I want to buy a used machine and there are a few Singer Featherweights for sale. Will it do what I need for sewing ripstop, etc? I know a few of you on here have one, but I just want to make sure this would work ok as my only machine.
Does it use standard stuff (needles, etc) that I can just pick up at the local store?
I borrowed my neighbors plastic wally world Singer to make a few things and it is slightly annoying.
The reason they are so popular is that the quilters buy them to use as a portable machine. On one hand they will sew a lot of stuff newer machines will not handle, accessories, and information are all available. On the other they are pricey because they are so sought after.
If you are not planning on carrying it around you will find the 301 a better buy. That is the first slant needle that came out and probably the last wide range machine Singer made. It is also a full size machine. The design is a portable that can be mounted in a desk as opposed to the old desk mounted machines. After that they evolved to the plastic gears and cams used for the fancy pattern stitches.
You probably want to get a service manual and learn how to maintain your machine in either case. One can spend a lot of money paying somebody else to put in a few drops of oil and clean out a thread jam. ;-) You can learn a lot with some web browsing.
FYI, just for calibration, on Ebay $225 or so will get you a Featherweight machine that needs cleaning and attention. A 301 in the normal color will go for about half that.
Well I don't need to carry it around, but it would be nice to have something smaller as long as it could still handle something large like a tarp. I don't see any 301's for sale in my area. I'm sure I could figure out how to service it.
Here's a small portable that has zigzag, which the Featherweight doesn't. 5 lbs and on sale for $50!
The older feather weights are sweet machines. Their size is a liability if you are ham handed like me. But they are capable of doing almost anything except multiple webbing multiple ballistic nylon layers. So if you are going to want to do heavy duty sewing the motor may not be up to it.
Other than those drawbacks it is a real sweet piece. My wife has one and it is a great machine.
Lack of zig zag is no sweat and IMO the feather weight will run rings around any new $50 machine no matter who makes it.