Adding to the Fleet: A 301

  Last Monday Hubby had a doctor’s appointment in Lacrosse.  He has a CPAP machine that he uses at night for sleeping.  It’s been a miracle for him.  He loves it and highly recommends it.  Well each year he has an annual appointment with it to make sure things are going well.  Originally I had an appointment the same day but then just last week they cancelled mine.  Technically he didn’t need me to go with but he still gets a little sleepy in the car…enough to make me nervous.  Also I thought it best for my foot.  I’m doing good with childcare and the cast but it’s still challenging and I tire easily…anyway  I kept it as a day off and rode along.

It worked out really well.  I can drive but can’t get my scooter packed in the vehicle myself so I am reliant on the mercy of others to get me around.  We stopped and did errands on the way home so that was nice for me.

…and what’s a stop to do errands without a trip to the thrift store…

This is what greeted me at the counter as I entered.


Looks like a sewing machine case to me…but what was inside??

This….a black 301 Singer.  AH.  It’s the machine I have been on the hunt for.


Oh my.  I was about in shock.  I never imagined I’d see one at the thrift store but there she was.  I really wanted to grab her and run to the counter but then I saw this…


Hmmm…$100.  UGH.

It’s not that it was a bad price.  It’s more along the lines of, I haven’t worked for half of the month and childcare providers don’t get any paid time off or sick leave or PTO.  We were fine with money but did I really need to spend the extra $100?  ahhh.

Then I noticed this note.  It was under the presser foot.


That made me a little nervous.

Well Hubby was doing errands at a different store so I made the decision to just leave the machine on the counter.  I’d browse and see if anything else was appealing.  There wasn’t much.  I continued to mill around the store and contemplate $100 isn’t a bad price.  Of course I was hoping for something cheaper but it wasn’t horrible.  The store where I was buying it donates all their profit back into the community.  It would kind of be like paying $50 for it and donating $50 to the store..right?  That made the price seem better.

I still didn’t pick it up.  I milled around the store some more.

Then I decided I’d tell Hubby about it and see what he thought.  He didn’t come.  Then I started to worry that someone else would grab the machine.  No..if I’m suppose to have it, I reasoned, it would be there when Hubby came.

By then I think I had convinced myself I’d get it…I just needed the okay from Hubby.  He doesn’t care how I spend money so I don’t know why I felt like I wanted his okay.  I knew he wouldn’t care but in the back of my mind, just in case I couldn’t get that top tension to work, I didn’t want a “you should have known” vibe from him.

Finally.  He came into the store.  I showed him the machine.  I explained that it’s the one I wanted and was looking for.  I showed him the note and the price tag….He asked if I thought I could fix the tension.  I said it likely is threaded wrong or needs a new needle.  That’s typical with thrift store machines.  He said get it if you want it.

That’s all I needed to hear.  I bought it.

I was nervous on the ride home…could I fix it or did I just blow $100?


The answer is…I fixed it.  Well actually it wasn’t broken.  The top tension was set on 9 for gathering.  I set it back to 3, adjusted the bottom tension a bit and there you have it.  A perfectly sewing machine.

I’ve not sat down and pieced a lot with it yet…but what I have done, I love.  The machine has power, is cute and just what I was looking for.  I’m in love.

As I was playing with the machine I thought that’s it.  I’m done buying machines….but who am I fooling?  If I saw a white or tan Featherweight at a good price…If I saw a 301 in tan…hmmm.  I’ll be tempted.  I won’t pay too much for them though….ah…as I said, who am I kidding?  Certainly not any of you right?

In my defense, I did leave another older Singer machine at the thrift store…I can’t remember what model it was but it was only $15.  After I got this one running I kicked myself for not getting it too…like I said, who am I  kidding??

Anyway…I am now the proud owner of a black 301.  It has an awesome case.  The manual, feet and a button hole attachment with it.  Call me HAPPY!

27 thoughts on “Adding to the Fleet: A 301”

  1. I’m so glad you got it! The 301 is my favorite machine! You got a deal…black, with a case, attachments, looks clean and in great shape, happy for you! You’ll love it!

  2. what a good buy! it always puts me off if it says something isn’t working as I am not good with adjusting tension. you sound like me shopping though, I would have done like you go back and forth looking at it and then consult hubby and then look some more but I on the other hand would have probably left it as I am not good at fixing things.

