If you own a Singer Featherweight and have not heard of Dave McCallum it is because you have not been looking in the right places. Dave McCallum is a pioneer in the revival of Singer Featherweight 221’s and 222 sewing machines. He has taught thousands of people the joy of self-maintaining Singer Featherweights. We here at Featherweight Doctor want to personally recognize Dave and thank him for all he has taught us and the vast resource he is to the Featherweight community. Dave has retired from full-time teaching/training Featherweight enthusiasts, and consequently his website and content have not been available for some time. We want to thank him for allowing us the honor of posting all of his helpful information here on our site for it to continue to live on for others to freely use.
All of the content on this page is the intellectual property of Dave McCallum and is posted here with his permission. Additionally he continues to sell his books and DVDs. While we do sell his products here, this page’s contents still remain Dave’s, and we are happy to provide a space to share this with you.
MORE ABOUT DAVE
D avid McCallum, the bestselling author of The Featherweight 221 and I, is an “artist turned quilter” whose photo-realistic drawings have won numerous awards throughout his native Pacific Northwest. Because he is partially colorblind, Dave worked in black and white, using both graphite, and pen and ink. He found the handling Dave McCallum posing and use of color baffling until he attended quilt shows with his wife, Sharon, and was made aware of quilting as an art form. He discovered that he could discern colors in fabrics that eluded him in his artwork, and he soon became an avid quilter.
Dave’s fascination with quilting and sewing machines led him into yet another creative adventure – restoring and maintaining classic machines. While restoring his mother’s treadle, he bought his first Singer Featherweight, and thus began a love affair with the sewing machine that is so cherished by quilters throughout the world. Dave became frustrated with the lack of information available on the subject of restoration for antique sewing machines. What little he did find was scattered, very cryptic, and lacking in details. As he researched, he developed classes designed to teach others how to maintain and restore their own machines.
The information he gathered far exceeded class handouts, and ultimately inspired the creation of his book, The Featherweight 221 and I. Dave retired in 2004 after 39 years in the workforce, but when The Featherweight 221 and I was published and immediately became a bestseller, he found himself self-employed – FeatherweightRX was born. Dave operated a limited repair service for vintage sewing machines but preferred instructing people on the care and maintenance of their own machines. Dave and Sharon began a decade of traveling and teaching Featherweight Maintenance Workshops throughout WA state. They also held classes in MT, ID, OR, TX, AZ and CA. It quickly became apparent that it would be impossible to respond to all of the teaching requests coming in from quilt shops across the country.
In 2008, Dave had a two-disc DVD professionally produced, aptly titled Those Fantastic Featherweights. The DVD is like having a private workshop with Dave and more. It has gained in popularity since its release, was created to be played in all regions, and is helping Featherweight owners in many parts of the world today. Dave became recognized in the industry as one of the foremost experts on the Singer Featherweight sewing machine and Featherweight RX continued to grow. In 2014, Dave and Sharon decided it really was time to retire.
Click below to purchase Dave’s Book or DVD’s.
Dave's Blog Archive
A BROKENFEATHERWEIGHT LIGHT SOCKET The light bulbs socket of a Featherweight is made of Bakelite and as such, it can be broken. There are many who struggle with removing a light bulb from the machine. Some manage to complicate the light bulb replacement project by...read more
I can't resist it! A gentleman wrote to say his Featherweight just keeps runnin'-on when he tries to wind a bobbin. I suggested he take the hand wheel off and clean the bore and the bushing it turns on, with 220 grit wet and dry sand paper and oil. He did and...read more
I've had several emails lately, asking how to remove the light switch from a Featherweight so I thought I'd bring that subject to you today. The reasons for these people wanting to remove the switch replacing the switch were a simple failure of the switch...read more
If the "stop motion" knob located in the center of the hand wheel is loosened the entire Featherweight sewing machine should not keep running when you wind a bobbin, just the hand wheel. We have "stopped the motion". Should have at least. If not the cure is to remove...read more
On the Featherweight model 221 or the Model 301..........and others Singer machines........ Many machines do not put the needle into the needle plate's hole in a way we may feel is perfect. Absolute dead center in the hole is not what Singer was after as they...read more
I was letting my mouse wander freely through eBay today and noticed several things of interest. Somehow my mouse went directly to "Featherweight 221" I am Always interested in the "RARE" machines, AND THERE ARE SOOOOO MANY RARE MACHINES" on eBay. I really must do some...read more
I received this email the other day and I think I read it fifteen times in a row. I love it and wanted to pass it on, with permission, nuff said. Dear Dave and Sharon, I have a story to tell you about my Singer 221. I married my husband in September, 1959 in Cleveland...read more
I was asked what to do with corrosion on the attachments that came with our Featherweights? I've gone so far as to sand blast the attachments. Where the corrosion was the sand blasting removed it but it took it down to bare metal also ready to rust and they did not...read more
I paint Featherweights and am familiar with the prepping of a Featherweight for paint and the application of the paint. As with any paint project of importance, careful, attentive preparation of the surface to be painted is imperative if you want good results. If you...read more
Every now and then I get a machine that almost smells worse than the storage case it came in. Spit your gum out so you don't swallow it and don't start yelling "No Way!!!" and we'll get underway. There are machines that smell so bad that there is no living with them....read more
I taught a couple of classes this last week-end which is something I love doing. It is an opportunity to see and hold yet another Featherweight. Some machines that come to class come with a problem, or two, and some problems are new to me. That's when it begins to be...read more
Many of you will have heard me to say that I love questions about the Featherweight sewing machines. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach something. Answering questions is a similar "back-against-the wall" situation. "Where do I get a Non-Glare" needle...read more
I have touched a lot of Featherweights and in the process seen quite a few repairs that Singer had not thought of. Many times the driving force behind some variations of design is a belief that "the parts for a Featherweight are not available" which explains why I...read more
I've recently acquired a slug of Featherweights to restore and refurbish. With 30 machines piled around me I began looking at them, one by one, to determine the problems the machines had so I could figure which ones to attack first.There typically is a reason that...read more
The white machine is not the same as the black or tan machines. How so? The white machines body is made cast from the same aluminium alloy as the black and tan machines although the lifting bed extension is made of stamped sheet steel. This was but one...read more
I don't know why but frequently a problem with a Featherweight can crop up that has never darkened my door before and then I end up with a handful of machines with this same obscure problem. Obtuse and obscure can be fun though, so lets relay the story and see where...read more
Somethings don't happen often, but when they do happen, they happen in clusters of bunches. A problem was simply stated, "my machine is really running slow" and when we went to the typical culprit, the belt being too tight, we found that this wasn't the problem, this...read more
I know I have most of you fooled into thinking I am a writer. I really am not. I'm just an old guy who loves Featherweights. When I began writing my manual The Featherweight 221 and I, I just wanted to write what I would have loved to have in a book/manual like it,...read more
The botton hole attachment most often used with the Featherweight model 221/222 has the part number 160506 stamped on it.If you have the complete attachment there will be multiple drop-in "cams" that govern the size and style of button hole you are performing when you...read more
For years we've heard that our sewing machines should be unplugged if we leave our machines for an extended period of time. You just heard it again.And I don't mean just the Featherweights owners should. Almost every manufacturer of sewing machines today still tells...read more
To wind a bobbin you first turn the "stop-motion-wheel" to the left releasing the hand wheel to spin freely without all the rest of the machine continuing to turn. But, in the real world........ The hand wheel and the bushing it turns on is rarely oiled. The hand...read more