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Portable Stitching: a dream come true

June 25, 2016

My featherweight dreams came true on June 16, 2016. I finally found the machine of my dreams. Meet Daisy, a 1955 Singer 221K Featherweight sewing machine. She has a few nicks here and a couple pin scratches there. She runs beautifully. She has a full compliment of feet and a button hole attachment. Daisy is a dream come true!

9f8a1741faaad947a64a34014750bb33I’ve wanted to include a Featherweight in my sewing family for a long time. Featherweights may be tiny when compared to their big brothers and sisters, but they are mighty. These machines were intended to be used in a family setting just like their full sized brothers and sisters. They helped a household make ends meet by bringing in a little extra income. They stitched many a costume and fancy dress. They mended curtains, denims, canvas, and all sorts of cloth items both in and out of the house. They carry memories from the past to the present as they are handed down from one generation to the next. Even though a Singer Featherweight 221K may have a nick here and a pin scratch there, they continue to stitch better  than modern machines. Their tiny blemishes show just how well loved the machine was. They are marks of wisdom that add character to a fine piece of machinery. (Check out this wonderful story of Adele, a very Featherweight (posted on the Singer Featherweight Shop’s blog)).

1955 Singer Featherweight 221K

Daisy, 1955 Singer Featherweight 221K

Since Osteoarthritis ran rampant throughout my spine, I’ve been limited in the amount I can lift and carry. This meant that I was not able to take my stitching on the road as most of my machines weigh at least twice (sometimes three times) the weight that I am allowed to manage. There are a few soulless plastic machines on the market that I might be able to lift and carry, but they lack the character and quality of my vintage machines. I needed to find myself a highly coveted Singer Featherweight machine.

I began my search and quickly realised that portability and quality have a hefty price tag attached to them. Featherweights were scarce and the ones that were available were beyond my meagre budget. I put my dream of ownership on the back shelf and continued to collect Singer sewing machines, none of which were all that portable. You can meet my sewing family here.  I knew that the right machine for the right price would cross my path eventually.

1955 Singer Featherweight 221K + Singer button hole attachment

Daisy, 1955 Singer Featherweight 221K

Fast forward to June 16, 2016. I happened to be checking while sipping on my morning cuppa. The first advert I came across was for Daisy. Her owner didn’t like to sew much and wanted to find Daisy a home where she would be used and well loved. After a few messages and a phone call with Daisy’s owner, I made the trip across the city to pick her up. Daisy was mine! I was the proud caretaker of a 1955 Singer Featherweight! The sewing goddess finally wrangled the fates into line and allowed all the energies to work together to help bring Daisy home to me.

Sew, with a little patience and a lot of luck, I am a portable stitcher again. I look forward to carrying Daisy to stitching classes. I look forward to visiting my sister with Daisy in tow to stitch and laugh. I look forward to meeting clients in their home to mend their treasures or teach them the finer art of stitching. I look forward to learning new tricks of the trade while remembering stitchers past who sat in front of this very machine while creating beautiful masterpieces to beautify their homes and clothe their children. I look forward to many more years with Daisy.

Daisy, 1955 Singer Featherweight 221K

Daisy, 1955 Singer Featherweight 221K, loves to piece quilt blocks.

PS: The “K” in 221K means that Daisy was created at the Scotland Singer Factory. This is my second machine from Great Britain. Knowing that this machine was made in Scotland adds a touch of extra special magic.

What do you sew with?


9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2016 5:54 am

    What a sweet story. My featherweight is also a 1955 221, without the K. It has a pin scratches and I love them. My machine sews great. I’ve had it a little more than a year now.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • June 26, 2016 9:58 am

      Your FW was likely born in the American Factory (I love that our FWs have the same birth year!).

      My family is from Britain and Scotland. The K and the “Made in Great Britain” decal on the inside of the harp area gives special meaning to me. It is not only a connection to the past, but a connection to my family’s beginnings.

      Do you save your FW for piece work or do you sew other things with her too?

  2. June 30, 2016 1:24 am

    That’s a lovely machine. I’ve just been given by my mother her two antique machines – I’m not even sure of the model numbers, but a Singer with a treadle and a FordDelux. I can’t wait to start cleaning them up!

    • June 30, 2016 7:11 am

      Check with ISMACS. They will have information on both machines. You will be posting a few pictures, yeah?

      • June 30, 2016 8:16 am

        Oh that’s great! I’ll check. Thank you! Any other tips or sites or anything from anyone would be great! I first have to clean the spider webs off the one, the other is in better shape, before I will bring them in from the garage to the house for photos. But I plan on doing a lot of reading so that I get it right! There will be lots of photos over time!

      • June 30, 2016 8:19 am

        Join the Vintage Sewing Machine group on Facebook. Lots of kind folks with experience and knowledge there.

        Take pics before you take anything apart. That way you can put it back together exactly how it was.

        I am sew excited for you!

      • June 30, 2016 8:54 am

        Oh I will! Thank you!

  3. June 30, 2016 8:13 am

    That should be ISMACS

  4. June 30, 2016 9:12 am

    And you know where I am if you wish to talk about your lovely VSMs.

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