I run for …

Vintage Sewing Machines!  

I didn’t know I did, but it has been proven that I do.

Ever since I was given Ilona and Maria, I’ve been bitten by the “VSM bug”.  (It’s all my Mom’s fault!!!)  I’ve been browsing “for sale” sites on line and learning as much as I can about various Vintage Sewing Machines.  So far, my favourite is the Singer 500, the “Rocketeer”.

The “Rocketeer”.  The most unusual and complicated sewing machine I have ever seen!

The Rocketeer is a slant shank, steel gear driven sewing machine made between 1960 and 1963.  It has a horizontal rotary hook (drop in class 66 bobbin) and besides doing a lock stitch, reverse, and zigzag, it has 25 built in stitches, 5 Special Disks (top hat cams) included, plus 12 more that can be purchased separately.

Recently, I found a Rocketeer for sale on line, locally.  I emailed the seller a few questions and he replied.  I emailed him again that I could come look and buy his Rocketeer in two days.  He never replied.  I emailed him again the next day… it was like waiting for the birth of a baby!  The seller finally replied that he had already sold it to someone else just that day.  Humph!

So  back I went to my on line search for My Rocketeer.  Every day during lunch hour at work, I checked all the listings.  One day, instead of a Rocketeer, I saw an ad from WIN (Women in Need Community Cooperative) for a Singer Featherweight 221!  Now I do like the Featherweight but there is no way I am paying the usual price of $250 (Canadian) and up for one.  From the ad and the many photos, I cold see that it was a beautiful VSM, in great condition, and also less than the usual price, much less.

Oh just do it!  So I phoned WIN and said I would like to buy it.  Sorry, they told me, FIVE people have phoned already about it today so it’s “first come, first served”.  Eeek!  That’s ok, I stayed calm, I would go to WIN after work.

A minute later I was running out the office door – I’ll be back – and down the sidewalks at a good gallop in my dressy shoes, stopping only at the red lights at the intersections.  I got into the store and asked for My Featherweight and was told – Oh, it’s popular!  A lady just phoned!  (Ya that was me…)  The Sales Associate offered to pull My Featherweight out and set it up for me to try, but once she opened the cute little case and I could see inside, I blurted out “I’ll take it!”

And so, out I walked with it… sort of hand in hand… lugging this 20 pound machine back to the office to sit proudly right beside me in its case – me with a silly grin on my face.

It’s certainly not very big – 8″ d x 10″ h x 14″ w
Featherweight, buttonholer, extra feet and manual.  There is a scuff on the back of the case, but no damage, so apparently a dab of black shoe polish can hide that.
It’s amazing how everything fits into the case so neatly.

My Singer Featherweight model 221-1 is called “Winnie”.  Winnie is a low shank sewing machine, with a serial number dating her as made February 29, 1952 in Clydebank, Scotland.  She has a vertical rotary hook and a class 221/301 bobbin.  She does a lock stitch and can reverse.

Needless to say, when I bought her home she ran just perfectly (my husband was even impressed) and she looked even more lovely.  Who needs “AFTER” shots when you have such lovely “BEFORE” shots!

My 64 year old baby!




There’s a bit of grime in the cracks and corners so I will give her a rub down with some Sewing Machine Oil to clean her up.
I’ll clean and oil all the moving parts with Sewing Machine Oil.
The decals are in pretty good shape.
There is a rainbow shine on this VSM.  Winnie was well loved and taken care of by her previous Caretaker.
Badge, Stitch Regulator lever, and Bobbin Winding Assembly all clean.
Balance Wheel and Stop Motion Screw with a refective shine.
The motor in back and the fold up bed.
Easy access oiling points.


I read a terrible story where Featherweight owners were always advised to take their bobbin casings with them when they leave their Featherweights unattended in sewing class, as other sewists might walk off with this easy to remove/expensive part.  *SHAME*
The buttonholer with templates.
Various feet, a couple of extra bobbins, the bobbin casing, and something I haven’t seen before… an original Vintage Singer Screwdriver!
Original manual, Singer Motor Lubricant, etc.

I don’t think this is the end yet.  I’m going to continue browsing “for sale” sites – My  Singer 500 “Rocketeer” is out there somewhere.  Fate or Karma or Luck or Whatever will eventually lead me to her.  In the meantime, it’s back to sewing and blogging and cleaning VSM’s and all the fun stuff.

Oh yes, and perhaps some more time on my treadmill so that I can out-run everyone else when those “deals you can’t refuse” pop up!

Have you ever had a ridiculously silly love/obsession with a sewing machine or a sewing machine tool – or is it just me?

Happy Sewing Everyone!


33 thoughts on “I run for …

  1. I recognise how you think about your “new” VSM! I love my Mums old hand Singer and recently had it serviced, it still ticks away when you sew. I think I sewed many miles on the same machine in my teens! Hope you have success with the Rocketeer, I have never seen one before!

    1. They make such a different sound than the newer “plastic” ones, don’t they! Yes, the Rocketeer is rare. But I am patient … and I know how to RUN!

