201k, a labour of love

Singer 201K


Since I fixed my modern Toyota sewing machine last week something amazing has happened. I am not scared of my old sewing machines any more. I am keen to take them apart, have a bit of a tinker, and get them working.

One of those old sewing machines is a Singer 201k from 1953. It was my Nana’s machine which she bought whilst pregnant with my Mum so she could make clothes and things for the home. When my Nana died my Grandad kept everything, pretty much. But, a few years later, he gave me some things, the sewing machine being one of them. I don’t know when it stopped working – my Dad had tried to fix it many years ago – but it must have been a good twenty or twenty five years.

But now, what with the internet, I have the information I need to fix it myself. First things first, I began cleaning twenty years of dust, and fifty years of nicotine staining off the machine and I found, to my delight, that the dull finish you can see in the picture above was just dirt and it (eventually) gave way to a glossy black finish.

I began cleaning it three days ago. I’ve spent a good twelve hours cleaning the crap off and now I can see a rather stunning looking machine emerging. I’ve not finished – I want to do it justice by dismantling it and cleaning it thoroughly – but I can see how amazing it’s going to look.

For now, here’s a good illustration of the before and after state of the metal work. You can also see the dullness (dirty) and the shine (clean) on the japanning.



Edited to add:

I have finished cleaning and repairing the machine. Here it is in all its glory.

IMG_2081 IMG_2082 IMG_2083


Hopefully you can see a distinct difference in shininess from the top photo! I have done some sewing on it this evening and now the belt has given up. I am surprised it even had enough tension in it to do what it did – it’s practically disintegrating. Luckily my local sewing machine shop is a Singer specialist and carries a belt which can replace the 60 year old one that’s currently languishing on my machine!



2 Comments on “201k, a labour of love”

  1. What a beautiful machine!

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