Lavender, 1948 Singer 201K-3
I’m a Singer girl. I’ve flirted with other machines (I even had a White 77 Rotary machine), but always return to my first love. All but one of my collection are Singers. They stitch straight and true and never disappoint. I love all my Singers. There is one, though, that has risen up through the ranks to become my main machine. She is the Rolls Royce of all machines. She makes the most perfect stitch. She is fast and quiet. She is my 1948 Singer 201K-3 (Lavender).
Lavender was born in Singer’s flagship factory in 1948. The Kilbowie Factory (also known as the Clydebank Factory) was the largest factory in the world. (Find out more about Singer’s history.)It had the capacity to manufacture 8000 sewing machines a week, employed 3500 people, and manufactured sewing machines that were sent around the globe. A well trained workforce was never late for their shifts once Singer built its most famous landmark, the clock shown in the photo. (Find out more about the Clydebank Factory.)
Lavender was a Christmas gift from my husband (2015). She came complete with a Singer buttonholer, all her original attachments, and Singer’s Automatic ZigZagger. She had everything I needed to sew, zigzag, and even create a few simple decorative stitching. She can stitch ruffles, blind hems, rolled hems, and binding. Singer’s Buttonhole attachment is one of my favourite things. It creates THE perfect button hole each and every time. Since the stitch is controlled by a template, the oddly sized buttonhole problem is nonexistent.
The 201K-3 machines are highly sought after. They can be run by electricity (which mine is) or set into a treadle cabinet. This is a unique feature of the 201K-3 machines. Quilting, embroidery, and darning are easily done on the 201K-3s as it is equipped with the option of dropping the feed dogs by turning a large thumb screw located underneath.
This machine is powerful enough to sew through anything. I’ve challenged it with everything from thick denim seams to very thick layers of fabric and stabilizers used in bags. Lavender doesn’t skip a stitch or grown. I don’t even have to walk her over the thickness. She does equally well with thin cottons and fine dress material. I love that she makes a very short stitch that allows me to navigate small curves and tight turns that are involved in doll making. There are very few machines that make a quality stitch as small as a Singer can.
Yes, it is true that Lavender is a straight stitch only machine fitted with a backstitch and can drop her feed dogs. Compared to the machines of today, this might seem like an inferior machine. I argue that this is all you need to create quality clothing, drapery, home decorative items, and superior bags and wallets. I argue that, even though you have auto threaders, all sorts of complicated embroidery capabilities and other modern features on modern machines, Lavender will out sew these plastic, soulless creations.
Singer was good at knowing what a stitcher needs to keep up with modern trends. Singer knew that stitchers wanted to get creative with their stitching. They created the Singer Automatic ZigZagger attachment to enable stitchers to incorporate decorative stitching into their projects. Lavender has one of these amazing attachments. I love to play around with the decorative stitches and use them whenever I need to add a touch of dazzle to my projects.
Modern manchines require you to spend your hard earned money on servicing and cleaning by a professional . I can completely service any of my vintage machines on my own. I oil and grease them. I clean them. I tune up their motors. I keep them stitching. Many of the machines in my sewing family have been around since the early to mid 1900s. Generations of stitchers have used them to clothe their families. My vintage ladies will keep on stitching for generations to come. Will your modern machine be around as long?
Tell me about your favourite sewing machine, attachments, or accessories. Do you have any favourite features?