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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