The Singer Model 221 “Featherweight” Sewing Machine
Question Of The Week
Hello and welcome to this week’s Question of the Week!
HI: BEFORE I get started this week I want to say THANK YOU! for all the great Emails of encouragement Leo and I have been getting from you Fine People. I personally want to Thank Leo for all the Time and Effort he has spent to get this web site up and running and all the Beautiful 221's he has created. I personally own a 1935 AD SERIES that Leo has rebuilt, and it is simply breathtaking to look at a 75 year old 221 that is showroom new and perfect in every detail. If you are looking for a true heirloom that can be passed on and on, I don't think you could go wrong with a 221 FEATHERWEIGHT...IF you think they are popular today, I can't imagine what they will sell for when they hit Antique status at 100?
SINGERCRAFT was a pattern designing part of SINGER sometime in the early 1900s. Today an old SINGERCRAFT pattern is almost impossible to find. Sometime in 1929 Singercraft came out with a neat little tool it was called a SINGERCRAFT GUIDE NO. 1, part number 120936. This guide was very popular for making Fringe and Lace on everything from pillows to clothing. IT had TWO Problems. 1) It had a Sliding ball-do-dad that kept falling off and getting lost. 2) The LOOPS in the Fringe had to be cut with Scissors. SO! SINGER fixed the problem by ADDING a razor blade at the end and adding a Latch that could be open and closed. This was then named a SINGERCRAFT GUIDE # 2 and the Part number was changed to 120987. SINGER also added Two Extensions so the Fringes could be made longer. They were Part number 120988 and 120989 for the larger one...I have NEVER seen a SINGERCRAFT GUIDE with a Price on it or any mention there of. MY GUESS! If you bought a machine, rented a machine, bought a Pattern or if your Great Grand Mother was real good looking, you could get a Free SINGERCRAFT GUIDE.
WITH SINGER always thinking of new marketing ideas, along comes the 1933 and 1934 CHICAGO WORLDS FAIR. AGAIN the SINGERGRAFT GUIDE was changed and turned into an Advertising tool that is probably still selling Singers today. The Chicago Worlds Fair lasted from MAY-27 to NOVEMBER-12-1933. It reopened again from MAY-26-to OCTOBER-31-1934. There were still plenty of people with money in Chicago even in this depression era, so even today the 1933 and 1934 SINGERCRAFT GUIDES can still be found.
THE Next was the 1936 TEXAS CENTENNIAL. THIS was a different matter as it was only held for six month's, from JUNE-6 through NOVEMBER-29-1936. This was the First Worlds Fair held below the Mason-Dixon Line. Even though the turn out was in the millions, it was also during the worst of the depression, and Texans were hanging onto their quarters. I will tell you now, if you try finding a 1936 TEXAS SINGERCRAFT GUIDE, well you might have a better chance of being hit twice by lightening.
IN 1939 with the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco hosted the GOLDEN GATE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION. This was from FEBRUARY-18 through OCTOBER-29-1939 and again from MAY-25 through SEPTEMBER-29-1940. Again SINGER was there with a great little advertising tool. Since this also lasted a whole year, there seems to be quite a few of the 1939 GOLDEN GATE Singercraft guides around. Still you have to keep a sharp eye out for them....
THE SINGERCRAFT GUIDES must have been very popular, because in 1935 SINGER built a tool kit into the lids of SOME of the 221 Cases, These we call the TYPE1 CORDUROY ORGANIZER Case. Then Singer did it again for SOME of the 1939 221 Cases, These we call the TYPE 2 CORDUROY ORGANIZER Case. (SEE THE DECEMBER 2009 QOW UNDER CASES).
IN the war years between 1941 and 1945 Singer had another SINGERCRAFT GUIDE; this one we all know as the BLACKSIDE. This is the one we show our kids and explain a little history to them, So that it isn't looked at as just a Black SINGERCRAFT GUIDE....
IN 1951 SINGER had their CENTINNIAL YEAR 1851~1951, and no better time to do a little advertising with yet another. And this time, a Full Color SINGERCRAFT GUIDE. Don't know if Singer was stingy or no one was into sewing? But again trying to find an 1851~1951 SINGERGRAFT GUIDE these days is becoming harder and harder to find. My theory also is there is such a large amount of Singer Collectors, The SINGERCRAFT GUIDES go into a collection, and it is many years before they show back up on the market.
You have now seen my SINGERCRAFT COLLECTION and the many different boxes they came in. THAT’S my story and I'm sticking with it...............
PLEASE NOTE: LEO and I are just plain old collectors like you good people. If you see a mistake or have some info you would like to add, Please let us hear from you...LEO and I are working on a story, coming in the near future. IF any of you have a 221 Named TIGER? We're going to tell you where TIGER got his stripes...THANK YOU GOD BLESS and before you go, take a look at some of LEO'S Machines. The guy is a True Master with an Air Brush.......................
Here are a few more photos contributed by our friend and fellow Featherweight collector "J.C." He has a Bulgarian Singercraft guide as well as the original rug design template from the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair Singercraft Guide.
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Contact me at: Leo@TheFeatherweight221Factory.com