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Sewing Machine Transformation

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Years of being stored and left alone leave machines in poor condition.  The gears get gummed up from old grease, parts rust and the motor runs poorly.

Check out this Singer 201-2 machine I got a few weeks ago.  It was painful for me to run the machine in this state but I wanted to show how much it is struggling.  The machine is running at full speed here, it is slow and squeaky.


After a full days work of disassembling,  re-wiring motor and power/pedal cords, cleaning, greasing and oiling the machine it is SO much happier!


Removed bobbin winder assembly...

... and handwheel.

 Take everything else off the machine.

 Parts to be cleaned and metal polished.  I have these parts in a tube so I can soak them in isopropyl alcohol   The alcohol loosens the dirt and grime.  Brush with a toothbrush and dry well with soft towel.  Use BlueMagic to shine silver parts.

 Bobbin winder assembly with rust...

...and bobbin winder assembly without rust.  Interestingly enough, I used a wad of tinfoil with drops of lemon juice and rubbed the foil on the rusted parts and the chemical reaction removes the rust!

Motor and handwheel parts.  Ready to be cleaned and new wires soldered in.

New motor wires.

Motor with new grease and grease wicks.

Carbon cleaned off motor armature.

 Old, cracked foot pedal and power cords...

 ...replaced with new cords.

 Tension assembly removed, parts cleaned and assembled.

Clean machine.  I use q-tips for the interior parts and cotton balls for the exterior because they're both disposable and I go through a couple handful of each!

Old grease from the motor.

Now everything is cleaned and polished ready for assembly!  I grease the gears with Tri-flow grease.

 Motor and winder back on... handwheel.

Motor wires cut to length and attached to terminal.

I oil all the oiling points with Tri-flow oil.  The best oil for machines!  If you don't have Tri-flow, use regular sewing machine oil and nothing else!

Use Singer brand lubricant for the motor gears - not Tri-flow.  Tri-flow grease is for non-motor gears.

I used BlueMagic metal polish to buff and shine the silver metal pieces.  This stuff is amazing!  I brush the cream on with a tooth brush and clean and buff with cotton balls.

Here's the finished product inside one of the wooden sewing bases I made. See tutorial here of how I made the base.

If you don't know it by now, the Singer 201-2's are my favorite machine to work on!  They're sexy and stealthy all at the same time... is that even possible?

If you're interested in re-furbishing your own machine, I have motor re-wiring kits for sale on Ebay.
7 comments on "Sewing Machine Transformation"
  1. I recently purchased a 201-2 that was installed in a cabinet. While the motor and foot controller cords were in very bad shape your blog made that easy to motor fell in the, "Best case", scenario and doesn't appear to have been used much as the brushes appeared to be either new or recently replaced. Rewiring the motor wasn't something I would've even considered until reading your step-by-step. I got my machine and cabinet for eighty buck so I don't think I got hurt to bad on that. Plan on refinishing the cabinet in the next few days. In the meantime, if you could point me in the direction of where to find instructions on how to rewire the light that would be awesome....also, taking the internals apart so I can clean it top to bottom or links where I can download manuals. Thanks in advance and awesome blog!!!

  2. are you still selling rewiring kits for Singer 201? I have a cabinet model that has both a foot and knee pedal.

    1. Yes, here they are:


  3. Love your site....your boys are lucky to have such a handy mom!


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