the hoarder next door

the singer 401 needle and threading

I have added another vintage singer sewing machine to my collection.

Well, I say collection, that’s stretching it a bit as what I have only amounts to 2 vintage singer sewing machines, my steadfast frister rossman and a miniature sewing machine that I don’t use.

the singer 401 top tension wheel

That, however, in the eyes of my lovely husband makes it a collection and me a hoarder.

But less about that and more about this solid little machine……..

the singer 401 needle and feeder plate

It is a singer 401 which dates from about late 50s – early 60s and unlike the singer 320k which has become the sewing machine equivalent of the love of my life, it was made in germany rather than in great britain. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say!  True, as we all know about german engineering.

The Singer 401 is heavy and very sturdy with a solid sound when you sew with it.  It has a built in embroidery and decorative stitch options with a lift up plate on the top showing all of these options. It also has a very sensible threading diagram in the inside of the hinged end for access to the needle workings and it has become another sewing delight in my life.

the singer 401 made in germany

During my research about it I found this fabulous blog about how to refurbish a singer 401 and it is full of fantastic information for anyone who owns one of these machines.

I spent some time a few weekends ago cleaning it and oiling it as, although it had obviously been looked after and was in good working order, it had been stored in a loft for a long time unused and was definitely a bit on the stiff side.

It isn’t as pretty as the 320k but it is a lovely sturdy little machine and I am generally very happy with my purchase. I have only found one problem with it that I am sure will resolve itself in time and once the oil does it’s work and that is that I haven’t been able to loosen the second dial for the stitch options. That  means, unfortunately until it loosens up I will only be able to do straight stitching.

the singer 401 after it’s clean and oil

If anyone is ever thinking of investing in a sewing machine, these old models really are fantastic and shouldn’t be dismissed for the newer versions. If you have some patience and don’t mind how heavy your machine is, these vintage beauties could be right up your street.

Some of these old machines are incomplete and a search on the internet is often required to equip yourself fully but this Singer 401 is pretty complete. It comes with the electrical cable, pedal foot, instruction manual and an in tact carry case. Whilst I was cleaning and oiling the machine, I also discovered that it has an extension arm for the working flat bed which is stored inside the carry case.

This extension also holds drawers that contain all the spare bits; the cleaning brush, screw drivers and lots and lots of different feet. It even has the receipt and ID tag for the service it received in november 1976.

I think it has been well used and very well loved and I like it so much more knowing this. I also love knowing a little about where it came from.

the singer 401 spares and extra sewing feet

That brings me onto the back story to the machine and how I came to own it.

I bought it from a lovely lady called Samantha who lives in Catford and she has been selling some of the things in her Nan’s loft on ebay. I had been watching the machine and when it didn’t sell, Samantha approached me direct. I picked it up some weeks ago but sadly we didn’t meet.

That has subsequently changed but more about that later……….

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