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Thread: Singer 201 - cabinet only machine? Inexpensive option for cabinet?

  1. #1
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Singer 201 - cabinet only machine? Inexpensive option for cabinet?

    It is my understanding that the 201 is a cabinet only model. I am interested in owning a 201 someday (when the price is right). Many are offered without a cabinet. I know from my searching for a sewing table for my Janome sewing machine - tables seem to be ridiculously priced (in my opinion) - and there are various options out there for building a nice one yourself (Eleanor Burns and turning a farm table into a sewing machine table is the first one that pops into my mind).

    What about a sewing cabinet for these vintage Singer machines? How does one go about finding one that doesn't break the bank? Is there an easy way to make one yourself?

    Right now I feel I can only consider VSM's that come with a cabinet because of this concern.

  2. #2
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    201's also came in cases. It just needs a base to keep the bottom of the machine off the surface.
    I see lots of cabinets (sans machines) on Craig's List... just have to make sure they're a Singer cabinet (Kenmore cabinets don't work for a Singer) You have to watch pricing, but should be able to find one for a fairly reasonable price.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee View Post
    201's also came in cases. It just needs a base to keep the bottom of the machine off the surface.
    Can a base be made - or does it have to be bought?

  4. #4
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Absolutely it can be made! Glenn would be the one to ask how to go about it...he ROCKS woodworking!
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    So good to know! I am not into spending hundreds of dollars on cabinets. Need to have options that are wallet friendly, so I am not limited in purchasing another vintage sewing machine should the right one come along.

  6. #6
    Senior Member shnnn's Avatar
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    the base on the 201 is going to be like your 15 -- it has all the rods and stuff under there, so you can't just plop it on a table. my 15 came in a base built out of 2x4s, and I couldn't tell you where, but I have seen them for sale online. I found my cabinet at the thrift store (ugly! but it works) I was actually looking for a desk to cut a hole in when I found it. --- and you can always swap it into the cabinet your 15 is in

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    There are instructions on how to make bases for machines on Treadleon.com. You might be able to find a cradle for your machine that you could mount into a cabinet or table, or even make one. Good Luck!

  8. #8
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    I actually realized I might have a cabinet sitting right next to me that would work. I know nothing of cabinets, so do not know how to evaluate. Someone gave me this cabinet free years ago. I have almost gotten rid of it a couple of times, but for some reason did not. I will get my phone and snap a few pictures and post either later today or tomorrow. Maybe someone will either recognize the type - or tell me how to know what machines it *might* work with. I'll measure the opening as well.

  9. #9
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Singers will interchange but some singers are bigger than others. Measure the opening and the distance between the hinge pins.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Okay, below are some pictures of what I have. I have to admit to being totally ignorant about sewing cabinets. I only kept it all the years because it was in good condition, and I was hoping someday I could use it (though I didn't know how). Had no idea one day I would become so interested in vintage sewing machines.

    Opening measures approximately 13-1/4 inches by 19-3/4 inches (it is just shy of those measurements). I measured the space between the hinges inside (hopefully I measured the right thing - took a close up picture of the hinges I measured) - about 12 inches from middle to middle.

    I have never been able to figure out how one attaches a sewing machine to this. I think one of the pictures is upside down, sorry about that, not sure how that happened. Thoughts as to what I can use this for? And how does one attach a sewing machine to it?

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  11. #11
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I think you use the same screw that holds the bottom plate on to the machine to hold it on to the cabinet - must be for a very modern machine - doesn't look all that vintage
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  12. #12
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    I have a collection and do not have room for all the cabinets----so I cut 2x4 into 2-15 inch pieces and 2-6 1/2 inches pieces. Made a frame with the smaller pieces to inside ----used screws to fasten .

