Featherweight’s Big Sister

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I’ve had my cute, little Singer Featherweight 221 for more years than I can remember.

I’ve toted it to classes, retreats, on vacation and even considered shipping it to International Quilt Festival in Houston one Fall for a class. It has been a trusted and faithful friend that many quilter’s still covet. You may be lucky enough to have one turn up within your family or find one at a garage sale. Most folks are now aware how valuable they are and bargains are rarely found. If you dream of owning a Featherweight in Petal Pink or Princess Purple, Dave’s Featherweight Factory is the place to go. He does a very nice job restoring these adorable machines and right now they are on sale for $995.00 which includes shipping.

Featherweight 221

Rose Petal Pink from DeskDave.com

I’m more inclined to be quilting on a budget and was thrilled when I learned about the Featherweight’s Big Sister. She’s the Singer 301! If you haven’t discovered this gem of a machine, let me fill you in.

Singer 301

The Singer Featherweight may be the most popular of Singer’s vintage models but the 301 is a like a Featherweight on a mission to get that last fat quarter of fabric needed to finish a quilt. It has an aluminum body so it weighs in at a mere 16 pounds which isn't bad compared to the Featherweight's 11 1/2 pounds. There’s a flip up handle on top for easy carrying to classes. The machine was originally sold with a suitcase style case but the one I purchased didn't come with one and I've never missed it.

301 Needle

It has a slant needle for more visibility. There are no belts to slip, it’s a gear driven machine so it runs smooth and steady with all the power you’d ever want.

And to make things even better............you can drop the feed dogs with the turn of a knob for machine quilting.

301 Bed

The longer arm gives you almost 9” from the needle to the motor housing and you have 5” in height to the top of the arm.

That means you can get a “big” quilt in that space !!!

The area is so accommodating that many quilters are using this machine on their Hinterberg machine quilting frames. It’s actually perfect for the job at a fraction of the cost of other longer arm machines. The tension is adjustable the same as it is on any other mechanical machine. I’m sure it will fit on the beds of other machine quilting frames. The Hinterberg just happens to be my favorite.

301 Emblem

The 301 machines were manufactured in the 1950s and depending on the accessories you chose, it sold new for about $300. I looked over some online auctions and found you can still find a nice one for as little as $84. There is a short arm variation of the 301 so be sure you look for the longer arm models. You’ll also see some labeled as 301A, that just means it was manufactured at Singer’s Anderson, SC manufacturing plant. They are available in colors (tan, green and cream) in addition to the classic black that I have.

Wth all these wonderful features, I am going to chime in with the growing choir of quilters who predict this machine is becoming the new “Featherweight”. Start shopping soon, prices are on the rise.

The next time you run into Featherweight’s Big Sister, take a minute and say hello, I think you’ll be glad you did.

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6 Responses to “Featherweight’s Big Sister”

  1. Nancy October 22, 2006 at 11:13 am #

    Been looking for one of these for months, found one but bad abuse made it not worth the money. Have Moms Singer 401A and love it, it been in use for years and never the first problem.

    Nancy

  2. Bonnie November 7, 2006 at 12:15 pm #

    I HAVE a 301A and just love it. This machine never fails. 3 friends who have seen mine have also bought one. They wouldn’t part with theirs either. Mine has been carted everywhere. It fits on my Hinterberg quilting frame and I used it until a bought a Brother 1500 which is left on the frame and frees up my 301 to take with me.

  3. Jill January 25, 2007 at 10:25 am #

    Hi, I learned to sew on a Singer 301, so it brings back many good memories. I always said if I ever found one I would buy it in a heartbeat. Last fall I bid on a machine on Ebay and won. Sadly when the machine arrived it sounded like it was on it’s last leg. Luckily the seller was willing to refund my $ if I would ship it back. At Christmas I bought myself a present from Perfect Portable, Deb specializes in Featherweight machines but also has Singer 201 and 301s. She lives close enough that I was able to meet her and try out the machine. I’m really enjoying using the 301 and keep it set up to do machine quilting. Jill

  4. ginny March 12, 2007 at 7:35 pm #

    I just found a 301A (cocoa) at the local thrift shop: $25 !! Wow!! Brought him home & he had the wrong bobbin with tons of thread wrapped around the bobbin shaft. But once that was fixed & correct bobbin inserted, he works like a champ. I work at Log Cabin
    Quilts in Yuma, AZ & have been dreaming of getting a Featherweight – like lots of our Snowbirds have – I can’t believe my good fortune. My daughter is thrilled & so are my little grandsons, who love to sew their own pillowcases. What a perfect family machine!!

  5. Anita December 9, 2008 at 4:47 am #

    My daughter always thought she couldn’t use a machine. She had always bought second hand Montgomery Ward (or similar) machines. When I visited her (she lives over 1000 miles from me)I got in touch with some sewing friends and asked if anyone had a used Singer for sale. We were lucky and one person did. We bought it-a black Singer 301. Since then she has made curtains for her house, pillows for a window seat and she no longer has to pay to have her jeans shortened. She loves the machine and can sew anything she wants…

  6. susan August 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    hi I have a 301 short arm the bed is 7 1/4 from needle to motor house and a 301 long bed it to is a 7 1/4 needle to motor house is there some others I dont know about. love them but no way near 9 inches was thinking of trying it on a quilt frame

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