Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Singer 201-2

I have been looking for a good vintage machine for a while. I had my sights set on a Featherweight initially but one I really started scoping out the scene I was on a desperate hunt for a 201. After stalking Craigslist for what seemed an eternity I found my 201-2 in a table for $95. The picture on CL was awful but I was pretty sure it was a 201-2 by the little light switch.

I spent 3 hours last night vacuuming out the dust in the desk and oil and greasing the machine. I cleaned out the old grease; Ick is only word. It was thick and nasty and I'm pretty sure it was from the 40s. Anywho, it purrs like a kitten and is pretty clean on the inside now. When I cleaned out the desk a whole slew of attachment were in there. A buttonholer, a pantyhose mender, two old springy buttonholers, a bunch of attachments for making rugs, a box of original Singer attachments, a darning thingy, a "magic foot", an embroidering foot and hoop thing, a pinking attachment (which looks like a torture device and is the size of an apple), and a box of 100 original needles. Wow. I also found the original booklet and two blue glass hat pins.

I have to fix the tension dial next. The push pin seems to be stuck and the tension is off. I have a dress to finish today and I think I'll hem it on the new machine. The stitches are beautiful and far superior to my junky plastic Brother. I'm not quite brave enough to try the buttonholer out in the new dress but I do think I play with it.

Anyone have any suggestions on how best to clean the outside of the machine to make it shiny? I used mild soap and water and it left it cloudy so I just rubbed a small amount of Singer oil on it. It soaked it in. There is some crazing around it and I don't want to lose the paint.


  1. Oh, it's beautiful! No idea about the cleaning, but just wanted to congratulate you on your find!

    1. I'm with Lynn - don't have any advice for you, but this thing looks awesome! I love the coordinating table and stool too.

  2. I can't use it again until I rewire it. Boo! I smelled some serious ozone when I used it last. My dad should do it this weekend. I told him I had grand plans on doing it myself and he said I should let my hubbs do it. He is really too busy though. Somehow Dad doesn't think I can do it, or that I'll electrocute myself. Ha! So we are going to make a day of it. Thanks for the compliments, it really does have the most beautiful and straight stitch I have ever seen. It may make me quilt more since the harp is so roomy. Everything got tangled up in my current plastic hunk.

  3. Check out Rain's wonderful blog (, which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the Singer 201 -- and a host of other vintage Singers, to boot. As for cleaning the exterior, I recommend Gojo (make sure you buy the kind without pumice), which is available at any auto parts store. Walmart carries it, too, as do some hardware stores. Your machine is beautiful. Enjoy it!

  4. Hi, congrats on your wonderful CL find! And to have all those attachments and doohickies included is such a bonus. She must have been one well-loved machine at one time. When I found my Singer 328K in a thrift shop still in its beautiful wood table from 1960, it had a thick layer of dust and grime and a price tag of $24 dollars. I had been looking high and low for a vintage machine and here she was in all her grimy glory just waiting for a little TLC. I cleaned her up with a good dose of WD-40 and a soft cotton rag. She was a diamond in the rough for sure, and when I was all done cleaning her up, I found that she didn't have a scratch on her. I had to pinch myself and take a dozen pictures, I was so proud! And she has the most beautiful straight stitch I have ever seen. Much better than my newer Kenmore. Unfortunately, she didn't come with any attachments and I hunted ebay forever till I won a bid on a whole box of original attachments and the original booklet. I love my machine (I call her Stella) and I am sure you have fallen in love with yours as well. Happy sewing dear!