The Singer Featherweight 222K – Simply a Sewing Sensation

Featherweight 222K

Here is my beautiful (newly acquired!) 222K Featherweight. Featherweights (221, 222K’s) are often described as the “perfect portable” sewing machine due to their light weight aluminium build.

Can you see how this full size 66K hand-cranked Singer weights in at a whopping 32.2Ibs?

Singer 66 weight

A 3/4 sized 99K Singer weighs (click here to read more about Suzy!) 20.8Ibs.

Singer 99K weight

What a sewing sensation the Featherweight’s must have been, a 222K weighing just 12Ibs!!!! No wonder she has a reputation of portable perfection!

Featherweight 222K weight

The next photo shows all 3 side by side so you can compare their sizes. The hinged bed featherweight extension gives a great sewing area, but yet allows you to fold it neatly away to fit into its carry case which is about the size of an old vinyl record carry case.

comparing singer 66 99 222K with flat bed loweredComparing Singer 66 99 222K sewing machine size

The black carry case of the 222K is on the right next to a red vintage LP vinyl case.

featherweight 222k vs LP vinyl case

Singer 222K Red S with sew darn leverThe model number on a Featherweight also gives you a clue on where it was produced, those carrying the “K” ie, 222K – like my beauty – were made at the Kilbowie Plant in Scotland.

I also love how the serial number plate (which you find underneath the later Featherweight’s) allows you to find out the year of production.  My 222K is a 1960’s edition and carries a Red S on the front as it’s one of the last models to run off the production line.

The 2 main difference between the 222K and the 221 models are:

  • The 222K enables you to drop the dog feeds for free hand embroidery and darning – I was really lucky that my 222K came with the original embroidery hoop, foot and various other attachments.  The sew / darn lever can be seen in the picture above.

Singer Embroidery Hoop and Darning FootSinger Featherweight attachements

  • The 222K has a detachable sewing plate so you can “free-arm” sew on the tubular bed.

Featherweight 222K with detachable bed removed

Featherweights are so quiet to use, they almost purr.

Although Featherweights only sew straight stitches, zigzag attachment’s were available to buy  – I’ve yet to try this one out!

YS Star Zig Zag Attachment

Featherweight foot controller and connectorThe majority of the black Featherweights have a bakelite foot pedal which is a different shape from more modern wedge controllers.

You press the square block on the left to make the motor work.

I would love to know what the block on the right hand side if for – does anyone know?

Update: One lovely reader has just emailed me to say The block on the right of the foot controller is to rest the sole of your foot on so that the controller button is operated by rocking your foot from side to side – thanks Judy!

The main flaw on my 222K seems to be a chipped foot controlled plug.

As a spare flat pin plug is pretty hard to find I’m probably going to change the socket connectors over to a round pin versions.

Round and Flat 3 Pin Connectors on Featherweights

Thanks to Judy at Singer Sewing Info who has kindly explained how I can do this – her website is a wealth of information – pop over and take a look.

If you would like any more information on Singer Featherweights you may also want to check out Singer-featherweight.

And if you are keen to find out more on Antique sewing machines Sewalot is definitely worth a look.


33 thoughts on “The Singer Featherweight 222K – Simply a Sewing Sensation

  1. I just found this post! It’s so perfect. I was just trying to explain the differences in sizes, but you already did the work. 😂 Great shots. I really appreciate the scale shots too.

  2. I can’t make my 222k do free motion properly. The top tension is far too loose as I can’t put the presser foot down with the darning foot in place. Any suggestions would be grand!

    • Have you tried removing the foot and putting the fabric in an embroidery frame? That way you have the tension in the fabric but can put the presser foot leave down to create the top bobbin tension.

      • Thanks for your suggestion. I have now discovered that just putting the foot down as far as it will go seems to give enough top tension…so all good to go now.

  3. I have a 222k got for my 21st birthday (37 yrs ago) off my mum to learn to sew. She bought off a friend of hers for $20 AUS. I have all accessories with it and case. The foot pedal had smoke come out of it last week wonder if I could get it rewired by an electrician or buy a new controller for my loved machine. Can any one help please by the way my machine has a GOLD MEDAL thingy under the sew/darn lever thanks Carolyn Tasmania Australia

  4. the other block is to rest the majority of the weight of your foot on. You have probably figured that out already. Tilting part of your foot pressure onto the activator allows more control and precision when activating your speed. My grand mother had a nice 221 in case. My mother had a white in pully operated cabinet.

  5. Hello! Thanks a lot for a great blog! I just got a Singer 221 flat pin model as you have. Unfortunately the machine I got is missing cable and pedal. So I started to search on internet to get some. To my surprise its impossible to find any cable with those flat pins. So I wonder if you can be kind and direct me to “As a spare flat pin plug is pretty hard to find I’m probably going to change the socket connectors over to a round pin versions..” I looked on Judys site but could not find any info. Thanks a lot in advance. It would be great to find any solution to this and to be able to start using my new FW 🙂 Thanks again!

    • Sorry for the delay in replying, I’m pretty sure I brought my spare socket and plug set from Judy. She tends to pop different things on her website as she gets them in. Did you want to email her so she can contact you when she gets some next?

  6. Hi
    Just found your blog while looking for a Beanie hat pattern (found it – thanks), and stumbled across your Singer Featherwight – what a trip down memory lane!
    My mom bought one of these in the late 1950s / early 1960s, and it was much used, as she made all her own and my clothes, (how I longed for shop bought stuff back then), plus soft furnishings etc. The machine was passed on to my daughter, and is still going strong – it now lives in Australia – and has never needed any repairs!
    I wonder how many modern sewing machines will still be as good as new after 50+ years?

    May you and your Singer have many happy years together!

  7. Just found your blog today. Are you aware of the Yahoo Vintage Singers group? I think there might be a separate Featherweight group too. These groups are an absolute mine of information. I’ve been a member for a while after getting a 201 almost by chance from Ebay and realizing what a fantastic machine it is. I’ve since acquired a hand crank 99 and a hand crank 66 (both for free, 66 still waiting to be cleaned etc.) and a Featherweight (ditto!). I also have a Bernina 801. Oh, and my great grandmother’s Jones! Looking forward to your blog posts!

  8. Hi there – I just bought one of these too! I wonder if you can help me.. the plug on my machine has some exposed wire, and like yours is the flat pin model. Would you be able to send me a picture of how your plus looks plugged into the machine? I can’t work out quite what is wrong with mine and thought if I saw yours it would help. Sorry to ask, but I am a bit stumped!
    Good luck with the re-wiring!

  9. OMG, I have one of these, given to me by an 80-something friend. I don’t sew and she thought I could use it to learn. Still works fine, but I’m sure I’ll never use it so I’m giving it back to her so she can try to sell it. I gather they can be worth money! You have a beauty!

  10. My Gram had one of those, quite old. My sister got it after Gram passed away and it still runs like a charm. Great little workhorse of a machine. Enjoy it!

  11. How lovely, and clearly destined to be a well loved machine. I live near Clydebank now and both my Mother and Grandfather worked in the bookbinding dept of the SInger’s Factory at Kilbowie Rd where they were involved in the printing of the manuals etc in the 50’s/60’s.

  12. ohhhhhh lovely, freestyle everthing in sight me thinks. the old kind are the best kind and hard to get hold of. Happy sewing

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