How to Tell if a Sewing Machine Is Featherweight (History, Cost) Update 05/2022

Knowing the age of your sewing machine will help you determine its worth. Once you know how much your computer is worth, you may decide whether to keep it or sell it for a profit.

All you need is the serial number to figure out when your machine was built. The featherweight’s serial number starts with two letters and is located on the bottom of the machine. It will take place in one of two locations. The space adjacent to the bottom tray as well as the interior of the bottom tray.

Sold Price: Mint Condition Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine - Invalid date PST

Continue reading this post to learn more about dating the Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It contains all of the information required to determine an accurate age and potential value. The featherweight was produced from 1933 to 1961, with some models lasting until 1968 or 1969.

What Are Featherweight Sewing Machines?

The first Featherweight sewing machine was a lock stitch device that soon gained a lot of traction. Collectors of beautiful sewing machines still hold them in high regard.

The business began with the 221 and continued to explore with the ultimate design even as production was underway. That will explain why your 221 model differs from that of your friends or family.

These machines are designed to be simple to use and maintain. They made sewing a lot easier and more comfortable for a lot of people. They appear to be simple to use and thread with little difficulty.

Parts should be easy to come by, as this is a sewing machine that many people still use today if they can find one.

The Featherweight Sewing Machine History

The firm commissioned their new Featherweight sewing machine model on Oct. 3, 1933. The 221 was the name given to it, and 10,000 copies were ordered for the first run. Because the firm hadn’t finalized the design, minor variances were discovered among the first 10,000 sewing machines.

The sewing machine then made its premiere during the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair, which is depicted on the emblem along with the city’s name and date. To date those first sewing machines, simply glance at the badge.

These specialized badges may be seen on several featherweight machines, since they recognized various events during those early years. Another example of speciality badges is the Texas Centennial Exposition.

The machine underwent a number of small adjustments during the 1930s, which you can observe by clicking on this link. There are just too many to discuss in this article. One notable feature is that no Featherweight sewing machines were produced during the war years of 1942 to 1944. This was because of the L-98 Limitation Order.

Singer produced the 222 in 1953, however it was only sold in Western countries and not in the United States. This model was in production until 1961. The 221 was produced until 1969, however the precise number produced is unknown.

How to Identify a Featherweight Sewing Machine

This could be a lot easier than it appears. Because the machine was so well-liked by Singer, they modified it such that it could be clearly recognised. The 221 was the only model of the featherweight manufactured before 1953.

If the sewing machine has one of the many distinct emblems Singer used on its machines, you can read the date of manufacture. The date is obvious because the badge recognizes various milestones, including its own centennial.

Because chromium was banned at the time, Singer darkened parts on their 221 machines in 1941 and 1945. If your machine has an MR on it, it was intended for Latin American countries, although some remained in the United States and were about 1947 221 model.

Singer Featherweight - Wikipedia

To distinguish the 222 model from the new model that was going to be introduced, the firm added a 221 badge beneath the usual emblem. When the machines were built in the United Kingdom from 1959 to 1961, a K was added to the 221 badge.

How Much Does a Featherweight Sewing Machine Weigh?

You’d imagine an all-metal sewing machine would be quite heavy. The Singer Featherweight, however, does not. That suggests the name has a deeper meaning than you might have assumed.

When Singer created the featherweight machine, it began experimenting with aluminum. The entire weight was approximately 11 pounds. You read that correctly. It only weighs 11 pounds, making it a simple sewing machine to move if necessary.

This lightness was carried over to the 222k, which was designed for the European market.

Featherweight Sewing Machine Dimensions

Despite its small size, the featherweight sewing machine measures 18 by 14 by 12 inches in total. That might not be the exact size for all Singer 221 and 222 models.

Because the corporation made numerous adjustments to production over the years, it’s only natural that the machine changed sizes during those decades. The Featherweight has been compared to the iconic 1957 Chevy.

When the machine was regarded a work of art in engineering, size didn’t matter. That was the featherweight, a masterpiece demonstrating that sewing machines can be elegant, long-lasting pieces of gear.

