Sunday, December 15, 2013

A New Addition to the Family - Just in Time for Christmas! Singer 301

Well this was a nice surprise!  I already posted this story on PR but I'll tell it here too.

Of course I've barely had time to sew, look at sewing machines, or even think about sewing machines for almost a year now.   Being a full time college student has kept me busier than I ever imagined!  But finals were over last week and I've been doing the frantic holiday preparation thing.  Yesterday - gray, drizzly and completely dreary - I had dragged myself through a day of volunteer work and errands and was heading home when I saw a sign for an Estate Sale.  I was hungry, tired and irritable and the sale was out of my way.  Besides, I had too much Christmas shopping to do anyway so why bother with an Estate Sale?  But still... I love Estate Sales... (Not yard sales, but bona fide Estate Sales - big difference.)

There was a ton of stuff there - the usual furniture, china, pots and pans, clothing, household items.  I didn't see anything I really wanted and was just about to leave when the owner spoke to me on the way out the door.  I kind of asked him offhand if they happened to have any sewing items, just in case I missed something - fabric, patterns, notions, that kind of thing.

He said, "Did you see the sewing machine?"

Yes, even the slant shank buttonholer was included in the $10 purchase!

And he pointed to this beautiful, pristine 301, sitting on the floor in the corner.

Just as I headed towards it, another shopper, overhearing this exchange, headed it for it too.  I quickly asked how much it was and when he said $10 I said, "I'll take it!" and grabbed it a moment before the other guy could get his hands on it.  I could hardly get the $10 out of my pocket fast enough.

I saw it first!!!  ;)

What a deal.  It is a beautiful, clean, well cared for machine.  The decals and finish are nearly perfect. It came with the original green box and all the feet (that alone is worth at least $25) and even included a buttonholer.  It has the cradle which you use to insert into a regular Singer cabinet and then release the machine when you want to use it as a portable.  Cool!  (It has the power cord - but alas was missing the controller.)

I've never used a 301 so this is a new adventure for sure.  It really rounds out my collection of vintage Singers.  From what I've read, this was the last of the beautiful black & gold Singers.  With this model, they were updating their look and you can see in the styling that they were going for a more sleek and modern look - although curiously it is rather Art Deco in style.  The spool of thread stays out of sight behind the machine so as not to detract from the lines, I guess (also to make it easier to put in a case for portability maybe?)

Although it is often compared with the 221, I see little resemblance since this is a full sized machine.  It does have the aluminum body which makes it "light" (for an all metal machine, anyway.)  The only other thing it really has in common with the 221 is the vertical rotary hook and bobbin.  But it is Singer's first slant shank model, which was a big innovation for them at the time.  Fortunately, it not only came with a collection of feet AND a slant shank buttonholer, but I have plenty of slant shank accessories for Bud, my 503.  Since it has the same bobbin case as my 221, then I have plenty of bobbins for it as well.

Stitch length regulator - very Art Deco looking!

UPDATE:  It took a little tinkering to get the perfect stitch.  I don't think this machine had been used in quite a while.  It was very clean inside (no lint, crud, rust or grease build up) although quite dusty on the outside.  I had several minor - though frustrating - issues.  But RESOLVED - and the results are worth it. Beautiful stitch.  Notice how it twists perfectly off the end.  Lovely!  (Blue is top side/white is bobbin side.)

And this machine is super fast, I clocked it at nearly 1500 stitches/minute!

1 comment:

  1. You're lucky! I bought a Singer 301 this summer at Ebay and shipping her to the Netherlands was a lot of money, but I love her.