Showing posts from November, 2016

1957 201K23 Electric - Cleaning Part 2

A lot has been achieved cleaning-wise over the last week. I'm liking this machine more. I removed the motor and light, and have been concentrating on cleaning the head.


The motor made me nervous. I'd never seen inside a sewing machine motor before. I could find a lot of tutorials about repairing or rewiring US potted motors, and UK models, but Australian external motors are less documented. The only source I found was at Tailor or Failure, who has some good information here about disassembling the light and checking the motor. There are another two posts from Mike, one here about the female machine plug and the foot controller, and another here about cleaning and checking the main moving parts.
Anyway, I looked at my wiring and compared it to what Mike showed. None of my wires were touching, or looked damaged. They just looked old.

The female machine plug was a different story. While the wiring inside looks ok, the point where the wires enter the bakelite have sprung …

1957 201K23 Electric - Cleaning Part 1

Today another vintage Singer sewing machine awaits me in my studio, cleaning products surround it, and empty trash bags lie at the ready.

My husband did not seem pleased to see this machine. I suppose he is right to be worried - I am definitely a collector of expensive and time-consuming hobbies, and now I add vintage sewing machines to that long list. (He likely sees nothing interesting about dismantling a machine and lovingly restoring it, and that is his loss, I say!)

So, the machine is a 1957 201K23. This is my first vintage electric machine, and the electrics will be left for last. I photographed more 'before' images this time around.


I've seen the paintwork on this model described as tan/brown or the more whimsical combination of mocha/chocolate. I'd say mine is simply light brown/dark brown.

Its hard to tell from this photo, but the face plate has a lot of rust below the dark brown enamel, it feels rough. The side not shown in the photo was the worst.


Machine: 1957 Singer 201K Electric

So, after enjoying much of my 1951 201K restoration, I decided it was so nice I'd do it again. I looked around town and my charity shops had nothing, and the one antique store had several machines in very poor condition with very high prices.

My local classifieds showed exactly three machines: an industrial, a modern embroiderer, and a mysterious brown Singer! I called and discovered it was still available, so I arranged to go and see it as soon as I could.

So, I bought the machine, but I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  Today the machine I picked up for my next project is a 1957 Beige/Brown aluminium-bodied 201K with a belt drive (201K23?). I had been prepared to learn how to re-wire the machine, but the nice lady I bought it from said she had last used it 6 months earlier, and sure enough, we plugged it in and it went fine.

The machine is is fair condition. Lots of rust, and I think the lady was a smoker, sometimes I detect a whiff of something when I am close to the m…

1951 201K Treadle - Cleaning

A couple of weeks ago I decided to sit down and determine the exact state of affairs in regard to my 1951 201K. It worked, and everything moved freely, so I didn't have a huge restoration job like those who have frozen machines.

I wanted to fit a new needle, a standard 90 universal, and in doing so realised that the needle system was a good indication of how dirty the machine was. After a lot of gentle coaxing, the thumb screw finally gave way and I could discard the old rusted needle. Next, I examined the hinged presser foot, it was cruddy, and the hinge was tight. The presser foot shank was really stuck, and very difficult to remove, but I got there.

Not enough people talk about how dirty, smelly, and gross a vintage sewing machine can be. I don't do anything by halves, but even I had to draw the line at dismantling the whole thing and scrubbing every piece of metal.

Do click each image to zoom in and get a really good look at the yuck.

I'll talk a bit about my cleaning …