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Thread: 15 vs 201

  1. #1
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    15 vs 201

    If the 201 and the 15 are so similar in quality as I have read online, why does the 201 have better name recognition and command higher prices (although the 15 looks like prices are rising too)? I know originally they were marketed to different crowds, but surely in today's world we can recognize quality whether it was originally intended for the farmer's wife or the tailor.

    I haven't had the luck to stitch on either model yet, so I can't weigh in on which one I like better. I guess I am just honestly curious. Does anyone here who has had the luck of sewing on both care to share their opinion?

  2. #2
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    I have both machines, both potted motors. To be honest, I prefer my 15-91 to the 201-2. Couldn't tell you why, other than I have had no tension issues with the 15, and I had to fight that 201 every stitch of the way to a good seam. Most likely NOT the machine's fault, someone had messed with the tension before I got it. When I got the machine, the seams puckered terribly. It took a lot of adjusting to finally get it right, along with several repeated swear words and even a couple of tears of frustration. I now associate that machine with those things!

    Even so. Both machines are quiet, hard working machines. Both have a beautiful stitch now, and both are pretty machines. Seems to me, other than a small difference in size, the main difference is that the 15 has a vertical bobbin while the 201 has a drop in bobbin. The vertical bobbin has worked better for me for FMQ...I still get eyelashes when I try to FMQ on the 201, and with other machines to use, I let her have her way and only use her to piece with.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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  3. #3
    Super Member KatFish's Avatar
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    I have both machines and I prefer the 15-91 over the 201-2 for all the same reasons Charlee listed. I only use the 201 for piecing when I can keep the tension right. Can't say why the 201 is the higher priced machine, because IMHO the 15 is a much better machine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    I had my 201-2 before my 15-91. I kept having some problems with the cabinet foot pedal on my 201, so started using the 15 exclusively for piecing and quilting. Now, out of all my machines, if I had to choose only 1 to keep, it would be the 15-91.
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

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    Interesting perspectives. Thanks y'all.

    To take it even further, does anyone have a 15 clone and a Singer class 15? A few articles online seem to suggest the clone might be a bit better...with a stronger motor and a few other differences.
    Last edited by janeite; 02-19-2012 at 05:47 PM. Reason: added sentences

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    Oh another thing, is the 15 as quiet as the 201?

  7. #7
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    Oh another thing, is the 15 as quiet as the 201?
    I don't have a clone, so can't answer that question, but can tell you that the motor on the 15-91 is as strong of a motor as I'll ever need.

    And yes...the 15 is as quiet as the 201....I can use either in the early morning while the spousal unit is sleeping and not wake him up...not so much with my Janome tho! It's WAY noisier!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    I don't have a clone, so can't answer that question, but can tell you that the motor on the 15-91 is as strong of a motor as I'll ever need.
    Well my sewing buddy and I have been experimenting with felted wool. Oh the abuse that it heaps on the poor machines...I still have not delinted my hunk of a kenmore since the last round. My kenmore handled it, barely, but to be fair the felted wool was very very thick.

  9. #9
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I haven't sewn on the 201, but I gotta tell ya I love my15's!!!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    Well my sewing buddy and I have been experimenting with felted wool. Oh the abuse that it heaps on the poor machines...I still have not delinted my hunk of a kenmore since the last round. My kenmore handled it, barely, but to be fair the felted wool was very very thick.
    I'd bet the15 could handle it. I've sewn thick belt webbing with mine, doubled....it sewed through it like butter...
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  11. #11
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    My Mom got her 15 in 1936 while my Dad and his brother, who lived with them, worked in the mines. Mom mended the men's work overalls as well as making baby clothes on her 15. During the war they when we had rationing in this country, they went to Mexico and bought denim by the bolt. She made everything from jeans to jackets, even wool lined coats, on that machine. The 15 will easily sew through 4 layers of denim for jean seams. It's just as strong today as it was in 1936.
    Shirley in Arizona

  12. #12
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShirlinAZ View Post
    My Mom got her 15 in 1936 while my Dad and his brother, who lived with them, worked in the mines. Mom mended the men's work overalls as well as making baby clothes on her 15. During the war they when we had rationing in this country, they went to Mexico and bought denim by the bolt. She made everything from jeans to jackets, even wool lined coats, on that machine. The 15 will easily sew through 4 layers of denim for jean seams. It's just as strong today as it was in 1936.
    Shirl, what a neat story!! Thanks for sharing that!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  13. #13
    Member aggiebears's Avatar
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    I don't have a 201 but I love my 15. I put her through a lot. I love sewing with denim and she never lets me down. Nice and quiet as I can use her in the next room when my son is asleep in his room ( and he is a light sleeper).

  14. #14
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    I have a 15 clone, but haven't sewn much with it yet. the motor needs some attention, it is not a potted motor like a Singer 15. I also have a late '70s model Kenmore that uses class 15 bobbins, and it stitches beautifully. My 201 also stitches beautifully, although it does occasionally have tension issues.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  15. #15
    Super Member KatFish's Avatar
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    My 15 clone sews just as good as the Singer 15-91. The clone has a cute easy lever to drop the feed dogs so I don't have to flip up the machine to turn the screw like the Singer. Both are great for FMQ.

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    I think it is very interesting that so many have mentioned tension issues with the 201. Has anyone tried to fix it?

