A Humming Bird

Remember this? I needed to remove the entire hook assembly, and work at the rust. I have to say, I wasn’t sure how this would turn out in the end. There was more rust between the layers than I anticipated. It required several rounds of soaking in kerosene, some scrubbing, then some buffing. I needed to get it to the point that everything could move smoothly and thread wouldn’t get caught on rust or burrs when stitching.

This is a quick video of the first “movement” test. Keep in mind, at this point, the machine has not been oiled.

It’s Alive!!

Once movement on the hook assembly and bobbin case was tested, I cleaned the machine up. I needed to wait until the new belt arrived to continue working on the machine. The original belt was brittle and falling apart due to age. The motor ports didn’t appear to have any lubricant in them, but the carbon brush was surprisingly un-worn. My guess is that piece HAD been replaced at some point in time. I did remove quite a bit of thread that had wrapped around near the belt bushing / cap.

Fast forward to today. The replacement belt, the only non-vintage piece we ended up needing, came in the mail! It was time to oil the machine, lubricate the motor (no lubrication on gears for the white machine), and install the new belt. Now we are getting somewhere!

I was surprised by the noise that the machine made when the belt was not on the motor. I did not take the motor apart to investigate. However, after fully assembling it with the belt, the noise seemed to go away. If I was suspect of anything that might need additional work later, it will be this. However, It could be related to the lack of lubrication that has been in the motor for a long time.

Scary Motor Sounds

Final Adjustments:
– Re-install the belt
– Install the needle
– Wind a bobbin
– Adjust bobbin case tension
– Adjust machine tension
– Polish (because, why not!)

Listen to it hum! I am happy with these results. I managed to repair it with some kerosene, oil, motor lubricant, and a $10.95 part! With a little de-rusting and some general machine care, this machine is brought back to life. I’m sure with regular maintenance and use, she will last a long time.
Now, it needs a name. Doesn’t every good machine?
But, alas, I don’t get to keep her. This belongs to my friend. Hopefully, my friend gives her a great name and if he finds any other orphans at the antique and estate sales, he will keep me in mind!
Featherweights are pretty fun to work on.

Happy Sitching!


Sight Unseen

It is nice when the results of a sight unseen risk come out as you expected.  There were some who thought from my earlier photos of my new featherweight project, that the machine looked great the way it is.  However, upon arrival in West Virginia, my suspicions from the poor eBay photographs were corroborated, and then some.   The finish of this 1937 beauty does indeed need some work, and the original decals are at least 1/3 missing.  She is a perfect candidate for a makeover!

True to many auction listings, the possible water damage and extent of decals missing were under described.  It’s not a hot mess, but not very collectible as-is.

This is what the listing said:
“1937 Singer 221 Featherweight Sewing Machine with case and pedal. Very nice condition with wear consistent with age and normal use. Tested and operates perfectly. Bobbin case intact (sometimes they are missing). No other attachments present. Case has wear consistent with being used and moved around. Handle has been taped with electrical tape but is still attached to top strongly. Work light works. Some of the gold trim printing is worn off from use. Belt has minor use wear but still in very good condition. Motor runs freely and strong. I will ship as cheaply as possible.”


If she really operates perfectly, then all will be well.  If she doesn’t, then I will fix it.  When I am 80 years old, I can only hope I fare so well!

I think she will be out for delivery for stripping, maintenance, and refinishing this week.  My new waterslide metallic decals arrived from and I have decided on a color.  It isn’t exactly a hot rod, but as close as I have ever come!  This 2000 Ford Ranger was my very first “new car”.  Since then I have driven a station wagon and a minivan.  Sigh.  I think that I need to remedy this.   An old curvy Jaguar with silver racing stripes would look great in this metallic green color too! (Hey, a girl can dream…)


My brand new truck – Spring 2000 before I graduated from college

I have a picture in my head about what the 1937 will look like all decked out in green metallic with silver Celtic knot decals and all of her original shiny chrome.

But, what shall I name her?

If I’m lucky I will ger her back before June when I attend the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival.  (If not, I’ll borrow Mom’s machine and treat it to a spa day.)  I signed up for a Nova Montgomery Singer Featherweight Maintenance Class.  I thought this would be great to guide me through maintenance of the machines, help me maintain my machines health and be a great resource for my mother, friends, and family who own these machines.

The tulips in this photo give promise of spring, though winter won’t be over until March 20th here!  Our biggest snow might be yet to come! My ankle is doing really well, so…



A Feathered Journey Begins

My new toy is traveling today!

Funny story anyone?

My fun friend Teresa, who I met at Quilting Elevated last year, was going to bid on a featherweight at an auction in West Virginia last Sunday.  She is an auctioneer and knows how auctions work.  I felt good about letting her spend my money.   Saturday night I get a call… ” I bought you a machine! (I hope you’re not mad…)”.  Now, I was momentarily confused since the auction wasn’t until Sunday.   However, never underestimate a friend.  I had mentioned the type of the machine I was most interested in and given her bidding limit guidelines.  She ran with it and probably saved me some dough ( and a very long drive for her) by finding said model on an Ebay auction without a 10% buyers fee.   So far so good.  We have a tracking number!

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This 1937 beauty is making a grand tour from Daly City in Sunny California (home of the Cow Palace just south of San Fransico) to Buckhannon, West Virginia and then finally to my home in Overland Park, Kansas.Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 6.10.20 PM.jpgScreen Shot 2017-01-24 at 6.38.00 PM.png

WARNING:  IF YOU ARE A PURIST… Read no more today.

This little machine is going to travel about 3,550 miles before I ever get to touch it, and I can hardly wait.   The machine appears to have some wear to the decals, and some finish scuffing on the neck, and may need some foot pedal cable work.   It’s hard to see defects from the Ebay photographs.  My friend knows someone that is great at helping to give some TLC and hot rod old machines, and I hope to hire him!  Cleanup, Tune Up, Strip Down, and Refinish & Decal.  It reminds me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz before they have an audience!  I also plan to figure out how to restore the case, which is in less than stellar condition… Stay tuned.


Can you imagine the fun we would all have if they made a reality show restoring and “hot rodding” vintage sewing machines!  I bet mechanics, machine artists and wild quilty ladies involved with all of the curvy, chromed machines of the past could be a hoot.  The machines would become showpieces of the future.  Computerized, plastic machine cases may never be collectible like the older machines.  They aren’t pretty, just very functional.  Once the circuit boards are aged, they may just take up space.  They don’t make sewing machines like they used to, and electronics are sometimes harder to repair.   Don’t get me wrong.  I love computerization.  But I am very psyched about my new, old toy!

I wish I could go to WV and help with the process of stripping it down and refinishing it.

Do you have a hot rod in your collection?
Comment and tell me about it.

Safe Travels!