Troubleshooting Singer Featherweight (Fix & Repair Guide) Update 05/2022

Even the most popular sewing machine has issues with maintenance and repair. Especially the portable ones that can be picked up and transported at any time. To keep your Featherweight and other sewing machines operating, it’s a good idea to understand the basics of maintenance and repair.

Singer Featherweight 221 and 222 sewing machines are historical models. Singer produced the entire line from 1933 to 1969, and the machines have proven to be reliable and long-lasting. Make care to clean and lubricate them on a regular basis to keep them working over 90 years past their heyday.

Continue reading this post to learn how to care for your ancient Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It contains as much information as possible to assist you in keeping your top sewing machine running like new. As you read, have a cup of coffee.

How to Fix a Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

The benefit of having a Singer Featherweight sewing machine is that the warranty is not voided. You’re free to make the necessary repairs and get back on track swiftly. The first step is to disconnect the machine and begin looking for the source of the issue.

Covers, bobbins, needles, and other items may need to be removed. Always begin with the most basic, easy-to-repair sources to save time and money when they are the real issue. The threading of the machine, the needle, and the bobbin area are the three most prevalent places that produce issues.

Why is my Singer Featherweight Skipping Stitches?


The needle and the manner you threaded your machine are two basic causes for this problem. It’s possible that the needle was put incorrectly. Replace the needle, or your machine may need to be re-threaded. If the needle is to pick up the bottom thread correctly, the flat side of the needle must face left.

Another option for this problem is a little more time-consuming and complicated. Check your machine’s timing to make sure the hook and needle are in the right places. If they aren’t, you can do the repair yourself or have it done by a Singer repairman.

What Size Bobbin for a Singer Featherweight?

Understanding that many bobbins appear very similar to each other is the key to replacing the bobbin in your Featherweight. Because the differences are so small, you must choose the correct one if you want your system to perform properly.

The 221 and 222 Featherweights use a metal bobbin from the 221 class. Never use a plastic bobbin in a metal bobbin’s place or vice versa. If you have any additional sewing machines, you can use this website to figure out which bobbins will work with them.

Also, even if the sizes appear to be same, do not use the incorrect one. It’s possible they aren’t.

Singer Featherweight Won’t sew


Even a top sewing machine like the Featherweight has the same problems that all sewing machines do. Of course, if the machine does not sew, you may not have properly plugged it in, turned on the electricity, or plugged the foot pedal in.

Another possibility is that lint or loose thread got into the bobbin region and blocked the handwheel from turning. To resolve these issues, turn on or plug in the machine. Alternatively, properly clean it. Also, double-check that your bobbin winding switch is in the sewing position. If not, relocate it so you can return to your activity.

Singer Featherweight Electrical Problems

If you are not comfortable working with electric wires, you should have your machine repaired by a competent technician. This company can assist you and has parts available if you require them. However, working with wires is rather simple.

If the wires are slack, simply reposition them before tightening the screw. If they are burned, frayed, or broken, simply replace them with the same wire. If you have the necessary expertise, this is a simple remedy.

Featherweight Running Slow

Your featherweight’s belts may have worn out and need to be replaced if you have this problem. The solution is simple: simply purchase the appropriate new belt and replace the old one. Another cause of this issue is a belt that is either too tight or too loose.

In any situation, your computer will slow down. Just figure out which one is the issue and deal with it accordingly. If your machine continues to run slowly, it’s time to take it to the shop for repairs.

How to Wind the Bobbin


The thread spool must first be placed on its spool holder. Use the handwheel to activate the bobbin winder and stop the needle plate from moving. Pull the thread in the direction of the forward thread guide.

Return to the rear thread guide, which is located just under the bobbin, after going through the guide. Pull the thread up to the bobbin and through the guide. Then, proceeding left, thread the thread through the small fork on the winder and through the bobbin itself.

Also, make sure the bobbin spindle’s notch lines up with the bobbin’s notch. If you require diagrams, simply click this link to see what we are referring to. Also included are instructions for repairing the bobbin winder.

Singer Featherweight Won’t Pick up the Bobbin Thread

This has been discussed before for another issue, but it is the same with sewing machines. Different problems arise from the same sources. Your needle is the first place to look. It may not pick up the bobbin thread if it is deformed, dull, or broken. Simply replace the needle with a new, sharp one.

The issue could also be with the machine’s timing. The bobbin thread will not be picked up if the needle is out of place. You’ll need to crawl inside the machine’s front, underneath the feed dogs, and verify the needle and hook alignment. Adjust the timing by loosening or tightening the screw using a screwdriver.

Singer Featherweight Jammed

This problem occurs frequently when your machine is not cleaned on a regular basis. Loose threads, lint, and dirt clog up the machine by getting into places they shouldn’t be. Check to see if your bobbin casing is clean, and if not, clean it well.

Another issue could be that you forgot to oil your machine, causing some of the parts to become stuck together. You may need to use your hairdryer to release old oil and allow the parts to move, then add a few drops of new oil to ensure the machine functions properly.

Featherweight Not Stitching


In this circumstance, go straight to the needle. If it is twisted or broken, the machine will not stitch. Also, if you threaded the needle incorrectly, it will not make the stitches you want on your fabric. Make sure the thread is going left to right and that the needle’s flat side is facing left.

