Friday, January 11, 2008

#1 Problem with the 221/222 Singer Featherweight

#1 MOST COMMON PROBLEM: NEEDLE INSERTION


The Featherweight uses the common needle type which goes by several different designations; 15X1, 705, etc. These come in sizes from 8 (smallest) to 19 (largest). The “size” refers to the thickness of the needle, and not the length. All modern household machines, Featherweight included, use the same length needle.


The critical difference between the Featherweight and most other machines is that the NEEDLE IS INSERTED WITH THE FLAT SIDE OF THE NEEDLE TO THE OPERATORS LEFT. (Illustrated above) Unless the needle is inserted correctly the MACHINE WILL NOT SEW. Certainly you must also be sure your needle is not bent or blunted. Better to dispose of a questionable needle than take a chance

Although the Singer “color-coded” needles are suitable, I prefer the Schmetz brand for quality. Any others should be avoided.
This post seems really basic, but I have seen many hundreds of Featherweights which would not sew because the needle was inserted incorrectly.
For a wide selection of parts for vintage Singer, Pfaff, or Bernina machines see our website www.vintagesingersewing.com

31 comments:

Woodsong said...

The "sideways" needle thing is a "gotcha" that got me!

knackeredhackette said...

Yes, that curious flat-side-on-the-"wrong"-side confused me the first time I encountered it.

Oh, good, I've just bought some Schmetz needles, so am pleased I made the right choice.

Thanks!

judygoldblum said...

Can someone help me. My thread keeps coming out of the needle. the tension is very tight even when on zero. How do I adjust the tension.? Any help would be so appreciated up against a deadline/
Judy

miriam said...

I have 2 singer 500a machines. The foot control on one makes the machine go really slow. The foot control on the other works fine on that machine. The other machine goes slow no matter what foot control I use. Any tips?

mac said...

Thank goodness for your article. My dear mother, expert on this machine, died and I would have had a lot of problems figuring this out. You saved the day!

marcia said...

Thanks a bunch.
I couldn't figure out what was wrong.
I was all over the tension settings with no improvement. Turned the needle around as you illustrated and now my machine sews beautifully.

Joanne said...

I have another problem with my Featherweight 221K. Before I start to sew, I like to use the hand wheel to lower the needle to pick up a thread from the bobbin. Then pull it through, then start my sewing. Last sewing session, I was not able to do this because the thread wouldn't catch. And it sounds as if something is out of wack with the bobbin. Although I am able to sew, it isn't a smooth process. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

eks said...

I just bought a singer 221k from ebay. The machine won't sew for more than 3-4 inches.

I tried all I can by cleaning in bobbin mechanism, checking tension on thread and bobbin case but the problem still exist. After tightening the screw on the bobbin case I could stitch upto 4 inches without thread breaking.

When I opened the bobbin case base to clean up any caught threads I found that it has a crack around the centre stud.

Also, I have noticed very carefully that thread breaks because the bobbin case has slipped out of its place. Then when it is pressed back so that the stud centre is flush with the bobbin case face it sews for another 3-4 inches and thread breaks again. I think it is the crack in the bobbin case base which is pushing it out.

Please help. I like my machine but if repairs/parts are going to cost me more than than I bought it for I prefer to return it.

Please help

bunnyhop22 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bunnyhop22 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bunnyhop22 said...

i have decided to sell my singer sewing machine 221 featherweight just been to check it out and soon as i plug it in it starts on it's own without pressing the foot pedal?.

sandra corey said...

Need some advice: Mom has a 1952 Singer feather weight 221-1. Took it in for a checkup and ever since cannot use it because it runs so slowly. Any ideas what might be wrong?

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Toko Mebel Jatim said...

I have another problem with my Featherweight 221K. Before I start to sew, I like to use the hand wheel to lower the needle to pick up a thread from the bobbin. Then pull it through, then start my sewing. Last sewing session, I was not able to do this because the thread wouldn't catch. And it sounds as if something is out of wack with the bobbin. Although I am able to sew, it isn't a smooth process. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. meja tamu

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Pamela Kitchen said...

That did not solve my problem because it was already inserted correctly. However, my thread keeps wrapping around the spindle from the spool. How can I keep that from happening. That may be the problem. But I don't know what to do to keep it from wrapping around. It seems as though the hole in the spool is too big.

Thanks!
Pam K.

Pamela Kitchen said...

My upper thread is also getting hung up in the bobbin casing area. It's wrapping around the casing. What am I doing wrong?

Pam

ThomD said...

Pam.

The casing is weid on some of these, be sure you have everything properly inserted, that the casing can't be removed without the latch being deployed. Bring up the bobbin thread, and make sure you have the top thread and bottom thread at least 6-8 inches in length, hold them as you start making stitches.

Of course double check everything, all the basics, but the above should do it.

ThomD said...

I realize this is the long way around, but if you get put on a variety of machines, understand the following: The bobbin case is on the side of the needle that loops the upper thread using a hook. To do that it needs to be super close to the needle. Quality needles have a scarf (cutaway) to allow the hook to come all the way into the needle. This scarf is above the eye, on the opposite side from the side with the groove. So rule of thumb is THE SCARF ALWAYS FACES THE BOBBIN CASE.

The groove on the needle allows the thread on one side of the needle to be inside the needle so that the needle thread combo penetrates more easily. It should be obvious that is not going to be the side that the bobbin hook assembly forms the stitch on as it would have to penetrate the steel of the needle to get to the thread. So: THE GROOVE ON THE NEEDLE GOES TO THE SIDE AWAY FROM THE HOOK/BOBBIN CASE/ BOBBIN ASSEMBLY. To state the reverse of the first point.

Judith Golba said...

I just purchased a Featherweight on eBay. The lubricant was rock solid. Nothing moved. After lots of mineral oil we were able to remove the lubricant and free and clean it up. But, the tension was way off. My son worked with it and found it was the needle. There was a package of original needles with the machine. They don't have a scarf. Were can I get these needles? He replaced a Schmets needle with the antique one. The machine was built in 1936.
Mcrweety