Thursday, March 12, 2015

Singer 301A Meets Spinet No. 74

(Linking with Quilting is More Fun than Housework's Oh Scrap)

I have finally achieved my goal of uniting my No. 74 Cabinet with a Singer 301A and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

Here's my latest sewing cockpit.

It's small and efficient, not to mention kinda cute. A much better presentation when you enter my very open floor plan home than the plastic table. Yes, that black door is my front entrance. 

There are huge advantages to sewing in my dining room. I am not at all removed from Hubs while he is taking his much needed and deserved evening rest watching TV. We can talk, as long as I'm not sporting my wireless earphones and watching a program on my iPad while I sew. I also have a great view of the TV with my sewing space straddling that short wall. 

I recently purchased two TV trays at an estate sale and have converted one into a portable ironing pad. It's great to have close by and now I only use my 2'x4' to iron large cuts. The second stand makes a great landing spot for my tools and a drink.

I never really thought about how my Lafuma chair would look with the No. 74 but I am pretty happy with the combo.

This setup is a bit of a teaser since the 301A is covered but look at all that fabric. My ironing station is covered with a bright home dec cut from Ikea, my scrappy sewing machine cover fits nicely over the 301A and you can see I'm set to sew blocks 19 and 20 for my Great Granny Square project. I actually put together blocks 16 and 17 on this setup last night. I have used 3 different machines to piece my granny blocks! Good thing the white is oversized so that the points don't even come into play when they are trimmed to 12.5 inches!

Here's a tour of the Spinet No. 74 features, starting with a proper shot of her fully closed. I've never shared a photo like this before because I felt like she wasn't finished when she held the Singer 15-90.

She is the blonde wood version and she has a chrome bead around the bottom of her casing and chrome on the tips of her legs. I do not have the matching stool. I really don't mind because if I did I would be tempted to exclusively use it and I much prefer using a chair with a back. She has two piano hinges which are very handy. She is that adorable trapezoid shape that Singer chose to accent their updated machine shape. Pure genius.

Feature number one is a storage area that flips out on that first piano hinge. It reveals the knee space and provides a bit of storage. It has a row of thread pins. I like that the bent wood detail continues inside the cabinet.

That second piano hinge allows this gate leg to fold out. This adds stability by expanding the footprint and it provides solid support for the fold out leaf. This little cabinet is rock solid even though it has a lightness of design.

This is the entire work surface that is created when the cabinet is unfolded. 

Here's the surprise tucked inside. Notice how the opening is offset. I've read that it mimics the 9% slant that Singer used for the 301, their first "Slant-Needle" machine. The purpose for this angle in both the needle bar and the cabinet layout is to enhance the sewist's view of their work under the needle. It seems quite effective.

Here's the 301A tucked inside. You can see the un-deployed knee lever next to her handle. I love that feature. Unlike the modern machines which tend to use a knee lever to lift the presser foot, the vintage machine's lever replaces the use of a foot pedal. I can't get the hang of using my Juki's lever but using the Singer lever is a natural move for me.

Doesn't she fit nice, it's almost like this cabinet was made for her. Oh, it was. The 15-90 required an extra spacer piece under her flywheel to fill this opening.

So here is the 301A in its natural habitat:

It wasn't a walk in the park to get her here. We had to undo several modifications that were made by the Singer store back in 1953 to accommodate the Singer 15-90 model. 

There was extra blocking attached inside to support the smaller body 15 when the machine is folded inside. It was glued to the proper 301 support and Hubs got to use his oscillating saw to cut it off. We also had to remove that extra spacer that the 15-90 required. Due to tight spacing this was quite the ordeal. 

The vintage 301 cradle I purchased on ebay was a little bent and this affected alignment to the point that the front panel would not seat properly. Hubs persuaded the arms back into their proper alignment and everything now fits perfectly.

I am so happy with the way this whole project turned out and I know I am going to love using this as my main piecing machine so that the Juki can spend more time on the Grace frame. 

Speaking of the Grace, I have the 90's quilt all loaded and ready to go. I just might make my March goal for ALYoF's. That is if Master's rental prep doesn't get in the way. I'm not sure why anyone would want to run a B&B. I rent one time a year and that is more than enough for me!

Here's an iPhone shot I took of the 90's quilt just before I pinned it on the frame. This is the first real shot I have shared of it in all it's blue/ecru and big box fabric glory.  I was more interested in the process of quilting at the time and the fabric of day wasn't speaking to me so I played it safe with my selection.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking up with:


  1. the cabinet is such a sleek beautiful piece of furniture. I grew up sewing on one of those singers. Workhorse. Back when Singer was the machine to have. LeeAnna at not afraid of color.

    1. Hello does anyone know what kind of screws go to the legs. My sister took legs off year and half ago when we moved and have no idea where they are.

  2. I passed up a cabinet like this at a thrift shop and regret it. I have a 301 in the queen Anne cabinet.

    1. I feel your pain. I recently did that with a desk that had sewing table hack written all over it. Went back the next day and it was gone!

  3. That cabinet is fantastic and your 301 looks so at home there!! Thanks so much for sharing. I quite enjoyed it.

  4. I love your sewing space and the vintage Singer looks wonderful with its cabinet! Thank you also for your comment on my scrappy quilt. So true! (I can't get the email link to work). Sue@ MyQuiltingAddiction

  5. visiting from fabric frenzy linky.. I love those old sewing machine cabinets...I learned to sew 50 years ago on a Necchi that had one.. loved it!

  6. Very cool sewing cabinet. I haven't seen one of those before!

  7. Great sewing space and cute scrappy/modern sewing machine cover!
    Kathy T. in Tampa

  8. I am quite jealous of that cabinet...It is a beauty! Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!