How to Identify a Sears Featherweight Sewing Machine : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

This is a follow-up to a posting within the past two weeks. I went to an estate auction today (my typical Saturday routine). They sold a Sears portable sewing machine. White, didn't weight much, looked like it could do over a dozen stitches. In excellent condition, but no user's manual. Could find the model number, but nothing on it said Featherweight. How do you specifically identify a Featherweight? By the way, the machine sold for $65.

Did come home with a really, really nice bedroom suite. Brass bed, with high-quality mattress/box springs and two large dressers. Just about like new. Paid $300, will try to resell for $750. Might have bought more but I only took my trailer made from an old pickup bed. If it looks like an auction with really good potential I sometimes take my 18' cattle trailer. Try manuvering that is a suburban neighborhood. However, it does serve as rather nice storage until room is available in the consignment shop I use.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, September 30, 2000


Ken, there probably is some way to tell definitively, but I don't know what it is. I learned to sew on a Featherweight (and I get it when mom either can't use it anymore or passes on), so would know one anywhere, except for the more "exotic" and rare versions. I know that there was a white/beige colored version, but I've only seen pictures of it.

The Featherweight is a small, lightweight machine (hence the name). Mom lives quite a ways away, so I can't measure it, but I think it's probably no more than about 12" long, 16" with the extension folded out. If you search the web, you will find lots of sites, but I've found that often the sharpest, most detailed photos are on EBay. Here is the URL for one that will be on auction until October 10th -- take a look: ViewItem&item=454815208

I've also found that you can learn a lot about various old appliances by searching EBay for them, then go to every site and see what they have! If I find a really good website with great pictures, and the history of the machines, I'll post it. The Featherweights are very well known and very much in demand, so I don't know if you will find any bargains or not. Good luck!

-- Joy Froelich (, September 30, 2000.

Thank you. The machine I saw looks nothing like the one on the eBay auction. That one looks more like a threadle sewing machine on which a motor has been mounted.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, September 30, 2000.

Sears did not make featherweights. Only Singer did. What you saw was a Sears portable sewing machine, didn't weigh much because it is probably mostly plastic. Not worth much, but it might be a handy little machine to someone in need. Even tho Singer featherweights are all metal, they are lightweight because they are very small. They almost look like a 'toy' machine. They have a Singer insignia on the front. All machines have identifying model & serial numbers on them. Hope this helps clear up your questions.

-- Jane Gauch (, October 01, 2000.

On reflection I am about 99% sure it was a Singer, not a Sears. I misspoke. From eBay I now know what to look out for, although in probably well over 100 estate auctions I don't recall seeing any.

Are they a collectable item or are they still practical for sewing?

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, October 01, 2000.

I think maybe both, Ken, but the collectibles would only be the ones in "mint" condition, or very rare. The Featherweights are prized by quilters for their sewing ability -- apparently they sew the straightest. I just know that they are EASY to sew on. The cases frequently are in really bad shape, so a good case will increase the price. Of course, accessories add to their value. I'm not sure what all they came with. Mom's has various feet, plus an attachment for making buttonholes (the Featherweights sew only straight stitching). It has templates for the size buttonhole that you want to make, and it literally switches the fabric from side to side to make the buttonholes. If I were looking for a Featherweight, I'd want it to have a buttonholer! From reading some of the sites, I have discovered that there is also an attachment that is for zig-zag sewing, probably like the buttonholer, except it keeps on going ahead instead of round and round. Also discovered that the original oil cans are VERY scarce and can be resold for a lot, so if you see a Singer oil can, grab it. Email me if you want my list of Featherweight sites that I bookmarked.

I saw that "Sears" part and then totally forgot to mention that Singer made the Featherweight! Sorry, glad Jane caught it!

-- Joy Froelich (, October 02, 2000.

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