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schoolhouse | troubleshooting

Motor Lubricant and the Proper Melting Point for Sewing Machine Motors

Are you using the right motor grease and lubricant for your Singer Featherweight?  There are old, original tubes, new tubes and even some new kinds on the market... but are they properly suited for the Singer Featherweight?  How would you know?  Watch the video tutorial above and our old one below from 2015 or scroll down to read through Carmon Henry's 1st video tutorial in text format.   PART 1 from 2015, showing other grease comparisons above. *We have now updated our Featherweight Shop Motor & Gear Lubricant video tutorial with a "Part 2" to reflect the new SEW-RETRO GreaseTM brand!...


Adjusting the Belt

Is your Featherweight a bit sluggish or does the belt slip when you sew? This quick tip for how to adjust the belt will help you remedy the problem in no time at all. The first thing you will want to do is remove the spool of thread as well as the bobbin case from the machine. Next, using a long screwdriver, loosen the screw on the motor bracket as shown in the photos below: With the belt on the motor pulley and the handwheel, depress the foot controller to full power and raise and lower the motor until the...


The Importance of a Thread Stand on a Singer Featherweight

Learn about the various types of thread spools and why a Thread Stand is important for proper tension on a Singer Featherweight!   In the original days of the Featherweight, the only thread spools available were the wooden "stacked" spools, designed to spin as the thread was gently pulled straight in the direction of the first thread guide on the machine.   Today's new, modern cross-wound thread spools, however, are specifically designed to have the thread "lift" off to eliminate extra tension as the thread is directed toward the needle. Having these heavier-weighted cross-wound spools (while great for the quilt project)...


Is Your Machine Jammed?

If your Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine is jammed and the handwheel won’t turn, chances are you have thread caught behind the bobbin case base assembly.  This video tutorial will teach you how to remove the culprit thread and remedy the problem.  You’ll be back to sewing in no time at all.


How to Fix a Floppy Bed Extension

For today’s hint, we will be discussing a floppy Featherweight bed.  This remedy is quick and easy and will keep your bed from flopping down too fast. (Note: This only applies to black and tan Featherweight Machines.  Singer cut a few manufacturing corners when they made the White Featherweights and how the bed attaches to the machine base was one of them.  Instead of screws, they used pins.  Thus, it makes it more difficult to adjust the bed’s position.) So, how do you fix that floppy bed?  Removing the screw from your machine bed, reposition the flat washer and cupped...


Featherweight Needle Direction

NFL – not the National Football League, but that does work as a good reminder. Needle Flat Left While today’s tip might seem elementary to some, it is the most common culprit to a Featherweight that has suddenly stopped sewing correctly. We get numerous calls from frustrated quilters who snapped a needle only to find that after replacing the needle that the machine no longer stitches properly. The simple answer is usually that the new needle was installed incorrectly. So here is a helpful reminder as well as photos of the correct needle installment. Needle Flat Left – When sitting...


Featherweight Timing (and how to replace the Gib Hook)

In this video tutorial, Carmon Henry gives the step-by-step process for how to set the hook timing on a Singer Featherweight.  Timing is almost never an issue on a Singer Featherweight 221 or 222.  What that means is -- that it is virtually impossible for a Featherweight to get out of time just from normal, everyday use.  This only happens if someone has disassembled, changed or wanted to adjust any of the assembly rotations or shaft positions, even by accident. This tutorial includes removal of the entire hook assembly as well as reassembly and timing of the sewing machine hook....


How to Fix a Stuck Hook Assembly

After removing the hook assembly screws on a Singer Featherweight 221 sometimes the assembly will still remain stuck on the shaft. This quick tip will help you remove it easily without damage to your machine or that expensive original part... just be sure to watch all the way to the end of the video for complete instructions and explanation.  


How to Adjust the Handwheel

If your Singer Featherweight 221 or 222K has a needle that won't stop going up and down and still moves when winding a bobbin, then most likely your handwheel needs an adjustment inside. This easy to follow video tutorial not only shows you how to fix the annoying problem but explains the process of how your stop-back-motion knob works.  Wind a bobbin with no needle movement, once again.     


