Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Updates Soon, and Send Me Craigslist Photos to ID!

Have you gotten any better at ID’ing Singers from Craigslist photos? I hope so, as it can really pay off. Case in point: I’m selling a 201 to an acquaintance, and she needs a table for it. I started cruising Craigslist looking for cheap sewing machine tables/cabinets to buy, and came across this one for $30 (cheap for the NYC area):

I immediately recognized it as a 206, Singer’s first zigzag. At 30 bucks I couldn’t pass it up, so I went the next day and fetched the machine. Not a bad deal; I've got a table for my buyer and scooped up a great machine in the process. 

So how could I tell it was a 206?
The giveaways that this was a 206

Model 206s are not easy to come by, and the ad was a week old by the time I stumbled on it. If the person had put “Singer 206” at the top of their ad, I’m sure the machine would’ve been long gone. 

If you need help ID’ing a Singer from a crappy photo, e-mail me a photo or a link to the ad, and I’ll identify it for you if I can. (I’ll post those photos and explanations here, but don't worry, I won't post the link to the ad if you're worried about competition from other buyers.) You can e-mail me at:

vintage (dot) singers (dot) nyc (at) gmail (dot) com 

Due to popular demand, I’ve been working on tutorials for how to re-wire a potted motor, like you’d find on a model 15-91 and a 201-2. Because I’m writing it up “… For Dummies” style, it is going to be long. I am aiming this tutorial at people who have zero electrical experience, so there’s quite a lot of information and tips I need to convey, and even reviews of different tools you can do the job with. Please be patient and I'll starting posting the multi-part series soon. 

In the meantime, feel free to send those Craigslist photos if you need help.


  1. I think your tutes are great! Estate sales usually have grainy pics and unless its a featherweight (and sometimes not even then) they don't highlight the machines or list what they are.

    I ID'd and purchased a 15-91 2 weeks ago in a bentwood case for $40! So excited to venture into what looks to become an interesting hobby. That tute for the wiring sound like a great idea, and I'm happy to wait ~~ I'm the 'electronics for dummies' reader that will appreciate it.

    I'll do a search on your site, but learning what cabinets go with what machines is my next thing to scout for; any tips are appreciated!

  2. So true! That is a very nice machine. Used your tip from the previous post, and was then able make my own power cord for a 403 that needed one. Thanks!

  3. As luck would have it, my friend Mary found a 15-91 at a yard sale for me for $15. It runs, but it's missing a brush from the motor, so I can't wait to see your tutorial. She also found the spinet cabinet for the 301s, but I need to drive about 400 miles to pick it up.

  4. I had to take a look at my 206 because I did not recognize that shiny stitch length regulator. I guess I better clean mine up. Yes, do the tutorial on rewiring the notor. I could use the help, but if you don't hurry I might just start in with my 201. You know, the peek and shriek..

  5. How can I send you pictures of machines I want to identify? Some are not from CL.

  6. Hi Miriam, assuming the machines you're looking at is online, you can e-mail me the URL/web address, just cut-and-paste it from the window at the top of your browser.

  7. I was doing a random search and found your blog. So glad I did. I have a 201 that I will have to take the motor apart on, your tutorial will be so helpful. I have 39 machines, (about 1/2 are Singers) purchased for the love of them, but they all need some type of help even if it's just cleaning. I already can see that I will find a lot of information that will help me out with making these babies shine and purr.


  8. I absolutely love this blog. I am very new to the "vintage sewing machine" world and have truly fallen in love with these machines. So far, I have one Featherweight, one 99-13, and one 66-1 Treadle. These are for my own personal use. I can't wait to get them all working smoothly. Thank you for all the great information.

  9. I have a 206D made in Germany and Ive been told it takes a 15X1 Needle It goes but does not sew, I'm looking for a new bobbin case, can't find one and the singer service center that I took it too, gave it back and said they can't help me, I think it confused them because it looks like a 206 but it's not. can you help me?

    1. I've seen photos of the different 206 that I think you're describing, but have never laid hands on one myself, so have no direct experience with it. I'm afraid the only way I can help you is if you bring the machine to me (I'm in Manhattan, NYC) so that I can take a look and test some different bobbin cases with it.