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I had just picked up my Singer 201-2 from being tuned up at Modern Domestic. I was really excited to finally see how she worked, because I still hadn’t done any real sewing on her. I carried the machine over to one of my sewing tables and discovered that Tony (he services the machines) had made sure she was securely fastened into the carrying case. I had merely set the machine inside the case for transportation purposes, and hadn’t bothered to actually attach it. I thought I’d sew on it a bit and then unscrew the machine from the bottom of the carrying case, because I like the machine just the way it is, sitting on table.

I was so happy with the stitches and the soft purring of my pretty machine. Did I ever tell you I finally named her? I settled on Charlotte the Singer. For a while I considered Ruby, but no, it just didn’t fit. Charlotte’s stitches were perfectly even and beautiful. She hummed right along thru any fabric I gave her, without questioning even several layers of thick coating.

After a bit of playing around, I knew it was time for me to get back to work, which meant Charlotte had to be put away. I was intending to move her over to my large drafting table where I could easily remove the carrying case base from her, and then set her back on her perch in the corner of my sewing room. I put the case top on, clicked the side clips closed, and picked up the case. All I had to do was turn around, and she’d be on the drafting table. I really wish that’s how these events had transpired.

I don’t quite know how it happened. Maybe the case clasps came undone, or maybe I hadn’t fully snapped one of them shut. One minute Charlotte was in her case, and the next minute she was crashing to the ground. A loud “NOOOOOOOOOO!” came out of my mouth, because it felt like I had just dropped a baby on the ground. My 72-year-old, cast-iron baby, was broken. I didn’t care that she had put four deep gouges in the wood floor, two of them being from the plastic carrying case. If that case wouldn’t have been attached, who knows what else would have broken or bent on the bottom of the machine. I probably owe Tony some cookies or something.


What happen next involved a lot of f-bombs and a few tears. I felt sick to my stomach. How was I ever going to find parts to replace what had just broken into a few tiny pieces?

Singer201-broken3I looked over the machine, and didn’t notice many other marks or scuffs. There was one corner with a bit of grey paint on it (my floor is painted grey), but except for her power block falling apart and her bobbin tension disk needing adjustment, she seemed to be okay. THANK GOD.

Singer201-broken4I remembered a website that I would often look at before I found Charlotte on Craigslist. It’s Singer Original Vintage Products, so I hopped on there and emailed Duane, the owner, with a few photos of what had happened. I heard back from him within twenty minutes, and he had the part I needed. At this point I knew I could stop feeling like throwing up, but I wasn’t going to be happy until I had the replacement piece in my hand.

Singer201-broken2It came in the mail a few days later, and it’s a perfect match. I am SO RELIEVED! Charlotte will need to go back into the shop to have the power block replaced, but I’m so thankful that this old beauty will live to sew again.

  • So happy for you, that you could find a replacement piece for the one that broke:) That reminds me, I have to take photos of the old machine my Mum has!

    • I’m happy too! It was such a relief to get the piece in the mail and see that it was the right one. And yes! Take a photo of your Mom’s machine! I have some good sources to pass on to you for finding out a Singer machine’s birthday, if it turns out to be a Singer.

      • Going to see Mum this weekend, I told her to remind me 🙂 Seems it’s buried in the back of the garage, so I probably won’t be able to get to it 😉 Would be lovely to find out how old it is, I think it was a Singer.

  • Ledys

    So glad things turned out okay!

  • Lana

    I’m glad all turned out well. I was holding my breath reading your story. We all love our Featherweights!

    • I’m glad as well! I was so scared. It’s not a Featherweight, it’s a 201-2 Singer Dressmaker, but it’s just as precious to me!

  • Yolanda

    Oh, my heart BLED for you when I read this! I am so glad you will have a happy ending. Oh, my….

    • Thank you for the sympathy! I haven’t heard if she’s fixed yet, so I won’t be happy until she’s safely back in my sewing room. I’ve got my fingers crossed that there will be no problem installing the new part!

