumn. Even if it doesn't stitch I would take the chance, the Featherweight is prone to feeze solid by just a thread stuck in the bobbin and race area and generally easy to fix. A good clean up usually does the trick.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 21:48:45 PM by arrow »

Roger

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 15:05:45 PM »
They’re very prone to freezing, tbf I haven’t bought a vintage machine for a while that hasn’t been stuck, the bernina 530 and the featherweight were both thread in strange places and oil glaze. The 319 was moisture in the workings, I wasn’t sure I’d get it moving again, but it does and it hums nicely now.

You’ll have to get Mr Acorn an account on here so we can enable collecting talk vintage machines. :)
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Acorn

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2017, 17:09:22 PM »
Well, it looks good, and is currently residing in hiding somewhere upstairs.  It is a 221k, everything moved freely and quietly, although we were not able to plug it in or take the bottom off to look inside.  The gold is immaculate, the black perfect.  The bobbin casing is clean and shiny.  The external cable has clearly been replaced relatively recently, and the plug looks very new.  The box is good, the tray is there with one bobbin and a heap of feet.   0_0

I think that's all I can remember, and I am not allowed to see it again before Monday.  I think Mr Acorn might let me have the serial number if I smile sweetly.  Appearance-wise it is very much like this one.

 :vintage:   :D

Oh, and how fantastic to be able to get such helpful advice at such short notice!  Many, many thanks!   :*
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.

StitchinTime

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 17:30:49 PM »
What a stroke of luck. I’ve been checking this thread for an update and am so pleased it had a positive outcome. I hope you get time on Monday to get fully acquainted with your new machine.

Madame Cholet

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 18:17:05 PM »
What splendid news! Looking forward to seeing pics  :vintage:  0_0
I nurse unloved vintage Berninas back to health and then just cannot bring myself to part with any of them... 807, 830, 840, 530-2, 930, 910, and a modded 717 in a Singer treadle base.

Sewingsue

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2017, 19:00:51 PM »
Wow, what an absolutely fantastic Christmas present!
Bernina Aurora 440QE, Brother BC-2500, Singer 99K (1938), Silver Viscount 620D overlocker.

Acorn

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2017, 19:22:10 PM »
Isn't it!  And I'm pretty sure he had already bought my present, too!!   :|

The serial number shows that it was made in 1952. 
I might look as though I'm talking to you, but inside my head I'm sewing.

Roger

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2017, 20:28:17 PM »
Oh wow! Congratulations!

It sounds like a cracking purchase! They’re supposed to be small powerful and capable! Not to mention cute and quirky!

So glad we could help!
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Tamnymore

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2017, 21:08:37 PM »
What a great thread this is with a super story. Ooh I love a happy ending. And all the lovely people here giving such great advice. Have a great Christmas with your fab present, Acorn.
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

DementedFairy

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2017, 21:16:50 PM »
I snapped up a featherweight last year for under 40 squid, but there IS some slight prob with the electrics so it's just sitting there waiting to be sorted when I remember or can afford it!
I stroke it from time to time.
It's a 1950 221k
C'est moi!

datcat23

Re: Urgent advice please!
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2017, 21:33:48 PM »
I have a 221, that works perfectly, has all its bits, including the case, although that is a bit stinky.

I have a 222, with all bits and case, that has a dodgy worn cable, that looks beautiful, and moves smoothly, but I haven't dared plug in.  That one is waiting for me to sort out the electrics before testing. 

They are addictive little machines.  I keep considering selling mine (since I don't actually use them), but I just can't bring myself to, as I love them so much.