Singer 301 Sewing Machine

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Singer 301 Sewing Machine
Beige and White Singer 301 Sewing Machine

Singer 301 Sewing Machine

Rear View Singer 301 Slant Needle Sewing Machine

The 301 was available in two-tone shown above, all tan, and black. The factory lingo for the color combination used on the 2-tone Singer 301s was "Light Beige Oyster White", or LBOW for short.

While the threading diagram is not printed on the machine like some Singers, if you have ever threaded any Singer, this model contains no surprises.

A bobbin case is used and takes some getting use to (especially if one has fat fingers), but once you have the hang of removing and installing it, it becomes easier.

For darning or embroidering the feed is rendered inoperative by turning the big black screw seen left of the bobbin case - unsophisticated but effective.

We purchased our 301A and cabinet at a Goodwill store near Charleston, West Virginia for $30.00 during November 2006. The machine is in near perfect condition but the cabinet has marks on top from someone placing wet objects on it.

Our machine sews nicely both forward and in reverse and the stitches look pretty much the same in either direction.

Quilters note: The presser foot has a 1/4-inch guide on the left side only. If you like a 1/4-inch seam allowance on the right side, you will need to add another foot or use some other guide as reference. We have feet for our machines that are 1/2-inch wide with rollers and some are clear plastic so we can obtain a seam allowance on either side of the needle. We also place a strip of tape on the bed as a guide. There are a corresponding number and size of feed dogs to match the factory foot. You need to understand that if you put on another foot, some contact surfaces will not be over a feed dog. (Same as Featherweight.)

I'm reminded that this 301 was made to sew everything from dresses to draperies and not everyone sews nothing but quilt patches.

Only accessories for a slant-needle machine will fit the 301. The owner's manual describes operation of many attachments for the 301 including an Automatic Zigzagger capable of 16 fancy stitch patterns.

Our 301A has serial number NB110140 made during 1956 in Anderson, South Carolina

Singer 301 Sewing Machine

Caution: if the throat plate is removed for cleaning (which you need to do occasionally) make absolutely sure the position finger of the bobbin case enters a notch on the bottom of the plate during reassembly. Voice of experience and I would never have figured it out without the owner's manual.

Our 301 is somewhat like a full-size Featherweight in its capabilities, simplicity, ease and smoothness of operation. It is a straight-stitch machine and it does that beautifully. You can really appreciate its simplicity when it comes time to lubricate it and not have to worry about the mechanisms used to drive cams, zig-zag hardware, needle centering, etc. Additionally, it is much easier for the motor. There is very little which can go wrong with the all-mechanical 301 if it is kept cleaned and lubricated. The electrical cords should be checked often for signs of deterioration or wear.

Singer 301 Sewing Machine Short Bed Extension
Hinged Short Bed Extension

The machine has a short-hinged bed extension that allows greater access to the bobbin case while the machine is in the cabinet.

Changing the bobbin takes some getting use to. The black knob to the left of the bobbin is how the feed dogs are raised and lowered.

Also, there is a cradle that the machine base is attached to prior to placing it into the cabinet.

Features we like:

  1. Smooth, quiet and well balanced
  2. Inclined needle bar places work closer to your line of vision
  3. Easy starting-you don't have to manually spin the handwheel
  4. Good range of control on speed from slow to fast using foot/knee control
  5. Easy to carry - has built-in carrying handle
  6. Light weight aluminum head weighs only 16 pounds
  7. Both electrical cords can be replaced without rewiring the machine
  8. The spool pins are springs that allow them to bend and not break.
  9. Full-size machine
  10. Metal gear driven; not plastic gears - no belts
  11. No plastic

Upper Thread Tension Adjustment

Upper Thread Tension
Black Singer 301 Sewing Machine
Black Singer 301 With Long Bed Extension

This is our black 301. It is different from the tan machine shown earlier. Most noticeable is the longer bed extension on the black machine which measures 5-1/2" compared to 2-7/8" on the tan model. Also, the tan machine has both a 2- and 3-prong electrical connectors whereas the black machine has only a 3-prong electrical connector. The connector can be seen in the image below.

Serial number of this machine is NA141670. According to Singer's web site, it was manufactured in 1951 in Anderson, South Carolina.

Singer 301 With Bed Extension Raised

A really sweet thing about this machine is that it will sew on its own thread. That means if you don't have fabric under the presser foot and operate the machine, it will not cause a jam. Some of our machines will form a serious knot or wrap the thread around the bobbin case if fabric is not in position. The 301 is great for assembly-line sewing of quilt patches and several stitch lengths are between the pieces.

Singer 301 Slant Needle Long Bed
Singer 301 Slant Needle Long Bed

The above image shows the slant needle on the Singer 301. Specialized feet and attachments are required for the slant needlebar.

Beige Singer 301
All Beige Singer 301 Sewing Machine

The beige Singer 301 above was given to jim by Elizabeth's mother who found the machine in New York. It was a great gift since the machine had its bobbin case installed. Serial Number is NA038638.

The bobbin case is often missing from these machines; if so, the number for a replacement could be either 45750 or 45751 and can be quite expensive.

This view also shows the shape of the 301's feed dogs and presser foot.

Singer 301 or Featherweight Bobbin Case