Featherweight Case Restore Along Part 1: Welcome to the Restoration!
by Ashley Fritsche
Welcome to Part 1 of the Featherweight Case Restore Along! Today, Annette walks us through removing the old tolex, as well as what the finished product looks like!
Earlier this year, we were overjoyed to cross paths with delightful Annette on our Singer Featherweight 221 & 222 Facebook Group, showcasing one of her beautiful Featherweight Case Restorations. We invited her to participate in a Restore Along series. She was kind enough to create a very informative journey of her restorative process. This will be so enjoyable to follow along!
Products Used in Today's Case Restoration Part 1:
- White Vinegar
- Tray for White Vinegar
- Putty Knife
- Razor Knife
- Microfiber Cloth
- Sandpaper (80 - 100 grit used for the initial sanding of the the old tolex.
220 grit sandpaper used for the second sanding to smooth the finish of the wood and any minimal remaining old tolex.)
- Woodworking glue (ex. Titebond), used for securing loose seams or joins.
Additional Fabric Requirement Information:
1 1/2 Yards Main Fabric (exterior of the case)
1/2 Yard of Coordinating Fabric (interior of the case)
1 yard TOLEX, 54" wide (for restoring case to more of an original case appearance)
Do you love Annette's fabric choices for restoring her Featherweight case? Shop the Rose & Violet's Garden by Miss Rose Sister Violet FADED ROSES SONGBIRD & PARTY BLUSH
Annette's Tip: She always purchases extra fabric since she likes to make sure she has extra for any mishaps!
Annette has been sewing since she was in grade school, and started quilting in the late 1970s. Her favorite projects are the baby quilts that she has made throughout the years, although she has not attempted the "big quilts" since they intimidate her too much!
Annette bought her first Featherweight about three years ago in 2019 and it was love at first stitch. She enjoys cleaning and performing maintenance on it too, in pursuit of that perfect seam. Some machines in her collection are more modern, but the Featherweight holds a special place in her heart.
As many Featherweight first-timers discover, an original vintage case does not always smell like roses. A couple of her Featherweight cases smelled so bad, Annette decided that a full strip down and restoration was the only solution. Since then she has honed this process, which we are now pleased to present as Annette's Featherweight Case Restore-Along!
Now, let's begin restoring our Featherweight case with Annette. Watch Part 1 of the Restore Along HERE:
Towards the end of Annette's Case Restoration, Part 1, she shows her case with the old tolex removed and wood exposed and sanded. Restoring a case may or may not require any restorative gluing, but if it does, we have included some additional photos showing how you can secure the case while the glue dries. Before sanding, inspect the case to see if the bottom wood piece is separating from the sides and check for any loose or compromised finger joints.
If needed, add glue, wipe clean, then clamp using one of the methods below. Follow glue instructions for recommended wood drying times.
Option 1 - CLAMPS:
Option 2 - MASKING TAPE:
This method is one of Burl's techniques from his former trade of cabinet making. The case will need to be good and dry for the tape to adhere and hold. After applying glue, wipe clean, then stretch masking tape over the seam or joined area and tape every couple of inches. Follow glue's recommended drying times for wood.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CASE CLASPS AND LOCKS:
We felt it was important to address this right at the beginning. Vintage case clasps (and the locks they latch into) are a very scarce commodity in the Singer Featherweight world. These particular vintage original parts only come available on our website a few times a year and they are gone within nano-seconds because of so many Featherweight owners wanting to replace the part. Regrettably, there is currently not a suitable replica that is an exact match and obtaining a manufacturer for the original design has proven very difficult. This is compounded due to the numerous clasp and lock styles that Singer incorporated into the design of the Featherweight 221 as well as the 222 case over the years. The only way, as it currently stands, to obtain replacement parts is to wait until a case is totally unsalvageable and then offer the hardware parts as they come available.
With an increase in restoring original Featherweight cases, however (whether it be to an original style appearance with tolex or completely personalized with fabric such as the demonstration in this tutorial) demand for the part will increase while supply for vintage original case clasp and latch parts will decrease. A double-edged sword to be sure, but we wanted to address this question and answer so there would be no surprises as you proceed:
Q: "Where can I get a clasp or latch for my case?"
A: We carry the clasp part here, and the case latch/lock here, but they will show as out of stock until we have a fair number to make available for sale - about two or three times a year. You can sign up for the in-stock notification and you will be notified via email as soon as one is available. That said, do not delay when that notification email arrives because they are gone before you can even say "Singer Featherweight!". Otherwise, periodically check eBay or Etsy and be on the lookout for a totally unsalvageable case.
Other Secure Case Alternatives:
While you're waiting for a clasp, you can carry the machine in its vintage original case safely using a Case Tote Bag (available in a wide selection of colors).
New, Singer Featherweight replica cases are available as well, at least until a clasp can be found for your original case.
(No, the clasps and latches are not interchangeable on the new cases with the vintage original cases.)
We are all looking forward to
CASE RESTORATION, PART 2,
coming up March 19th, 2021!
Please post photos of your progress in the comments below.