How to Have the Featherweight Packed for Shipping
Most Featherweights are bought and sold online. If you have purchased a Featherweight from an online site such as our store, Fabulous Singer Featherweights, or eBay, you want your new purchase arrive in the same condition that it was in when you purchased it. An email asking the seller to “please pack the Featherweight carefully” probably won’t be of much help. An email sent to the seller containing specific “simple packing suggestions” for safe packing is much better and appropriate. In most cases the seller will appreciate the packing suggestions.
Featherweights are notorious for being damaged while being shipped. It's important that they be carefully and properly packed. If there is damage in shipping due to poor packing the insurer is not going to want to pay out the claim. The last thing you need is a hassle between you, the seller, the courier and the insurance company.
Reputable sellers will take responsibility for safe shipping, will offer to fix problems immediately, deal with insurance companies, send replacement parts to be installed at their expense and so on. It is not your fault if the sewing machine arrives damaged.
Unless the Featherweight parcel fell off the delivery truck, the main cause of damage is poor packing by the seller. Nearly all damage takes place inside the Featherweight case. At over 11 pounds an unprotected Featherweight rattling around in its carrying case is almost sure to be damaged or cause damage to the case. The damage can hardly be blamed on the shipping company if the outside of the package arrives undamaged. The sample email that is given below stresses the importance of the machine not being able to move around inside the Featherweight case.
There are many ways that damage can occur to a Featherweight and its case while being shipped.
Damage that can happen includes:
-Badly scratched or even a hole punched through the top of the Bakelite foot control caused by the spool rod or presser foot tension thumbscrew.
-The spool rod holder bent or broken off from the cover plate.It can even go through the lid and break off
-The cast iron bobbin winder being snapped in two.
-The flip-up bed being dented by either faceplate or the presser foot thumbscrews.
-The worst possible damage is that the finish on the sewing machine can be severely damaged by sharp metal objects and not so sharp objects. Loose items, such as accessories or the prongs on the electrical plug, continually hitting the finish can be disastrous to the finish of the Featherweight.
There is a good reason why cases, foot controls, bobbin winders and spool rod and plate covers are popular items for sale on eBay –they are often broken in transit due to poor packing.
A sample "Simple Packing Suggestions" email
You need to tell the seller how you would like to have your sewing machine packed. Many sellers of Featherweights have no experience in shipping them and usually welcome suggestions and guidance on how to pack the sewing machine so that it can be shipped as safely as possible. Just like you, they don’t want problems to occur in shipping.
To make sure that your newly purchased machine is packed properly, email the seller with "simple packing suggestion" explaining how you would like the machine to be packed for safe shipping.
Following is a possible email that you could send to the seller. Send the email as soon you have bought the sewing machine. before they pack the Featherweight.
The message will not fit into eBay's "contact the seller" email as there are too many characters but if you paid by Paypal you can find the sellers email address in your Paypal account. If you didn't pay using Paypal you will have to modify the email to fit the "contact the seller" email.
I am the purchaser of the Featherweight that you have just auctioned on eBay (Item # xxxxxxxx).
I do have a few simple requests regarding the packing. I am sure that you would be doing what I am requesting but I would like to be on the safe side. Featherweights because of their weight are notorious for being damaged during shipping. Just a few little things can make a big difference. The following information really does help in safe shipping.
Would you remove the spool holder that is on top of the sewing machine toward the right and replace the little screw that holds its plate in place. This will stop the metal rod from being damaged or from damaging the case lid.
Would you place something between the flip up bed and the faceplate and presser foot screws to stop damage to the flip up bed. Cardboard is fine.
Would you push the bobbin winder against the belt so that it cannot damage the lid or be snapped into two pieces. It is cast iron and therefore brittle.
Would you screw down the presser foot tension thumbscrew as far as it will go? It is chrome and on top of the machine on the left. This will help stop the screw from possibly cracking the case lid.
Turn the hand wheel so that the take up lever (giraffe) is at its lowest position.
Would you please wrap the accessories (particularly the metal ones), the foot control and plug. If possible wrap something around the machine to help prevent damage. Bubble wrap is great.
If there is an oil can would you empty as much as possible out of the oilcan and then place it in a sealed zip lock bag with paper towel inside with it to absorb any oil that may leak out. A second zip lock bag would be appreciated. A little oil goes a long way in ruining a case. If it is not possible to empty the oilcan please do not send it.
Would you put the instruction manual into a zip lock bag.
Would you make sure that the machine and accessories are not able to move around in the case. This almost totally eliminates any damage. Bubble wrap and / or crumpled newspapers work well. Please do not use large airbags as they often will pop in transit and don't use styrofoam peanuts as they settle allowing movement in the case.
Making sure that there is no movement inside the case is critical. Movement inside the case often causes damage.
Thank you very much for doing this. I really do appreciate the effort and it certainly will help in reducing damage to the Featherweight and its case. It will help eliminate potential hassles because of damage in shipping.
I am looking forward to the safe arrival of my Featherweight.
PS. Would you please put both my address and your return address inside the package in case the outside addresses are damaged?
Just as a poorly packed package can occasionally arrive with the contents undamaged, a Featherweight that has been packaged well can arrive with some damage. This is when having bought from a reputable Featherweight seller really pays off. A reputable seller takes responsibility for safe shipping.
The next blog will show how we pack Featherweights for shipping both from our store or at eBay where we sell through iquilt22.