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Thread: Singer 301A Purchase Dilemma

  1. #1
    Senior Member Canada Kate's Avatar
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    Singer 301A Purchase Dilemma

    I have an opportunity to purchase a fully restored 301A from a local machine repair shop for $235. The cost is not the issue. Space is not the issue. The issue is that I already have a 1958 Featherweight that I bought a couple of months ago and now do all my piecing on. I also have a 2009 Jamome 4100QDC that I quilt on. I read here that so many of you love your 301A's so I have no doubt that it would be a nice machine to have. BUT - would I use it if I love my FW? What would make me want to use the 301A as opposed to the FW?

    What would you do? And would you use the 301A if you already had two machines like I do? (I don't really want to start collecting vintage machines...but it is definately tempting!)

    1951 Singer 301A - "Jean"
    1958 Singer Featherweight - "Verna"
    2009 Janome 4100QDC - Nameless


  2. #2
    Senior Member cmrenno's Avatar
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    Only two machines???????????????????? I have eight and only three are vintage. They are like people. Each has a different personality!

  3. #3
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I hear the 301s to a great job with FMQ. I'm hoping to get my Mom's someday. When/if I do I'll have machines in three separate areas of my house - my sewing room (Viking), living room (301) and basement (FW). That way I can sew while watching TV or in between loads of laundry. I also layout quilts on the bed in the basement so it makes it easier to have a sewing machine right there. Like you, I don't want to be a collector. I think three will be my limit.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Baby Catcher's Avatar
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    I have a 301 but I never use it because I love my FW so much. Lately though I have been sewing bags and I've been using my 401 and 201. Some day I'll find the perfect use for the 301. I say buy it!

  5. #5
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Have you seen this thread, yet:

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...d-t168818.html

    I think that you might find that each model has it's own pros and cons. As for me, I like having more than one machine because sometimes I have more than one project going at the same time. This way I don't have to worry about changing thread colors, etc.
    ~~Cathy~~

  6. #6
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    the slant needle is so much easier on neck and sholders, visability is fantastic for the perfect scant 1/4 inch that said the price is kinda high unless it includes the table....love FW but they can move around a bit if sewing something large and they do not have the slant needle

  7. #7
    Super Member janiesews's Avatar
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    I use my FW and my 301A and my Bernina, and my serger and hope to get my treadle up and going this year!! My kids think I'm nuts-but I like all of them and use them for different projects. The 301 is a good machine and I think you would enjoy it and would still use your FW. Good luck with your decision.
    This too shall pass.
    Janie

  8. #8
    Super Member Quiltbeagle's Avatar
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    I also have a older Featherweight but just love the slant needle on the 301. To save my really expensive computerized machine from any damage I also use my 301 to sew patches on my husband's leather biker vest...and it doesn't seem to struggle with them a bit.

  9. #9
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    I have both 301 and 211, plus a few other vintage and modern machines....9 in all. All the above comments are true...each machine has it's own personality, and I use them for different things, and just because they are fun to sew on. My 301 is my go to machine for quilt piecing, my modern Brother is for doing zigzag for machine applique. I take my Featherweight to any classes or retreats, or to sew at my friend's house. My treadles sit at home, but I love sewing on them. I have 2 model 15s waiting to be cleaned up and an antique Davis Vertical Feed to put in some kind of base so I can sew on them, too. I have a 99 that I put a hand crank on to take camping, but haven't had a chance to do that yet. So, you see, different machines for different reasons.

  10. #10
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    My grandson just asked me why I had so many machines (as he cleaned up my garage) and what was I going to do with them all. My answer....1 for each thread color so I don't have to change the thread/bobbin out! Thought that was as good an explanation as I could come up with on the spot!! LOL

  11. #11
    Super Member BarbaraSue's Avatar
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    I don't have a FW, but I do have a 301. I love it, and sew on it more than the 15-91, the treadle, the Wards signature, the old Kenmore, the Viking Rose, or the Pfaff expressions 3.0. But I do still sew on the others. I just do different things on them.
    I primarily use the 301 because I can sew in the evening or at night, and not keep anyone up (except the cat, he thinks he helps me sew). The 301 is such a quiet machine for an electric. It just barely makes any noise, or at least mine doesn't. So, I think you'd like it. It is just a bit bigger than that of your FW.
    To make lots of quilts, is to have lots of scraps, and I do, and I do.
    BarbaraSue

  12. #12
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canada Kate View Post
    I have an opportunity to purchase a fully restored 301A from a local machine repair shop for $235. The cost is not the issue. Space is not the issue. The issue is that I already have a 1958 Featherweight that I bought a couple of months ago and now do all my piecing on. I also have a 2009 Jamome 4100QDC that I quilt on. I read here that so many of you love your 301A's so I have no doubt that it would be a nice machine to have. BUT - would I use it if I love my FW? What would make me want to use the 301A as opposed to the FW?

    What would you do? And would you use the 301A if you already had two machines like I do? (I don't really want to start collecting vintage machines...but it is definately tempting!)

    You will use the FW for piecing and the 301 for quilting the finished, pieced top. 301 machines have ability to drop feed dogs, they have a larger underarm space, they are slant needle, the bobbins are same as 221 and they are all metal gears, hard to find a better lightweight quilting companion. They are very portable and only weigh about 17 lbs.
    pat design

  13. #13
    Senior Member Canada Kate's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's input on this! I don't see any resounding negative opinions, which is kind of what I was hoping for. I think I'm going to get her. :-) It's a beige one and according to the serial number, she was made in 1951. I've emailed the seller to ask if I can go and see it tomorrow.

