Monday, April 19, 2010

New to Me - Singer 201

I've been searching for the "ideal" sewing machine for
machine quilting. I'm not sure this is it...but I'm willing
to give it a try.

Over the holidays I test drove this model...a Bernina 830.
It has all the bells and whistles and a 12 inch throat space.
 It also has the ability to be mounted on a frame for machine
quiliting. Sweet! This machine has it all!
The only draw-back is the price...$12,000!
Yes, you are reading it right. Twelve grand for a sewing machine?
Are you serious? Several reviews I researched stated that
it takes a certified technician to repair it.
 So keep that in mind if you buy one.


Another machine I looked at was the Juki 98Q. It has
alot of nice features including the needle up/down button
and a knee lift to control the presser foot. It also has the
ablility to be mounted and used with a quilting frame.
It only features a straight stitch but for the price of
 about $1,000 it definitely was a contender
in my list of options.
The throat space on this machine measures 9" x 6".

While gathering information online, I ran across the Singer 201.
This gear driven machine was first made in the 1930's and
was the top of the line model during that time period.
The production line ran for about twenty years,
and was marketed as an "industrial" strength
machine for the home. It has a  throat space
measuring 8 1/4" x 5 3/4".
 It only offers a straight stitch like other
Singers made during that time period, but attachments
can be added to enable button holes and zig-zag stitches.
It has low shank attachments
 that are compatible with the Singer 221.

I actually watched quite a few
machines sell on ebay, but the thing that bothered me about an
online purchase was that I could not see and hear
the machine run. So imagine my delight to find this beauty
for sale on craigslist!
The lady posting the ad was very knowledgeable about
the machine itself and was able to answer all my questions.
 In fact, she has her own little online store specializing in
vintage sewing machines.
(If you are in the market for a vintage machine,
I can highly recommend doing business with Julia!)

The Queen Anne's cabinet features a knee controller
that actually controls the foot pedal.

(I had to stand on my head to get this look closely! )
It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but I think
I'm going to like using this feature.

When fully opened, this cabinet makes a sizeable workspace.
Although it needs some TLC, this cabinet is a keeper.
 I'm hoping to refinish the top sometime soon to restore it
to it's former glory.

This particular machine was made in 1939 and features
 scroll work on the face plate. The face plate was changed
to a simpler design during WWII. So if you see a model 
with the scroll work,
you will know it was made before the war began.

The paint is in great condition for it's age...other than a few
chips here and there and some wear along the front edge.

The motor sounds great...and actually hums!
The feed dogs drop for free motion quilting.

It came with all these wonderful accessories!

The best part however, is that it makes a beautiful stitch!
Look you think this stitch looks any
different from the stitch of the $12,000 machine?


  1. What a beauty! I'll bet she's a true work horse, too. $12,000 for a sewing machine is absolutely nuts!!!! I have an acquaintance who has a machine she paid $9,000 for and she seldom uses it. Sigh - guess it's all in what's important to us. Me? I'm happy with my machine. :-)

    Enjoy your new Black Beauty! She's beautiful.

  2. I learned how to sew on a 201 when I was a little girl! Mom still has the machine. It is a real "work horse". I think Mr. Reynolds sold Mom the machine in the 1960's. I have many memories sitting at that machine sewing and memories of sitting and supervising Jenny doing 4H projects. I'll have to stop by and see your 201 in person!

  3. Congrats on your new machine! She is a beauty. May you have many happy years together!


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