Dear Readers, I am officially very happy with myself (and my Singer 201). After CGCouture pointed me to a much cheaper source for parts, I read up more on Singer 201 and realized I was only missing three things — bobbin cover plate, power cord, and class 66 bobbin. I bought all those from sew-classic, plus some sewing machine oil and lube and shipping, it was only about 35 dollars!
Yesterday, I received a bunch of packages and one of them is my singer parts. (The packages also included yet another vintage sewing machine, which I will not talk about just yet to prevent you, my readers, from overdosing on my recent vintage sewing machine addiction and conquers). After putting in all the parts, I took a guess on how to thread the machine, and manually turned the wheel to see if it sews ok, and it does! I then used electrical tape to tape over some exposed wire (a common issue with Singer 201, though if they did touch and short, it is no biggie, your machine just wont stop running!) on the foot petal, then plugged in the machine.Voila! the motor works, even the light works! I haven’t even oiled it and the machine sounded quite smooth. I could not believe my luck — an old Singer that had been literally connecting dust in some old man’s garage, dirty and sad and miss parts, actually works smoothly and sews a nice stitch!
Of course, I could not risk running the machine without cleaning and oiling it, as many of you have warned me. So I carefully unscrewed any external screws I could find and cleaned the machine with oil-dipped towel paper as much as I could. Some parts (especially below the feed dog) of the machine was quite nasty — I couldnt tell if it was mold or just old oil+lint. I hope it was the latter. The feeddog itself was so dirty that I resorted to using the tip of my screw driver to scrape the blackened tar away. As the cleaning goes on, I started having even more appreciation for this beautiful machine — all the smooth gears and stamped metal parts under the hood looks quite steam punk. I could see that this machine was built to last a life time. There were quite a few strategic holes on the body to allow user to insert their oil bottle (which comes with a very long nipple) to put in a few drops of oil.
Most of the decoration and prints on the machine are still intact. There were a few lines etched onto the surface of the bed, possibly because the machine itself did not have any lines to indicate stitch width.
After I had put all the parts back together, I gave myself a major heart attack as the stitches got all unbalanced. It turned out that the flat side of the needle should face the left, not the back like my brother sewing machine (of course, I could have just read the manual instead of debugging it, but I do like a puzzle). Also, the spring mechanism on my bobbin plate catches the threads during sewing. So I have to leave it open in order to sew properly.
Whew! I was so glad when it started working perfectly, note how awesome it is at reverse stitching:
(OK, the video exaggerated the purring of this machine. It actually doesnt sound veryloud in real life!)
Some pictures of my lovely, now cleaned Singer 201:
The bobbin cover plate has to be left open:
Beautiful cover plate for the gears in the front:
I love that sturdy hand wheel:
If you want to see some pictures I took of the inside of the machine during cleaning, click icons:
reasons I love this machine:
- Its straight stitch is more balanced than my relatively new brother machine!
- It is beautiful
- Everything works — the lights, the reverse, the stitch size adjustment, the feet, and even the bobbin winder!
- It purrs when used, in that deep, calming, i-know-what-i-am-doing way
- I fixed it up!