2 Apr 2011

My Singer 201 love affair begins

This is the little beauty that has come to live with me this week.  I acquired her from the ubiquitous Ebay and I am thrilled and excited to have her in my possession.

The serial number confirms she is a 201 model and was built in 1953 in Kilbowie, Scotland

Needless to say she also came complete with a not so nice coating of grime and detritus.

After a little bit of dismantling, scrubbing, buffing and TLC she is now looking beautiful and clean and shiny again.

The cabinet is in need of some serious attention and I shall tackle that too.

A really big surprise (that I didn't notice when picking her up, nor was it mentioned in the sale details) is that she is operated by KNEE CONTROL!.  I did notice that the wire seemed too short to reach the floor on the foot pedal and put it down to it being doctored for some reason, THEN I noticed this metal lever underneath and realised that it was indeed a knee control lever and the foot pedal was supposed to sit in a cradle at the side of the cabinet (cradle is there).  So with the pedal in position I tried the knee control and what a revelation it is!!  I can't believe how easy and effortless it is to use, so much more comfortable than a foot control!  The lever is always at the side of your knee/thigh and the slightest touch operates the machine.  I'm hooked and there is no way I am going to convert her to foot control!

I did the coke can test to confirm the claim about the throat size and it does indeed swallow two cans compared to my other machine which can't quite fit two!  Happy quilting.

What can I say about the sewing operation that hasn't been said before?  Apart from that she sews like nothing before, so smooth, quiet and glides like a hot knife through butter.  Also being set into the table top is lovely as the sewing height is perfect and so comfortable.  For a 58 year old work horse she works perfectly and will see me through the rest of my sewing days.

(Ps.  It took all day to load these photos to Blogger so my love affair with this site dwindles with every post I make)


  1. Gorgeous! I am a HUGE fan of old singers - and this one is a bute - never seen the knee lever before - ingenious! mine looks increadibly similar, but it is a treadal - really hard to get your speed just right and in the correct direction!
    I wish you joy to use it!

  2. I am also the proud owner of a 201, and same cabinet as yours. I have 11 sewing machines: made by Pfaff, Bernina, Necchi, several Japanese machines, a Viking, etc. Most of them sew wonderfully, but none have the gorgeous stitch and the fantastic QUIET of the 201. It's absolute pure pleasure to sew with her. I hope you are continuing to enjoy your 201.

  3. Yes! I do love my old Singer still and enjoy every excuse to work with her. I shudder now when I see the price of new machines!

  4. Hi Nita, I also bought a Singer 201 with knee controle. I am cleaning her now, not finished yet. . It is not in a cabinet.
    Bye! Francis

  5. I just acquired a 201-2 from our local antique store, wanted it for the beautiful art deco cabinet. Thought the machine would be removed and sold but that will never happen. Sews like a dream even before cleaning and oil, which will be done shortly. Mine has a metal foot control pedal made into cabinet, anyone else have one like this?

  6. I am having a love affair myself with a newly adopted 201K which used to belong to my grandmother. I use the hand wheel; it's not nearly as tricky as I thought it would be and I love the straight-stitchedness as it will never eat fabric. Feels smooth, and I finally got rid of a stubborn squeaky sound from the handle. Keeping my modern machine next to it for the occasional zigzag.
    <3 <3 <3 Thanks Grandma, wish you could have known it's come to use again :-)