  • Tamara Oster

    Oh Amy, when I read this I was throwing up right along with you. These featherweights are precious. I am so thankful that you were able to find the replacement part and Charlotte will be up and running once again.

    • I was a mess! Sorry if I caused you stress too- lol! I absolutely love this machine, and even though it’s a 201-2 Dressmaker, and not a Featherweight, it’s still a lovely vintage machine. I know I really lucked out when I found the part I needed! Now I just need to get the call that she’s back up and running…. I’m still nervous that she won’t work!

  • whitedragonstudios

    I have a lovely 201k handcrank, so I am glad to hear Charlotte can be repaired–the 201 is a wonderful machine and you will love using it. Get a vintage buttonhole maker to go with and you’ll be in heaven!

    • I’ve looked around, but I haven’t found a buttonhole maker for her yet. I did find a stash of accessory feet, which I’ll be happy to try out once she’s back in one piece and working again!

  • Sew Create It – Jane

    I felt ill for you! I’m so glad you were able to get a replacement part!!

    • I knew that other readers who sew would feel my pain! I am so happy the part fit- apparently Charlotte is ready to picked up from the shop already. Keep your fingers crossed she works!

  • Lulus Atelier

    That is a real bummer…but don’t lose hope…these babies are incredibly resilient. Remember, they were built to last. So just pamper it when she comes back… And always remember to put first the case into a countertop or stable surface. Hope to hear updates on Charlotte’s recovery!

    • She is resilient! If I had dropped any other machine, it would have shattered. I recently got her back from being serviced, and she appears to work just fine. The bobbin tension is a tiny bit off, but I can adjust that by using my finger to ever so slightly put tension on the thread. I’ll never put her in that case again!

  • Andrea

    Amy,I have a singer I love too. Its a Quantum 900. Only special to me though. She’s a beauty. Really meant for fine work. A repair man once told me that. Well, I broke the shank many years ago. It took months to find the part. It does give you an icky feeling in your stomach. All fixed now. Whew! And… I just took your beginner serging and its great. I will send pictures when I finish the stuff I make. Thank you, Andrea

    • Hi Andrea! I tried to look up your machine, but I couldn’t find anything on it. I always love seeing the old Singers, with their fancy scroll work and decals.

      I’m so glad you found the part you needed for her! Yes, it was aaaawful to see mine broken. Isn’t it funny how much you can love something that’s inanimate, as if you can feel its pain when it’s broken?

      I’m so glad you like my Craftsy class! 🙂 I hope you’re loving your serger now and finding all kinds of excuses to use it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Andrea

    Hi Amy, I wrote down the wrong model for my Singer. The correct model number is the Quantum XL1. I just watched a video about it on youtube after you gave me the idea to look it up and learned something about it! You can check out the video! BTW…having a little trouble with my serger. Behaves badly. You make it look so easy!! I am determined to get this. I have a cheapo serger until I figure out what I want to spend my $$$ on. I am a shnook because I had a 40+ stitch computerized Bernina but it overwhelmed me. I sold it on Craigslist for a loss and bought this little $200 Singer as Joann’s to practice on because I thought a simpler machine would be easier to learn on. Probably need an auto threader and a cover stitch. The $200 Singer does 4-6 stitches. Sorry this is so long but I don’t have any sewing friends I can talk to! 🙁
    I used to be in a sewig club sort of local but it broke up! New Jersey is not a big sewing mecca.

    • Aahh- I see! I’ve never played with one of those sewing machines, but I’m glad you found a video online to help you discover something new about it. I have to say that the Singer sergers are kind of notorious for behaving badly. I wish you still had your Bernina! You should talk to your local Bernina dealer about doing a trade-in on your machine. I know that Modern Domestic out here has trade-in deals sometimes, but I’m not sure if that’s something that all Bernina dealers participate in. I’d be happy to help you try to adjust your Singer so you’re happier with your stitches over on Craftsy. It’s a little bit harder for me to help in blog comments! 😉

      Speaking of sewing friends though, have you ever considered going to something like Sewing Summit? I think you’d have a lot of fun, and of course, meet plenty of people who love to talk about sewing!