  3. you got a great deal. I have a black 301 with the case, no attachments and it is my favorite machine . have fun with yours

  4. Hooray for you! I am on the hunt for a black 301, too. I found a tan one at a thrift shop in a cabinet with no extras for $30. I was so excited. So glad yours is working good. Bravo!

  5. What a great find. My hubby and I do the same thing when buying extra things.
    We have been married 43 years, and I have finally come to the conclusion it is
    respect for each other when checking about purchases.
    My fingers are crossed you find a white or tan 221.

  6. I have a tan 301 that my daughter managed to get for me for $5 when she bought it I had no idea what I was getting until I did some research. OMW was I surprised at how sought after they are by quilters. Needless to say mine is now used very well and to top it off the machine was in excellent condition with all its parts and had been lovingly maintained.

  7. I have a tan 301 I’m looking to sell but its in a cabinet with a storage stool. Not too many people around me like the older machines. Just don’t have space for it anymore and would love to find a buyer. I live in IL so not sure anyone is looking to travel to get it either. Wish I had room to buy more of the older machines, but raising three grandsons has put a crimp in my quilting and space! But wouldn’t have it any other way! I look at it as just time to downsize!

  8. The thrift store I usually bring machines home from has no problem with people plugging them in and testing them….wonder how awful it would be to keep a spool of thread and scrap of fabric in the car? That’s really not much different from my son bringing in his handheld game system to check game cartridges.

  9. Excellent deal! $100 for a quality machine isn’t bad at all when you consider the cheapest one from Wally World will cost more than that….and fall apart in a few years. I’d love to find a good 301 or 301a for a decent price. My Pfaff 7550 is about 20 yrs. old and on borrowed time. There’s just no way I could make myself buy a new machine of similar quality that costs as much as a good used car. Would you believe a friend’s daughter was cleaning out the basement of an empty house & FOUND a 301…not rusted or anything…and the owner said to just keep it, she didn’t want it. My friend became the proud owner of a hardly used 301….for free!!! Doesn’t get any better than that.

  10. Dorothy Countryman

    I just entered the world of vintage sewing machines with a purchase of a 301A tan, in a cabinet with the three draws down the right side, and open on the other. I bought sewing machine oil and lubricant and clean and oiled it on my own (save $100 bucks there). I paid $200 for it, and I am in love!!! I haven’t touched my Viking since I brought her home. I would have paid $100 the black one as well. Hope you enjoy sewing with it. Keep us posted.

  11. I loved sewing with my 301!!! Sadly, I need to fix it as one of my young ones used it for an anchor to build a blanket tent. . . :-) Those machines aren’t that heavy, and the fall did end up torquing something so it no longer sews. . .it’s on the list to fix someday (rather a big project to take it all apart). Moral of the story, don’t use it as a weight. :-) I also love sewing with my singer 99 – better than my featherweight! I use it all the time. You might need to keep your eye out for one of those. . . ;-) So happy you found your black 301!

  12. I love 301s. I have more than one and I would rather sew on a 301 than my expensive,Pushbutton, computerized machines. They are not fussy about thread, just need a sip of oil and grease. I do admit to hating the push button controller or foot pedal. You can get more modern and comfortable ones. Enjoy yours!

  13. I do most of my home sewing on a 301a and take a featherweight if sewing someplace else. Both of them were gotten off of eBay, and I was lucky with the price and condition. You’ll love your new machine.

  14. Congratulations on your find. You will love it, Jo. My 301 is my workhorse. I use it almost every day. You got a better deal than I did on the price. Bought mine on Ebay for $249 but it was worth every cent.. Enjoy your new toy.

  15. So happy for you! My honey and I do the same thing…as Chris J said I think it is just a matter of respect for each other and our money. I was excited today to get a Singer 201-2 which has been on my wish list. She is my early birthday present.

  16. Jo, after reading your post on the Singer 301, I started doing some research. I just had a question about the bobbin location, from the pictures I saw, the bobbin case is under the machine. How do you access it without tipping the machine over? Thanks

  17. The 301 is my favorite so far! Congratulations! I have a 201 on my list and a treadle with the Tiffany decals. Then I am done!!! I need to rehome my duplicates, of which I have quite a few. It is very difficult to give them up-I get so attached to them.

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