    I'm going to assume that my 1/4" foot that fits my FW will also work for this? I guess I'll have to get a walking foot for this, since I haven't learned how to FMQ yet - would a generic one work, or do you need a specific Singer walking foot?
    1951 Singer 301A - "Jean"
    1958 Singer Featherweight - "Verna"
    2009 Janome 4100QDC - Nameless


  14. #14
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    The 301 is a slant needle. You have to have slant needle feet. I am pretty sure the FW is not a slant needle but the feet are readily available.

    I love my 301. Just sewed on it this afternoon before coming to work. Have a headache today so the quietness is appreciated!

  15. #15
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Unfortunately there are no "good" walking feet available for the 301. There are many that are marketed as fitting the 301 and they do, but they are too wide for the feed dogs. There is not one walking foot one the market that will do what it's supposed to and that is feed the top in conjunction with the bottom feed dogs. I'm hoping that eventually some one will get smart and engineer a proper walking foot for the 301, as of now you can either got without or buy one of the modified ones for sale that will fit, but won't work 100% like it should.

    Your 301 will take different feet from your FW.

  16. #16
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    As already posted, although the 221 and 301 can share bobbins, they cannot share feet, the 221 is a low shank machine, and the 301 is a slant shank, but feet are readily available for it. You can get older singer slant shank walking feet on ebay for this machine.
    pat design

  17. #17
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    here is another 2 cents.........the 301 without a walking foot is like other machines with a walking foot..the way the slant needle feeds and works with the feed dogs (and the visability may play into this) is a joy !!!! the 1/4 inch marking on the plate is accurate and if you sew still able to see the line you have a perfect scant 1/4 inch (using aurifil thread). hope you post photos... mine is light beige and oyster white and has the table.

  18. #18
    Member Sew happy's Avatar
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    I have a 301. It's a great machine but enjoy some of the features on a computerized machine more, ie,needle down or up feature, push button reverse. Also, some machines do a secure stitch automatically at the beginning of your sewing project. Also, I think the price is a bit high and you may be able to find a better price if you look for it. 301 is strong, dependable, faster than the featherweight and has beautiful straight stitches.

  19. #19
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I think the price is a bit hit on that 301, I love the 301. I have two but paid a lot less.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Canada Kate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deedum View Post
    I think the price is a bit hit on that 301, I love the 301. I have two but paid a lot less.
    Well, that may be the case, but I've been watching my local Kijiji and Craig's List (CL), as well as eBay, for several months and can't seem to find one that has been fully restored and guaranteed by the restorer for less. There was a black 301A that recently went for $135 on eBay, but by the time I pay to ship it to Canada, and get it restored, I'm closer to $300.

    I see posts on here where people get FW's and other antique machines at roadside sales and Goodwill for like $20, but I have to tell you I have never seen anything near that in the large Canadian city where I live. There is someone on CL right now who is trying to sell a FW - not refurbished - for $500. If y'all know where someone in Canada can get vintage machines for less, by all means, let me know!
    1951 Singer 301A - "Jean"
    1958 Singer Featherweight - "Verna"
    2009 Janome 4100QDC - Nameless


  21. #21
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I don't think the price is unreasonable if it comes with a warrantee and has been completely restored. I own 4 of them and I have to tell you, out of the 4 I've bought at a good price ALL of them have needed several hours of work and sometimes $ for parts. It's great to get a "deal", but 50 year old machines tend to need some attention. Usually they are up for sale because they either don't work or have something wrong with them. Out of the 15 vintage machines I own, I believe there have only been like 3 or 4 that didn't need some kind of work on them. So....if you trust the person and the machine is in very good condition, buy it and you will love it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Canada Kate's Avatar
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    Thank you Candace for validating my purchase price, I think you are right! I went to see her this afternoon and she came home with me. The man selling her, Gus, led me down to his basement where he had it set up on a small sewing table in his laundry room. The room was immaculate, the walls and floor entirely tiled in white ceramic. It reminded me of a hospital! Mr. Clean would have been right at home. I asked him how he came to be in this business and he said that he used to work for Singer, and then when they were bought out, he worked for the new parent company, and then he retired. He showed me his work room, equally as neat as the "delivery" area, and he has a ton of machines to work on or ready to sell. He had a couple of FWs with the long beds. I think I might ask him to keep an eye out for a white FW and let me know if he ever gets one.

    This 301A is in *mint* condition - not a mark or a scratch on her. It's the darker beige one, but the flash makes it look off-while in the photos below. It looks brand new and he's guaranteed it for a year, but he said he didn't think there would be any issues as these machines are so well made. Much better than the new plastic ones. I'm going to call her Jean, after my maternal grandmother.
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    1951 Singer 301A - "Jean"
    1958 Singer Featherweight - "Verna"
    2009 Janome 4100QDC - Nameless


  23. #23
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    Wow, that machine looks showroom new. You are really lucky to find one so mint. I would almost be afraid to sew on it!

    Pat

  24. #24
    Super Member nhnative's Avatar
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    I wish I had known that this summer. At a yard sale they had one for sale for $50 and it even had a cabinet.

  25. #25
    Junior Member JMCDA's Avatar
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    Kate - nice to hear you had a good experience with Gus! We have been looking for a nice machine for our daughter, who lives in Ottawa, and since daddy is a 6 hr drive away we think it would be best if she trys to find a machine that is already refurbished that she can bring home and start sewing on, rather than having to wait for fix-ups.
    I will tell her to give him a call and see if he has anything she might like.
    Congrats on your 301, it looks brand new...but everything he has advertized on Kijiji looks brand new!

    Joann

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