Saturday, April 26, 2014

Singer Cabinet for 301 - I Found One!

So having been lucky enough to find this black 301 shortbed at a yard sale for $10 - with another $20 to replace foot controller - I needed only to install it in a Singer cabinet to have the perfect sewing experience. 

Cradle Adapter for installing 301 shortbed

The 301 shortbed is unique in that it can be installed in a cabinet like any other full sized vintage Singer but then this machine just pops out of its cabinet and goes along to wherever you need to take it, carried by the clever handle right on top the machine (a stand alone feature, not seen on any other vintage Singer, not even the Featherweight.)  The thing that makes this possible is the "cradle adapter" into which the machine fits in place in the cabinet.  The lever on the left releases the machine when you want to remove it.  VERY, VERY COOL!

Since my machine came with the cradle adapter, and I had a Singer cabinet, I was all set to go...or so I thought. I figured this was the 301's new home.  WRONG!

Alas, all Singer cabinets are not exactly alike!  There is one crucial element that determines which type of machine can be installed in the cabinet.  Most of the mid-century cabinets are configured to hold machines like the 15-91, 201, 66, etc.  When the machine is in place, it rests on a lip protruding on a hinged panel that folds down.  Like this:

Installing the 301 requires brackets to hold the cradle adapter on this panel and it must be flush in order for the machine to fit.  Like this:

I was very frustrated to realize that my 301 could not fit into either of the two cabinets I already have.   
But with my Midas Touch for all things Singer (and seriously, who saw this coming?) I was running errands yesterday and noticed an Estate Sale sign at a slightly shabby split level house in older neighborhood which is always where I find the best stuff.  (Ladies of this era almost always had sewing machines and they were more often than not Singers.)  I always know exactly where to look, too, as I've done this countless times.  Straight upstairs to the furthest back bedroom - the sewing room. Bingo.

And there she stood: a nice little Singer cabinet in the corner with a few sewing supplies on top.  I couldn't tell from the outside, of course, so I moved the stuff, opened the cabinet and there it was - the configuration I needed to install my 301.  Price:  $125.  This was the first day of the sale and no way am I coming back on the mark down day, its either now or never.

I offered $50.  Bold?  Maybe. But they not only accepted the offer, when I picked up a green Singer box of attachments and a set of buttonholer templates and asked if they'd throw those in as well, they said sure.  

It is also slightly different with a single, extra long extension on the left rather than two extensions that fold together like my other cabinets (3/4s to the left, 1/4 to the right.)

Anyone who has been paying attention might rightfully ask why I am spending money on yet more pieces of sewing furniture when I am going to France at the end of the summer - yes, it is definite, I am going!  I can't give a good answer for this except maybe to offer the excuse that I will be doing some sewing this summer in preparation for my trip.   (Ha, ha, that isn't even remotely true, but let's just go with that, shall we?)


  1. I have an 301 in a cabinet. Bought the 301 last summer (Ebay) and later the cradle too. Did spent a lot of money, shipping costs and tax! Bought a cabinet, just 20 km ride. We had to shorten the brackets and used a saw to make the cradle fit in the cabinet. Now it's fine! I love the speed of the 301. I also love my 222, 221, 201, 306......

  2. YAY for you!!! Don't you love it when things come together?!!! I have this exact cabinet, stool and tan 301. It came with accessories and an instruction manual (minus cover). I bought it last year for $70. I worried I overpaid. It was the first vintage machine I ever bought. I think I didn't do too shabby, now! It was worth it, even if you are saving for a trip!!!!!

  3. Francis, I was also tempted to use a saw to make the machine fit in one of my other Singer cabinets. I'm interested to hear how that worked out, it sounds like you were successful. Thanks for sharing!

    And no, $70 was not too much for this machine with all the goodies. Great buy!

  4. I just read up on this and found out that I could have this as a portable straight out of the cabinet. Your post gives me hope that someday I'm going to find a cabinet. I bought my machine for 20 with all the attachments and I love it