The 1939 Singer Featherweight 221 and the Penguin Walking Presser Foot

Look who's coming to stay! This pretty little 221 belonged to a good friend's aunt, who purchased the machine brand new and used it well. The aunt is now 94 years old and in the process of downsizing; she hasn't used the machine in many, many years. So I purchased the 221 to add to my collection.

I absolutely LOVE bringing home a new vintage machine (right?), unpacking all the bits and checking out the machine for the first time is the best part.

This machine had a lot of bits with it! The case is in good shape, miraculously has NO BAD SMELL, but does have some issues with the latches - one of which has been replaced. The machine still had a service tag attached and a bit of fabric with a few stitches under the presser foot, so it's a good bet that the 221 was put away for good after the last time it was cleaned and oiled.

I found 15 bobbins in the case, each and every one filled with a different color thread. And one of the bobbins is black, but is the correct size. Never seen a black 221 bobbin before, have you?

Also found in the case: a ruffler, seam guide, zipper foot, narrow rolled hem foot, binder, adjustable hemmer, tucker foot, straight stitch foot, and a pretty shiny and new looking roller foot.

And a complete buttonholer with extra templates.

Also a blind stitch attachment.

And believe it or not, the case included one of the very elusive Walking Presser Feet, affectionately known as the "Penguin." I've never, ever, EVER seen one of these before, did you even know that these things existed? I had no freakin' idea.

So these little guys waddle along over the fabric, very similar to a modern walking foot, but way, way cuter. Check out this page on the Penguin Walking Foot that includes an action video over at April 1930's shop!

This machine was definitely used, you can see where the finish is chipped/worn away below the bobbin area from frequent replacement of the bobbin case.

Also some wear and tear on the machine bed.

None of that regular wear and tear affects how the machine works - she winds a bobbin without skipping a beat, and sews beautifully.

Welcome home, little 221!


Terri in BC said…
Wow! How lucky are you! I was lucky enough to go a garage sale a couple of weeks ago, and got the buttonholer, pin tucker, ruffle and a "Circular" attachment - thought I had scored, but you way out-did me! Congrats
The black bobbin is a 'blackside'. Blackside was used instead of chrome on several machine parts near WWII. I've seen penguin walking feet, but, only online, not in person. How lucky for you. I have lots (and lots) of vintage machines, but, no 221 yet. Congrats!
Great, that Pinquin walking foot, you're really lucky! I'm interested in the use of it, is it better than a new walkin foot?
Richard james said…
Does anyone know of anyone selling a penguine walking presser foot thanks from richard james
Erika Mulvenna said…
Oh you guys, I JUST got my Singer Walking Presser Foot back from being totally refurbished! I hope to find time this weekend to give it a try and post more about the foot in action! ;-)

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