How to Adjust the Stitch Length Lever

Yesterday, there was a question on our Facebook group about the stitch length lever (or sometimes called the "stitch length regulator") and so this video tutorial was made to help answer that question as well as addressing a couple other things, too. I will show you what to do if the lever is too loose and rotates around or if it is too stiff and difficult to raise for reverse and lower to adjust the stitch length. There are a couple of places to oil once you get it adjusted and with this tutorial, you will learn where those spots...


How Thread Affects Maintenance, Tension & Bobbin Tension

Hello everyone, Carmon here. There has been a lot of discussion about thread brands the last couple of days on our Singer Featherweight 221 & 222K Sewing Machines Facebook group so I thought I would weigh in. As a teacher of Featherweight Maintenance Classes and Workshops, and the owner of The Featherweight Shop, it is a general assumption that I should be able to get your machine sewing properly, regardless of what thread you choose to use. This is a fair assumption. I was on the phone today with Dave and Sharon McCallum, who are dear friends of mine. My...


How To Properly Set the Needle (Getting To Know Your Featherweight, Part 3)

How To Properly Set The Needle Part 3 of the Getting To Know Your Singer Featherweight 221 series will show you how to properly set your Singer Featherweight needle.  This tutorial by Ruthie will be especially helpful if you notice your machine having skipped stitches or even if your bobbin thread won't pick up easily.  Be sure to watch the video all the way to the end because she includes a couple of troubleshooting tips for you, too! To begin to set the needle properly on a Singer Featherweight 221, you will need to turn the handwheel towards you to...


The Giant Schmetz Needle Tutorial

Using a giant needle as an example in the video far below, you will learn the various parts of a needle, as well as the importance of having a smoothly finished eye. One of our favorite needles to recommend is a Microtex Schmetz.  They're sharp and they pierce exactly at the point of fabric entry, allowing you to be as accurate as possible with your piecing.  While the Universal needle is great for everyday sewing, the stitch is less than perfect on a high-thread-count, fine cotton.  It is neither sharp nor ball point and has a tendency to pierce the...


Troubleshooting Stitch Problems (Skipped Stitches, Thread Looping, etc.)

This is Singer Featherweight Stitch Formation 101!  If your Singer Featherweight is skipping stitches, not stitching at all, won't pick up the bobbin thread or perhaps the thread is looping or causing an awful thread mess on the underside of your fabric, then this video tutorial will show you the easy tips for what you can do to fix it and save you a trip to the service technician. If your machine is actually jammed, the handwheel won't turn and the needle will not go up and down, then see our other tutorial on the Featherweight Schoolhouse for How To...


Capacitors - Why Did My Featherweight Start Sewing All of the Sudden?

Many Featherweight owners have asked, "what are these silver cylinders inside my foot controller?"  For several of the Featherweights manufactured in the UK, capacitors were added inside the foot controller, motor, or the machine itself.  The purpose of capacitors was to cut down on electrical feedback with old TVs and radios.  We no longer have this problem with present-day electricity, and nowadays the capacitors end up being quite the nuisance, if not potentially dangerous.  We often get contacted by frightened customers exclaiming that their machine just started sewing all of the sudden without the foot controller being depressed at all.  The cause?  Those capacitors! ...


How to Easily Remove the Handwheel Collar Bushing

If thread or debris gets pulled behind the handwheel, it can lodge around the shaft behind the handwheel collar / bushing.  This can greatly slow down your Featherweight by causing undue stress on the motor.  The handwheel collar is actually pretty difficult to remove and damage often occurs when doing so with improper tools.  Following the video tutorial below, Carmon will show you how to easily remove the handwheel collar bushing as well as show you our newest tool to help you do so. Tools needed: Long Wera Maintenance Screwdriver Handwheel Collar Puller / Remover 6mm Allen Wrench from any...


How to Smooth a Burr or Rust Spot on Hook Assembly, Tension Disks, etc.

Watch Video Tutorial below . . . Is your machine skipping stitches and you've tried every possible troubleshooting suggestion?  Do you feel a small burr on your machine's hook assembly or see a rusty corroded spot or two on the tension disks?  Well, this simple but useful tool is one of our Featherweight Shop secrets and a necessity for any sewing machine maintenance and service kit.  The Rubber Honing Stick is a tool is used for cleaning rust and burrs off parts like the Featherweight hook assembly, the bobbin case, and the tension discs.  The rubber honing stick will allow...