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The White Featherweight 221K

Produced from the mid to late 1960's in Kilbowie Scotland, this machine was something fresh and new to the Singer Featherweight market. The official Singer color was called "Pale Turquoise", but the machine was often times more white or pale green in appearance depending on the casting light. For ease of reference, naming it the White Featherweight has become common place and known throughout the world. So, whether you hear of a pale or celery green, pale turquoise or white Featherweight, they are all in reference to this same model machine.  With its interior toothed belt, it was considered in its day to be a high-tech upgrade to the standard black model. If the interior belt ever needed to be replaced, however, it would have to be done at the factory. In all the years of servicing Featherweights, we have only ever had one white machine that had a worn out belt. That machine was so well worn and cosmetically abused, it appeared to have been used in a factory.

The White Featherweight is minimally lighter and quieter than a black model. Relatively few white machines were made adding to their desirability and collectibility today.

Below you will see some of the distinctions that make the White Featherweight unique from the standard black 221.



The machine has no gold decals and the bed extension is shorter. Black painted lettering are limited to the light housing and the back arm of the machine.


Bed extension is pressed on with pins and does not have screws that keep it in place.

The bottom tray is a masonite board and is held on with a small screw.
It was not designed to include a felt drip pad.

The black and tan Featherweights (shown below) have a drive-shaft with gears at the top and bottom. These connect the arm shaft on the top and the rotating hook shaft on the bottom, transferring power between them and keeping the machine in time. The White Featherweight, on the other hand, uses a belt to connect these two shafts. See the top of the belt, located under the spool pin coverplate, in the photo above.  The White Featherweight will not need greased here.  In fact, you want to avoid getting any oil or grease on the internal drive belt, being careful both under the spool pin coverplate as well as underneath the machine on a white Singer Featherweight.  Grease is only necessary on a white Singer Featherweight if the motor has motor ports (some do, some don't).

See the difference here? This black Featherweight (same for the tan Featherweight) has a metal drive-shaft and gears at the top underneath the spool pin coverplate and at the bottom underneath the bottom tray.

Underneath the White Featherweight, you can see where the belt continues down and connects to the rotating hook shaft. Looks quite a bit different than the black and tan Featherweights, doesn't it?  Do not get any oil or grease on the internal black belt on a white Featherweight.

The presser bar spring sits outside of the presser bar on a White Featherweight, whereas this spring is placed inside the presser bar on black and tan Featherweights and is accessed by unscrewing the screw on the top of the machine. The two styles are not interchangeable, but they serve identical purposes, maintaining pressure on the presser foot.

Electrical Cord and Foot Controller are hard-wired into the machine whereas on the black and tan Featherweights the cord is plugged into the machine as a separate unit.

White Featherweights often have what is called a "Clam Shell" Foot Controller. Some of the earliest White models were suited with the typical bakelite Foot Controller, however (shown in the photo below).

Bobbin Winding Thread Placement Bracket - tension for the thread is not adjustable here, whereas it was adjustable on the older black and tan Featherweights.
how to thread a white singer featherweight bobbin winder tension unit
In the photo above you will see the correct method for threading the bobbin winder tension unit.  While the tension cannot be adjusted specifically, you can still adjust the direction of the flow of the thread to the bobbin winding by sliding the bracket from right to left, as needed.  (Here's a tutorial showing how to do that.)

The earliest White Featherweights had motor ports, just like the black and tan Featherweights. Motors with motor ports require routine motor lubrication (not oil!), about once or twice per year.

Most White Featherweights, however, have motors that do not require motor lubricant because the motors are sealed with no motor ports (see photo above).  Therefore, SEW-RETRO Grease is only necessary on a white Singer Featherweight if the motor has motor ports (some do, some don't).
Bed Cushions on the bottom of the White machines were smaller than the ones issued on all black and tan Featherweights. Replacement bed cushions for black and tan Featherweights are readily accessible and we carry them in the shop. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the same part on the White ones.  Your best option is to find rubber bumpers or gaskets in the plumbing department at any hardware store - just be sure to replace them all at the same time for a balanced machine.

The Thread Cutter on a White Featherweight is cut into the presser bar. This is a rather nice feature because the thread cutters issued with all the black ones were often in the way with various attachments, and they did not always cut very well.

Cases varied greatly from the original black  case (for black Featherweights) to the newer two-tone colored cases. White Featherweights had four styles of cases. The most common in the USA is the green and white case. In the UK and abroad you would be more likely to find the two-tone blue case. The last two are very scarce to find and were typically found in Canada. These cases were a softer-sided vinyl case in greyish-blue or red.

A green and ivory Featherweight case had two types of outer coverings. One had a covering that was similar to paper, and the other was cloth-like. An insert tray was not included and a lockable case may or may not have been added as a feature. A nice-condition White Featherweight case can be difficult to find because they were not made as well as the original black Featherweight cases. The outer coverings did not weather dings or bumps and the lighter color shows stains and scuffs.

The two-tone blue cases were found in the United Kingdom. Again, these did not have an insert tray like the black cases.

This particular case had a very pretty light purple houndstooth

paper lining.

A softer sided vinyl case, usually found in Canada, was available in two colors. The bluish-grey (above) and bold red (below.

This photo was found on the internet but we were not able to locate the owner of the photograph to give proper attribution. If this is your machine or if you know whose machine this is, please contact us so that we may give proper credit. Your machine is now famous! That red vinyl case is a rarity!
A fellow Featherweight owner emailed us her personal photos of her red vinyl cased White Featherweight.  We thought you'd enjoy seeing more details:
Red Vinyl Singer Featherweight Case - White Featherweight 221K
These photos are courtesy of Elizabeth B.
Thanks, Betty!
Don't you just love that RED!
Red Vinyl Singer Featherweight Case - White Featherweight 221K

As you can see there were many differences between the black Featherweights and the White ones. In spite of all these minor cosmetic and mechanical differences, the machine still classified as a 221 model machine. Stitch formation and lightweight portability continued to keep it in a class all by itself.