|Colette, as she arrived...no accessories other than the jewelry she's wearing, and her little box|
My love affair with Featherweights began before I even knew about it....when I was a mere childling, and my darling Mumsy was sewing nearly all of my clothes on her Feather, brought with her from England. Fast forward, (many) years later, to my renewed interest in sewing, one basic plastic fantastic Janome, (which is still working just fine for me), but before long I was yearning for that humming, hard-working, satin smooth finish of the vintage Singer again.... I soon had a 201, which is still definitely the workhorse in my sewing room, but oh that Featherweight....it was still calling me.... until I finally replaced the Feather of my youth! Once....twice....a couple more......... and each one, of course, received a thorough spa treatment at my hands - I don't know who enjoys it more, me or the machine (of course they have feelings! How can anything that adorably cute not have feelings?!)
Here, finally, is my promised record of A Day at the Spa with Colette, the latest addition to my little flock :) You may want to check out my previous post on Cleaning a vintage Singer for additional info - a lot of the process is the same for both, but I'll try to let this post stand alone with all the info needed.
And the (Picture Heavy) Fun Begins....
Step One: Set your baby on its side & inspect the foot pads:
They probably need to be replaced - remove the foot pads with a screwdriver - they might be really stuck in there, so you may need to do some digging.
Unscrew the knob in the center of the drip pan; remove the round felt holder, the drip pan and the old felt liner. Toss the felts - they will almost certainly by nasty & stinky! And I've actually never had THIS much grease sitting on the pan! Ewww factor:
WD-40 to the rescue!
The old & the new :)
Now it's time to remove all the jewelry. DISCLAIMER!!!!! I remove the upper tension parts, just because I really like to get in there & do a deep cleaning. Unless you have a good set of instructions, or you photo-document every single step as you dismantle it, do NOT do this yourself! In most cases, it really won't be necessary. ::whew::: sorry for yelling....just had to say that :)
In spite of the above statement, I can be lazy, so this is how I like to clean the metal bits. Instead of spending ages trying to scrub out every little nook & cranny of all those metal bits, I just toss a spoonful of OXO into a bowl, add some boiling water, & then let all those metal bits soak for 20 minutes or so. Do not (gonna have to yell again here....) DO NOT place anything that has any lacquer on it in the bubble bath! Umm....go ahead, ask me how I know....
Here they are, enjoying their bubble bath:
20 minutes later (after a THOROUGH rinse and dry....I mean, REALLY thorough...you don't want any moisture at all left....I'll even use a hair dryer on the pieces, if there's any humidity in the air)
Colette said it was OK to show a nude pic of her (she's French, you know....)
While everything is soaking, I start the internal cleanse. Some people caution against using WD-40, but phooey on them. The stuff is the BEST de-greaser & de-gunker for metal parts. Just do NOT use it as an oil substitute, wipe it off well, & follow up with real sewing machine oil. I give a squirt of WD-40 to the bobbin case area:
...and the gears under the spool pin (see that nasty old gunky grease?) If the underbelly area is gunky, use the WD-40 there as well. Rub off the gunk, dry it well, & now you're ready to start oiling & greasing :)
Now that you're done getting rid of the old, it's time to add the new. Squeeze out a bit of motor lube & add it to the gear in the above picture, and the two gears in the belly area. Move your handwheel, & make sure the gears are fully lubricated.
Refer to your manual or other book & add a drop of oil to all of the necessary spots. Just a drop! A little goes a long ways :)
Now that the belly is fully, you can replace her undies. Glue the new felt liner onto the drip pan (rubber cement works well), replace the pan with a fresh felt pad between the screw & the pan, & screw the new rubber feet back in place: (BTW, I have probably a lifetime supply of red felt that showed up on my doorstep - literally - so I just make the felts myself)
And now the real fun begins! Bring out your Scratch X (I LOVE this stuff!!!) to give your baby the first step in its deep metal massage. Put a small dab on your clean cotton cloth, & start gently rubbing a small area (about half of the drop-down arm). If your machine is really dirty, it will feel like it's 'grabbing' at first, & you'll feel it start to let go & move more smoothly as it releases the gunk. Don't let the Scratch X dry...move to a clean area of your rag & rub the Scratch X; you'll get the 'squeaky clean' reward! For a REALLY dirty machine, you may want to repeat....I've never had to do more than 2 times. You might want to practice on a small, hidden area at first....it's really wonderful stuff, just don't overdo it, and you'll be fine :)
You thought this machine didn't look too bad? Look at what came off of it!:
And here she is after her first massage! Her beauty is starting to emerge :) :) :)
Now it's time to for phase two of the deep metal massage - the waxing. Use a good quality carnauba car wax, & use it just like you were waxing your fine old vintage Rolls. Apply a thin coat, rub it in, let dry, & rub the shine on. Repeat. NOW she's (or he) is ready to reapply the jewels! (The male Feathers are just as flashy & jewel-loving as the females, I've discovered. In fact, I think my snootiest & vainest feather is a male.....) But I digress....
When you screw the bobbin cover plate back in place, here's a common mistake a lot of folks make - see the little finger that's sticking up at 12:00? That's where it needs to be, right in the groove at the bottom of the cover plate. Make sure it's in this position before screwing the plate back:
I actually like to do another full waxing massage after all the chrome & metal bits are back - I even wax the face plate & throat plate & some of the other chrome bits. And then a stitch test.......Yes!!! Perfect stitches!!!!! (how rewarding is THAT, after all your hard work!?) :D :D :D
And who's a pretty girl?
Let's give her a flower!
I like to cut my oil-catching protector cloth long enough to protect the bed from the face plate screw before putting the baby to bed:
Of course, everyone else had to come out to meet the new addition! They agreed to a photo shoot, so...just for fun, here's my mini-flock:
- featherweight221.com (David McCallum's site) for the BEST Featherweight book & DVD available, along with parts, and friendly advice
- april1930s for parts, and a fabulous collection of vintage and new specialty feet
- sew classic - a great site for information & parts for all sorts of vintage Singers
- Featherweight Yahoo Group - for questions & answers from knowledgable folk
- a downloadable 221 manual
- Graham Forsdyke's site - he is da bomb!
- Leo Kujat's site - everything you never knew you wanted to know about Featherweight facts & history - his Question of the Week area ROCKS!
And....last, but most decidedly not least.... I have to give a MAJOR shout out for the blogless Lynn Rowe, Pattern Review's resident Featherweight Goddess, who has researched & deep metal massaged her feather-lovin' little fingers to the bone, gathering and sharing knowledge & information for the rest of us :)
*whew* This took way longer than I anticipated, but those darlin' little feathers are worth every second of time you give them!
Please, share your Feather stories with me - I love hearing them!