  2. Haha! I do love seeing people enjoy their new sewing addictions.
    Your new machine is a beauty and I would love to know how it travelled from Scotland to Canada. Clydebank being famous for shipbuilding and other metal working…how interesting..but now I’m wondering if there was a Singer factory there. I’ll ask my dad. Glasgow was always more industrial and factory orientated compared to Edinburgh.
    As for the Rocketeer, it has a fantastic space age look! I’m sure you will get one at some point. Enjoy!

    1. Yes! The Singer web site talks of factories in Scotland and in Germany – they were everywhere, I think, a long time ago.

  3. I am right there with you! I love vintage sewing machines. And they seem to sew much better then the new plastic models!

    1. I agree! My son was complaining about the loud vibration that was coming from my NOT VSM. The VSM had a nice rhythm to it.

  4. I learnt to sew on one like that. Lovely machine.

  5. As I was reading this story I thought, oh no, she’s not going to get there in time and then you did and you bought it and we had a happy ending. Now all that’s left is finding the elusive Rocketeer. I REALLY REALLY like that machine!

    1. It was a Happy Ending! Yes the Rocketeer is a tough one to find, but so cool!

  6. I haven’t posted in a while…
    but when I do I have not one but two (!) new (vintage) machines!!
    I spent 4 months looking for a 401a (but I would’ve loved a rocketeer)… I finally found one (two hours away) drove to get it, spent a good thirty minutes trying to shove the sewing machine + desk in a small hyundai elantra… And of course that very same week a rocketeer shows up at value village (of all places!) for half the price of my 401a! Of course I couldn’t help myself, I purchased it!

    Your new featherweight looks like it’s in beautiful condition! The prices for these machines are getting out of hand though! I’ve seen some ads for machines that look like they’ve spent 50+ years out in a barn asking for five hundred dollars!

    1. I am dying to see your machines. After you have used it you will have to tell me how your Rocketeer is doing. Isn’t it terrible what we will do to get THAT machine! Your story is fabulous! Featherweights are selling at a ridiculous price – I wasn’t at all interested until I found one at the price that I could justify. I never knew how mechanical I was until I got into the Sewing Machine Oil! Enjoy your new machines!

  7. What a score! Enjoy using your lovely new machine.`

  8. My husband bought me a Featherweight and I adore it. Have you seen Nova Montgomery’s site? (http://www.novamontgomery.com), she sells the correct oil for it when you need it, plus has loads of hints about repairs and cleaning – not that yours needs any of that! Oh happy sewing!! PS I completely understand you wanting a Rocket – – now I want one too!!

    1. Yes I have seen her site. It is loaded with information. I don’t know how I would survive without the helpful people I have found on the internet. Well, hopefully our wait for a Rocketeer won’t be a long one!!

  9. I love your featherweight! It was so worth running down the street in dressy shoes for! The decals are awesome and the shape is so cute! I just know you will snag the elusive Rocketeer soon…fingers crossed:)

    1. Thank you! I tell you, you will probably hear me screaming from there if I do get one!

  10. I love the look of the Rocketeer, it reminds me of the Jetsons (showing my age aren’t I). It is a very unique looking machine. I agree with you guys, the old machines are far more stable and don’t bounce around when you try to sew with them.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better!

  11. I am in awe of the workmanship and the little decorative details of this vintage machine. Your photo 11 where you mention the rainbow colours, that would be an amazing photo of that sewing machine to illustrate. I really enjoyed this post and I totally understand your excitement to get the vintage sewing machine.

    1. It is impressive, isn’t it? It’s even more impressive when you plug it in and it sews like the dickens!

  12. The Rocketeer is an amazing shape – hope you find one.
    The Featherweight looks lovely – I once saw one in a charity shop window as I was waiting for my bus. The bus came within a minute & I went home without it. Needless to say, it wasn’t there the next morning….

    1. These fancy machines just have to be found by accident sometimes, I think!

  13. Love your adventures. I bought a Singer Featherweight about 10 years ago.. $400 (cdn) in pristine condition. From the serial number it sounds like your model. Alas I never used it for quilting classes. Now I hope to sell it. Hope you find the Rocketeer.

    1. Well I don’t think you will have trouble selling it. I’ve seen just a few out there for sale and five people had phoned in asking about the one I bought! Good luck!

  14. Lucky you! Well run. I too have confessions to show on my blog when I get sorted. The Management is happier with my old sewing machine addiction now he knows I have no intention of replacing my ridiculously expensive Pfaff with another modern machine. Why would I want to?

    1. We would love to see your “confessions” when they/you are ready! I hear Pfaff makes good machines. I too am satisfied with my modern Janome – it is a great machine. These vintage machines just seem to have more character, or perhaps it is the history, I love.

  15. What a passion! You should indeed have a t-shirt made with this blogpost title on it…oh wait…you should make the t-shirt on Winnie! I can picture you at the finish line of a marathon with that t-shirt on…

    1. I know … a little bit selfish of me considering all the real charities out there. But it was truly “me running for a sewing machine!!” 🙂

  16. Beauties! I am totally obsessed with vintage machine also!

    1. They are lovely! I am new at this. My mother gave me her VSM and my aunt’s, in the summer. They are blogged about here too. Ever since, I have been reading up on them, and now hunting down my favourites.

    2. I found your blog and have followed by email. 😃👍

Comments are closed.

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close