Who Painted Featherweight Sewing Machines

When the Singer firm made their Featherweight sewing machines, they most likely had a section that handled the painting. They could have outsourced the job, but painting 10,000 or more each year would be a massive undertaking for any painting contractor with a shop outside of the Singer factories.

However, if you want to give your antique Featherweight machine a new look, you can take it to any painting firm that specializes in ancient machine repainting. Repainting takes a lot of time and effort, and not everyone is interested in doing such detailed work.

Your best bet is to contact a few sewing machine repair businesses and ask for recommendations. You might conduct a local online search to locate a company in your area, but as we previously stated, the sky is the limit when it comes to who can paint your sewing machine.

It could be a job for your in-house handyman.

How Much do Featherweight Sewing Machines Cost?

Between 1933 to 1950ish, the original price tag was between $125 and $200. Someone went to the trouble of adjusting the price tag for inflation, and it now costs around $2000 in today’s money.

The current value is highly subjective and will fluctuate. It depends on the owner, and emotional attachments might drive up the price significantly. On eBay, one guy is selling their model for $500.

Others are selling for between $170 and $600 on that website, so it depends depend on the accessories you acquire, the condition it is in, and other considerations. Don’t get your hopes up just yet because one model was selling for only $77.

To receive top cash, the machine must be in working order and in the greatest possible condition.

How Old is My Featherweight Sewing Machine?

That is an excellent question. If your sewing machine has a specialized badge, you can ascertain the date of your sewing machine within a year or two by looking at it. For three years, their 221s wore the Singer centenary badge.

Although we are unable to duplicate the exact chart, there are three options for dating your featherweight. This website contains them all. However, there are three possible explanations for why your featherweight is not featured. Those reasons can also be found on that website, immediately above the chart.

Because Singer kept great records and the machines were built at the proper moment in history, dating your Singer Featherweight will be simple.

Featherweight Serial Numbers

Both the 221 and the 222 have serial numbers on the underside of the machine. They were sometimes put inside or beneath the bottom tray. They are usually located next to the bottom tray.

The serial numbers begin with two letters and are followed by six digits. It was created in New Jersey if the first letter was an A. It was made in Scotland if the first letter was an E, and it was made in Canada if the first letter was a J.

When you start inspecting serial numbers, you’ll notice that they don’t always go in the same order from year to year. This challenge was completed in each of the three places.

Featherweight Needles

Needles for your lightweight sewing machine should be easy to come by. The Schmetz universal 80/12 is all you need to accommodate both the 221 and the 222. Because the 221 and 222 do not receive the needle in the typical method, this is the simple part.


The flat part of the needle should face left when facing your machine. If you place the flat side facing right, it won’t operate as well. You could damage the needle or have the machine stitch incorrectly.

The difference between the two places is slight, yet significant enough to make a significant difference. When you make minor mistakes like slipping the needle in the wrong place, it doesn’t take much to impair the machine’s performance.

Where to Buy Featherweight Sewing Machines

The good news is as follows: A Singer featherweight sewing machine can be purchased from a variety of sources. The bad news is that you might have trouble picking where to make your purchase.

Expect to pay a premium for these devices because they are quite popular and keep their worth. You may go to eBay, which appears to have a lot of them posted on their website.

Then you can look for more models for sale on Craigslist or another internet classified page. Several companies that deal with Featherweight sewing machines can be found on the internet, and some of them contain a wealth of information on these machines. This website is an example.

Antique stores, sewing machine repair shops, and other similar establishments, including auction houses, should have some or a line on where you may purchase one.

Finding a Featherweight Sewing Machine Manual

The first choice is also a no-cost option. They offer PDF downloads as well as a variety of manuals for various 221 and 222 sewing machines. To access those options, simply click here.

If the first location does not have the one you seek, you can try this one. If you don’t want to purchase a handbook, you can read one online at this link. Another consideration is whether it is compatible with your unit.

Some may be available on eBay. Simply type Singer Featherweight manuals into the search box to see what results appear.

Final Thoughts

Owning a work of art in engineering boosts your self-esteem and elevates your prestige in the sewing machine industry. Possessing a Featherweight sewing machine could be the nicest feather in your cap.

Both the 221 and 222 are excellent machines that should continue to function well after 80 years of use. To receive the best outcomes and happiness from your work, go with the best.

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