Featherweight Sewing Machines – The Low-down on These Cult Cuties

I have come across many sewing machine models whilst surfing the Internet and for all the fancy gadgets on the newer computerised sewing machines, the featherweight sewing machine seems to be very popular still with quilters and patch-workers alike and consistently gets great review and comments. If you don’t believe me, here’s a fan who loves her white featherweight sewing machine.
I’ve also met several people who are not sure really what they are and so I thought I’d write a short post explaining this.


They are very often  mistaken for toys as they are much smaller than the models of today. In fact, these machine are workhorses that consistently sew an excellent straight stitch.


Here's a typical Featherweight Sewing Machine


What is a Featherweight Sewing Machine?

  • It’s a model made by Singer between 1933 and 1964
  • It weighs about 11LB and so is very portable
  • It’s very quiet and sturdy
  • It only sews straight stitches but sews them  well. Even the oldest machines, if they have been looked after, sew really well.
  • The machine is characterised by a fold-up extension of the bed or platform, thus adding more sewing surface to the left side of the needle.

How do I get a Featherweight Machine?
Despite their cult status, they are not rare as there were many of them made. You are most likely to find them through used machine dealers, from individuals, at garage and car boot sales, by mail order and through sellers online such as eBay.

As the machines were not actually labelled ‘Featherweight’, they are often advertised for sale as ‘old Singer’ or ‘antique Singer’ and you may have to do a bit of detective work to sort through the Featherweight sewing machines and the truly old and antique models. The light weight and fold-up extension are two clues.

If you are lucky you’ll have one of these machines handed down to you from your mother, grand-mother or great-grand-mother!

How much should a Featherweight cost?
Prices do vary depending on the running condition as well as  appearance. Older machines won’t necessarily cost more than newer ones. It would be a good idea to try the machine out before you buy to see how well it sews. Also make sure it is complete. The bobbin case is one of the items the is frequently missing. Like anything, there are extremes but you are most likely to find thee machines priced between USD $300 – $500.

You can check out the sewing action in this 2 minute video. Enjoy!

The Featherweight Sewing Machine in action

Leave a Response