  13. #13
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    I think I got the picture this time
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Used Singer cabinets off Craig's list are maybe $ 45. I have bought many of my sewing cabinets with machine sin it for $45-$100. You can buy one with a machine in it and just take that one out. You can also make just a box for it. Besure you take your 201 along to see if it fits. It is nice to haver a machine sit in the cabinet as the surface is all the same height around it.
    Anna Quilts

  15. #15
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    that base doesn't look too hard to make
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  16. #16
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Like that the base is simple. Monroe had referenced Treadleon - and he has instructions there for how he built his base. I don't have a 201 (yet) - and would prefer a cabinet when I do get one. But it is good to know there are options until the right cabinet (for the right price) comes along should I purchase a 201 head only.

  17. #17
    Junior Member heljoy50's Avatar
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    This site has instructions to make a wood base. http://www.ehow.com/singer-sewing-machines/

  18. #18
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    The bases are easy enough to make, my DH (who is NOT a carpenter) made one for a 99. However, it isn't absolutely necessary. My 201 is sitting atop my sewing table right now, without a base, and it works just fine. There is enough clearance underneath to allow the mechanism to work.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
    http://according-to-ginger.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
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    I have a 201 that came in a cabinet. It is the desk style made of mahogany back about 1947. It has 3 drawers on the right, a small narrow drawer at the top left, even has an ink well cut-out. I have seen them for as low as $50. I'd look in Craig's list in your area because shipping charges would probably be more than you paid for the cabinet. I found a site that had pictures of all the cabinets that Singer made. I think I Googled Singer machine cabinets, pictures or something like that. I'd actually like to find another one myself so I could put my 403a in it. It is so much more comfortable to sewing with a machine sitting flush with the lid opened up. Lots more room.

  20. #20
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    This is not a cabinet for a 201, but for a portable newer model. Some 201 machines will operate without a cabinet, you just have to set it on a table to check it. The 201 has a potted motor on the back and it needs a deeper cabinet (when you are closing it up inside the cabinet). The back of the 201 bed has 2 holes for hinge pins to insert into if you want to know if an older base or cabinet will fit measure from center to center of those 2 holes as that is the determining factor.
    pat design

  21. #21
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    You might find a junky sewing machine in a nice cabinet on CL or GW or a garage sale. Then use the good cabinet for the machine of choice and put the one you don't want in the cabinet or case you don't want and resell... I have cabinets begging for homes around here - I bought a couple at an auction for not too much - nobody else wanted them... I think cabinets are harder to get rid of than to find at least around here.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    It seems prices are a bit higher in my area, in general. I see so many posts about such good prices - and when I search for the same in my area - so much higher! Think it will take more time to find better deals here. It is amazing the pricing differential! Though one machine that seems to be pricey everywhere is the FW. So cute, would love one of those. But looking at the prices - wow.

    Thanks for the explanations about cabinets. I had to take my 15-91 out of the cabinet to take it to the shop. I didn't get how the cabinet supported all of that weight, how it was hooked in. But now I see how it works. So I better know what to look for should I find a 201 without a cabinet.

    Still have a hard time seeing how a sewing machine attaches to the empty cabinet I have. Probably because I haven't seen the right type of machine meant for that cabinet. My Janome has a smooth base, so nothing to screw onto the base in the cabinet. No matter. I find the cabinet useful for other things (like supporting the weight of a quilt on my left as I FMQ).

  23. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I think I saw where someone cut a hole in a kitchen table to make a sewing table - I guess you just might have to get inventive if all else fails. I see bargains all the time - I just can't take home all the strays.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  24. #24
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    Yes, Eleanor Burns has a video on her site detailing how to do this. The thought has crossed my mind that if push comes to shove, could build an inexpensive base for the machine, and then find an inexpensive kitchen table that could have the hole cut out to fit the base. Since a kitchen table isn't labeled for *quilting*, should be able to come across one of those for a good price!!! Refinishing is easy enough too. Or, if the machine doesn't need to sit in a base, then that eliminates that step. Not sure how it would look best. But that is way getting ahead of myself! And I might get lucky and find the machine I want in a useable cabinet. Feel like I got lucky with my 15-91 and the pretty green floral cabinet it came in. :-) I would like for some strays to find me!!

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