Check to determine if you threaded the machine correctly as another solution to this problem. Otherwise, re-thread it and continue on your way. Next, double-check your tension to make sure it’s adjusted correctly for the thread and cloth you’re working with. If it isn’t, just remedy the issue by turning the tension dial or screw in the desired direction.

Featherweight Needle Not Moving

The bobbin area is one location to look. Remove the bobbin and bobbin case to check for tangled threads. If this is the case, you’ll need to spend a few minutes cutting thread and untangling the tangle. Check your take-up lever next to see if any thread has gotten into that part of your machine. It’s a difficult spot to find, but it’s not impossible for the thread to migrate up there and cause havoc.

Also, look under the needle plate to see if any thread has become tangled there. Furthermore, you may have left the machine unattended for a period of time, causing rust or oil to dry up in some of the parts, preventing the needle from moving. Re-oil the machine after cleaning both.

Featherweight Needle Position

When replacing an old needle on your Featherweight sewing machine, be sure to install the new one in the exact spot. The needle’s flat side is facing left, while the eye is threaded right to left.

To change the needle, release the needle clamp adjustment screw slightly and carefully remove the old needle. Then, as indicated in the preceding paragraph, insert the replacement needle. You’re ready to go once you tighten the screw.

Featherweight Skipping Stitches


The cause of this issue is the same as the previous concerns with missing stitches or not stitching. Start with your needle. Ensure that it is straight, crisp, and unbroken. Replace the needle if the opposite is true. Check to determine if the needle was properly placed and replace it if it wasn’t.

After that, inspect your bobbin. Because the featherweight does not thread like other Singer sewing machines, you must make sure the bobbin thread is wound counter-clockwise. If not, reposition the bobbin.

Singer Featherweight Timing

It takes time and a little precision work to get the timing just perfect, so it may be a tiresome and difficult task. The good news is that timing issues are rarely the cause of sewing machine issues. If you regularly use your sewing machine, this may never be an issue.

When someone disassembles this machine and attempts to modify the rotary and shaft placements or movements, the timing frequently fails. That implies you should keep your handyman away from your machine.

Singer Featherweight Tension Issues

Tension difficulties with the Featherweight 221 are most common when changing fabrics. The fabric’s thickness or texture will affect the tension and mess up your stitches. Simply set the dial to 3 to test the tension for the featherweight.

Then stitch a straight seam and check to see if the stitches are flat on both sides of the fabric. To fine-tune the tension, you’ll need to do multiple tests to ensure that you always have the proper amount when you need it. The idea is to have the stitches on both sides of the fabric lying flat.

Feed Dog Adjustment


To alter the height of the feed dogs on the 222 model, all you have to do is pull out the sew/darn lever and set it to darn mode. It’s simple and straightforward. The challenge is to remember to return the lever to the sew position when you want to resume stitching.

It may be difficult to lower the feed dogs on the 221, and you may end up covering them, as most sewers do when using this machine. The feed dogs are hidden under the lever-action and are not high enough to interfere with your quilting or other activities.

Featherweight Hook Assembly

If you want your featherweight sewing machine to work properly, you must maintain the hook assembly. It can become quite filthy inside, therefore you should inspect it on a regular basis. A couple of screws must be undone to remove the hook assembly.

However, even if the screws are removed, the hook assembly may remain in place. If you remove it incorrectly, the device may be damaged, forcing you to purchase a new hook assembly. Simply clean and lubricate the parts before reinstalling them in your machine.

It should not take that long to complete the process. Before you know it, the assignment will be completed.

Singer Featherweight Foot Pedal Repair


The advantage of foot pedals is that they have minimal moving parts. As a result, mending them is a breeze. A broken or loose cable could be causing your foot pedal to malfunction. All you have to do now is either replace or tighten the loose wire.

If there is a capacitor inside and it appears to be burned, it must be replaced. Check your power cord for frays or melted patches as well. If this is the case, you may need to replace your foot pedal.

Where to Oil a Featherweight Sewing Machine

Oiling is a vital task that requires some time and attention. Every moving item that you can see needs to be oiled. To lubricate the parts, only a drop of sewing machine oil is required. You should also search for parts that move and rub against one another. Using the same amount of oil, oil those as well.

Next, search for oiling holes. They are plainly visible and can be found by simply looking at your machine. Those oiling holes take care of the unseen moving parts. Again, a little of oil will suffice to fully lubricate them. A diagram in your manual may show you exactly where those holes are. For full oiling procedures, see here.

How to Polish Singer Featherweight


Polishing your featherweight only a couple of times a year is advised. It is not necessary to do this each time you clean and lubricate the machine. The first step is to use a dry rag to wipe away the dust and debris. Next, wipe away any grease or adhesive that has gotten onto your machine with a clean rag and a little kerosene.

After that, polish the surface with a high-quality carnauba car wax. Rub the wax as if you were rubbing the exterior of your car. However, remember to do a test beforehand to ensure that the results will be as expected.

Some Final Words

Feathers are excellent machines. You should learn to do basic repairs to help them stay that way. These are simple repairs that will save you time and money.

If you take care of your featherweight, it will take care of you. Plus, it will last you a long time if you do so.

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