    When I first got my 301 my tension was crazy, so I took apart the tension unit and put it back together. It wasn't dirty or anything so I don't know what the deal was. Apparently giving it the stink eye and then putting it all back together was what it needed. Also, the bobbin case was acting so crazy- finally I put my 221 bobbin case in there instead, since they are the same, and I realized it was definitely not my machine, it was the danged bobbin case. I ended up taking that tiny little screw out that you turn to adjust the bobbin tension. Put it back in and adjusted a bit and voila, perfect tension.

  17. #17
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    they are both good machines. If I still had the 201 I guess I would park it next to the 15 and see which one I use the most - which one is the go to? What other machine do you have? What bobbins do they take. I like machines that the bobbins can interchange.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  18. #18
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    Oh another thing, is the 15 as quiet as the 201?
    I treadle both of mine and the 201 is much quieter than the 15. I like the 201k for piecing, the 15-90k(had a motorectomy) I like it better for Free motion quilting.

    My 1936 Singer 201K was an original hand cranked machine, that soon became a treadle after I wound the first bobbin. I didn't like it when I first got it as the tension assembly would fall off and fall apart after about 10 minutes of sewing. I later found out that the screw that holds it all on from the back wasn't an original Singer screw and was too short. Now that my OSMG has provided me with the correct screw, its my favorite treadle machine.
    Sharon W.
    Last edited by purplefiend; 02-21-2012 at 05:28 PM. Reason: added more text.

  19. #19
    Super Member BarbaraSue's Avatar
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    I'm sure the 15-91 would handle just about anything you try. I was quilting with a walking foot, and I somehow was able to break the walking foot clear off at the screw to the post, did not break the needle (?), and the machine just wanted to keep on going!! I stopped of course. Still don't know for sure how I did it. But 15-91 is a workhorse.
    To make lots of quilts, is to have lots of scraps, and I do, and I do.
    BarbaraSue

  20. #20
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    I have both machines, both potted motors. To be honest, I prefer my 15-91 to the 201-2. Couldn't tell you why, other than I have had no tension issues with the 15, and I had to fight that 201 every stitch of the way to a good seam. Most likely NOT the machine's fault, someone had messed with the tension before I got it. When I got the machine, the seams puckered terribly. It took a lot of adjusting to finally get it right, along with several repeated swear words and even a couple of tears of frustration. I now associate that machine with those things!

    Even so. Both machines are quiet, hard working machines. Both have a beautiful stitch now, and both are pretty machines. Seems to me, other than a small difference in size, the main difference is that the 15 has a vertical bobbin while the 201 has a drop in bobbin. The vertical bobbin has worked better for me for FMQ...I still get eyelashes when I try to FMQ on the 201, and with other machines to use, I let her have her way and only use her to piece with.
    Hi Charlee,

    First I want to say how nice it is to see a face and a real name when I read your posts. It feels so friendly and personal.
    Second, what is a potted motor and what are eyelashes?

    Kitsy
    Kitsy

  21. #21
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitsykeel View Post
    Hi Charlee,

    First I want to say how nice it is to see a face and a real name when I read your posts. It feels so friendly and personal.
    Second, what is a potted motor and what are eyelashes?

    Kitsy
    Hi Kitsy, and thanks! I prefer to see faces vs. other kinds of avatars, so I figure it's only fair to use my own... and my name is easier for me to remember...I'm getting old enough that I figure that's important these days!

    Here's a link to a photo on Sew Classic that shows a potted motor:
    http://i522.photobucket.com/albums/w...1/201blog4.jpg

    The little "pot" on the back of the machine near the handwheel contains a gear driven motor.

    Eyelashes are the loops that you get on the underside of your stitching when either the tension is off, or you're moving the fabric too fast while free motion quilting, and there can be a few other causes...
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  22. #22
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShirlinAZ View Post
    My Mom got her 15 in 1936 while my Dad and his brother, who lived with them, worked in the mines. Mom mended the men's work overalls as well as making baby clothes on her 15. During the war they when we had rationing in this country, they went to Mexico and bought denim by the bolt. She made everything from jeans to jackets, even wool lined coats, on that machine. The 15 will easily sew through 4 layers of denim for jean seams. It's just as strong today as it was in 1936.
    I love stories like that! Thank you for sharing.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  23. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlm5419 View Post
    I have a 15 clone, but haven't sewn much with it yet. the motor needs some attention, it is not a potted motor like a Singer 15. I also have a late '70s model Kenmore that uses class 15 bobbins, and it stitches beautifully. My 201 also stitches beautifully, although it does occasionally have tension issues.
    Ha. I have an 'Eldgen' with a Kenmore motor stuck on it. I bet you can just change out the motor if you like.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  24. #24
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    I think it is very interesting that so many have mentioned tension issues with the 201. Has anyone tried to fix it?

    When I first got my 301 my tension was crazy, so I took apart the tension unit and put it back together. It wasn't dirty or anything so I don't know what the deal was. Apparently giving it the stink eye and then putting it all back together was what it needed. Also, the bobbin case was acting so crazy- finally I put my 221 bobbin case in there instead, since they are the same, and I realized it was definitely not my machine, it was the danged bobbin case. I ended up taking that tiny little screw out that you turn to adjust the bobbin tension. Put it back in and adjusted a bit and voila, perfect tension.
    I made a post about tensions - a link to a real good repair manual is on the last line of the first post. http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...s-t170748.html
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

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