Singer 222k Featherweight

This machine is perfect where space is at a premium. 9 ½ inches long (15” with the extension flap down) it can be picked up and moved with one hand, weighing only 11lb. It is made, I believe, from cast aluminium (or similar, light alloy). It packs away snugly into a very compact 14 x 10 x 8 inch case, making it very easy to transport and the hard case, leather-bound, is smart and offers excellent protection against knocks and bumps.

Because it is a low-shank, side-clamping machine it uses standard Singer feet. The 222k has a shorter distance between the face plate and the needle bed than say, a 201k (2” compared to 2 ½ “). It also features the twin thumb screw holes in the bed which allow it to use industrial attachments.

Unlike its elder sister the 221, the 222k can drop its feed dogs, allowing for free-form embroidery. The other main difference is that the 222k has a free-arm facility. The free arm circumference is an extremely dainty 7” (that of my Bernina 830 Record measures 9”) making it perfect for setting the relatively small cuffs in childrenswear.

Stitches are restricted to straight stitch only, plus reverse, but are of a quality and evenness which is scarcely seen in modern machines. Stitch length may be anything between 6 and 30 stitches per inch, with increments marked at 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30.

The bobbin is mounted vertically across the end of the machine. It is very slim, so holds less thread than a standard one.

There are two levers on the front of a 222k; one to switch between “sew” and “darn” (to drop the feed dogs) and the other to alter the stitch length with increments as previously noted. The free arm is obtained by loosening the thumb screw at the base of the pillar and gently easing the flat bed section to the left.

The standard foot pedal is the Singer button type, which is not particularly easy to control so we have, on mine, rewired the plug to a new, clam-shell foot pedal. We also replaced the main flex and checked the wiring in the motor (well ok, I say “we” – my husband did it).

The 222k uses standard, domestic needles. The harp is 5” long by 4” high. For comparison, my 201k is 8” x 5 ½ “and my Bernina 7 ¼ “x 4 ½ “). In use, the machine is both smooth and quiet. It has an extremely good lamp, mounted at the front of the machine that takes an easily sourced, low-wattage bulb.

I wouldn’t recommend the 222k for heavy, frequent use but as a machine for domestic dressmaking, general repairs and light upholstery such as piecing together patchwork then I can’t think of another machine which is so small and gives such pleasure in use. Mine dates from 1957 and I have owned it for a couple of months now.

Dimensions: 15L x 7D x 10H inches (9 ½ “L when using as free arm). Weight: 11lb (5kg).

The 222k in freearm mode, shown next to a 201k for size comparison.

Like its stable mate the 201k, the 222k gives a wonderful straight stitch, evenly tensioned and consistently formed.

Copyright HA Lewington 2010

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