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A History and Modern Use of the Corduroy Case Insert
by Christian Henry

If you have a Featherweight made from 1937-1940, you might find this original, rare, and practical addition to your case.  Little is known about the corduroy case insert, as we have never seen any original marketing literature, but it is probable that one of the theories below speaks to the rarity as well as how some cases got this wonderful addition.  

 

1. Perhaps the insert was simply added on a select few machine cases from the factory.  

Singer rarely made machine cases at the same factory as the machines, but it is possible that the corduroy inserts were added when the machine and case were matched and outfitted at the factory.  This would have been quite simple as the insert just screws in to the lid of a regular Type III case.

 

2. Another theory is that the corduroy inserts were an extra accessory that the customer could have requested when he or she purchased the machine from the store.  

A Singer rep could have offered the insert to the customer as an additional charge or incentive at the store, and it could have been installed at that point.


One thing that adds to the excitement and collectability of these cases is that Singer made two different corduroy insert types!  The type #1 corduroy insert of 1937-1938 can be quickly distinguished from the slightly more common type #2 corduroy insert of 1939-1940 by the orientation of the Singercraft Guide.

Type #1

 

Type #2

 
Notice how the insert above has some leftover shrink wrap in the corners? That cellophane or celluloid would have originally covered all the items in the insert.

Below, are lists of the common items with each insert:

Type #1

 

  1. Needle Packets (located behind flap)
  2. Singercraft Guide
  3. Bias Cutting Gauge 
  4. Needle Threader / Seam Ripper
  5. Tape Measure*
  6. Small Screwdriver
  7. Stiletto
  8. Scissors*
  9. Thimble
  10. Lint Brush
  11. Large Screwdriver


*These items are unique to the type #1 case insert.


There can be slight variation on the items now seen in these corduroy inserts as we have not obtained original literature from Singer showing a complete original set.  The items shown in this listing are consistent with items we have seen with these inserts for many years.

 

Type #2

  1. Stilleto
  2. Needle Packets (located behind flap)
  3. Lint Brush
  4. Needle Threader / Seam Ripper
  5. Seam Guide
  6. Bias Cutting Gauge 
  7. Thimble
  8. Singercraft Guide
  9. Large Screwdriver
  10. Small Screwdriver
There can be slight variation on the items now seen in these corduroy inserts as we have not obtained original literature from Singer showing a complete original set.  The items shown in this listing are consistent with items we have seen with these inserts for many years.

Unfortunately, many of these inserts are empty after 80+ years of use.  If you have one that is missing all or even just a couple items, we might have some original parts in stock for you to fill it as complete.  (Click on the links above to the part that you are missing to see if we have any in stock.)  You can also have fun filling the insert with things that might not be original, yet would be more practical for quilting.

Below is a type #1 corduroy insert filled with new sewing and maintenance items.

 

  1. Schmetz Needle Packets (located behind flap)
  2. Quilter's Magic Wand
  3. Micro Cleaning Swabs
  4. Rubber Honing Stick
  5. Thread Snips
  6. Port Cleaning Tools
  7. Thread Post
  8. Seam Ripper / Thread Remover
  9. Scant 1/4" Foot
  10. Small Screwdriver


Below is a type #2 corduroy insert filled with new sewing and servicing items.

 

  1. Mini Tweezers
  2. Bobbin Tension Meter (located behind flap)
  3. Patchwork 1/4" Foot
  4. Seam Ripper / Thread Remover
  5. Thread-O-Stats
  6. Thread Snips
  7. Creative Grids 9" Seam Guide Tool
  8. FW Shop Nail File
  9. Micro Cleaning Swabs

When the corduroy inserts are empty, the black corduroy can blend in with the top of the case.  Make sure and double check the Type III case with your machine to see if you have one of these rare inserts!

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