Monday, December 13, 2010


My husband, I call him Sweetie, loves to tinker with stuff or build stuff and he’s pretty good at it.  When we found this Singer 221 Featherweight a few years ago at a nearby antique mall for $125.00, neither one of us could resist. 
Before back
It had been much used.  The center decal was almost non-existent, and the paint was dull and scratched, bare in spots.  However, when we plugged it in at the Mall before buying it, it worked.  In our opinion, it was worth rehabbing.
Before back
The chrome was dirty and disgusting, along with about everything else on it.
Before plate side
He pulled it all apart, did some internet research about the mechanics of a featherweight and where to find parts, plus talked to a guy I knew who refurbished these little darlings to get any advice in the best way to tackle this job.  He was in heaven.
Torn apart
We found dealers online with repair manuals, decals, and bobbin cases.  He worked on it off and on for several days, loving every minute of it.  After cleaning, oiling, stripping and painting, then replacing the missing bobbin case, it was almost as good as new.   According to its serial number she was “new” in 1933.  She’s a really old girl and her years had shown.
After back
Now Ophelia, named after the middle name of my beloved Dad’s mother, is in perfect running order, just as sweet as she can be.   Granny was a seamstress with a treadle sewing machine that was so much fun to play with when we visited her.  It seemed an appropriate way to honor her.
After front

Sweetie is a keeper, and so is Ophelia.  Now if we could just get that awful musty smell out of the original machine case.  Seventy-seven years of use, storage, old oil, and whatever else makes things musty, have taken their toll.  We’ve tried airing it out in the sun and put baking soda inside for several days.  Nothing worked so far. Next, I plan to try activated charcoal.  Keep your fingers crossed.


  1. That seems to be a problem with all the cases. I have one that is from the middle 40's and the case is horrible. I even clear coated the inside with varnish. Still didn't do anything for it.I think it had something to do with the glue in the case they used to seal the vinyl to the wood.
    Try Coffee grounds or Charcoal in it for awhile. I even set it out in the sunlight for a week and it didn't change. Another idea would be place a dryer sheet in there and close it up. Good luck on that. Chris ps have fun with it.

  2. Ophelia is a beauty.

    No idea on the case as I would have suggested in the Texas summer sun for a week, but if it is the glue, sun might not be the way to go...

    How about a Google to see what comes up ?

  3. So did the charcoal work? Just curious!


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