Know how to clean and maintain your Featherweight

Last Friday I took two classes on Featherweights and I am super glad I did. If you are lucky enough to own a Featherweight, you should know how to clean and maintain your Featherweight. Why? Because you're protecting your investment and will be able to use your machine better with more confidence. To that end,  I recently took classes at Quilter's Quest and baring a catastrophe, should never have to bring it in for repairs.

re feather 1Mine is a gorgeous Featherweight sewing machine that my husband surprised me with for Christmas a while back. He purchased one in excellent condition unlike many of the machines in class. Some had recently been found in antique stores, barns or storage facilities. All went home working!

I was proud to have such a pristine machine. Then I looked across the table and had a bit of envy. The only two showier machines were a purple one and a red one. That red one caught my eye. re feather 2

It turned out that all three of our machines came from Desk Dave's in Kentucky. The other ladies each had an additional Featherweight at home. Wait, we're allowed to own more than one? Sweet!

Because our three machines had been recently serviced and sold, none of us had any serious issues. However each of us bought something or another that we needed for our machine so the class was very useful.

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I had oil, a brush and two screwdrivers that came with my machine but they were available at minimal cost if you did not have them. We got a kit with paper towel, Q-tips and dental floss to help with the cleaning. We learned how to take off the bottom, as you can see here.

Mine was really clean, just a little work needed. We also took off the throat plate, bobbin case and needles. Replacements of those were also for feather 4

We each had a cup where we placed all the little pieces, screws and parts that we took off. I plan to follow that same plan when I next oil my machine.

We even got plastic aprons to wear to keep the oil off our clothes. I had gotten milk on my dress while eating breakfast so I was thrilled with the apron.

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We learned to take the machines apart so we could get to every spot where metal meets metal because that is where you need to oil the machine. Oil your beloved machine at every time you take it away on a retreat or use it for a project. Clean it and oil it before you put it away, that way it is always feather 7

This little gem was the machine of the US Navy and the gears were made by Chrysler back when they made quality cars. Grease is only needed once a year in these machines created in 1933 for the Century of Progress exhibit. I bought some grease and a new LED lightbulb.

Many people also purchased cords to replace anything frayed. Our teacher was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I would have never been able to replace the bulb on my own as it was tricky.

We had a lunch break after the first 3 hours. It starting pouring so we ate our food in the car and I got soaked on the way back into Quilter's Quest. Milk spot on my dress, gone! Silver lining!

The afternoon session was about attachments and the history of this machine. It was not as essential as the first part but it was more adventurous. Right after we started class nearly everyone's phones went off with a flood warning.

No big deal, right? Wrong! Right after the alerts went off water started pouring into our classroom. I've never seen anything like it!

re feather 9The entire staff immediately pitched in to mop up and used a wet dry vacuum to get up the water. My machine had been on the floor in its case but I scooped it up in time. However, class didn't stop.

Our teacher ventured on without really missing a beat. She showed us the kind of wax to get at an auto parts store. She also showed lots of books not to get and two out of print books to feather 10

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She had an amazing ability to focus and not be distracted. I, on the other hand, was completely off track. The weather and water had captured my attention.

I need a way to get my mind off the unusual circumstances. Hmmm, I was in a wet classroom located in a dry fabric store. What to do?

Yes, you guessed it, go look at fabric. But only after a few trips to the washroom. I admit it, I was not the best afternoon student.

But I was a pretty good shopper. I found two different fabrics I liked to possibly use as backs on my Halloween quilts. And guess what? They were both on sale!

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I could not believe it either. So I finished both bolts. They were 50% off! It was the only logical thing to do.

Woodridge is where the class was being held and it had been the epicenter of that afternoon's downpour. As a result, when class was finished, some of the major roads were closed due to flooding. Maybe I should have stayed longer and gotten more fabric?

Don't worry, I got home via back roads and with the help of a Kind bar I had in my purse for just such an emergency!

Sew happy!

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I also wrote a post on Featherweight facts. Read it here!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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