- This project could be a complete disaster
- I do not recommend removing the finish of a vintage/antique sewing machine
- Decals are hard, if not impossible, to find
- Tearing down a sewing machine requires mechanical competency
More Info on each warning:
This project could be a complete disaster
I obviously hope for the best, but I’ve never attempted a sewing machine project of this magnitude before. I’m probably in way over my head, and if so, then I hope my failures it will serve as a warning to others so they don't make the same mistakes :)I do not recommend removing the finish of a vintage/antique sewing machine
If at all possible, it is best to keep the original finish. Chips in the paint and worn decals are what give vintage machines their character. In fact, I have an 1951 Singer 15-91 that has decals in not so great cosmetic condition and the clear-coat finish is coming off. I don’t plan on refinishing her because the head and rest of the body are in great structural shape and she sews like a dream. I’m still amazed that just applying a little sewing machine oil to her surface makes her look great! Ms. Rusty, however, is really rusty (hence her name) and I’m more than a little concerned that she will continue to deteriorate without more serious attention. Add on top of that the fact that she doesn’t even sew at this point, and you may begin to see why in this particular case Ms. Rusty has more to gain than to loose.Decals are hard, if not impossible, to find
Decals are not readily available for most sewing machines other than 221’s, 222’s, and some 301’s. Custom decals can be made if you have good software, and/or photos, but I don’t personally know well this works out.
Luckily the decals on my 201 has a design similar to some 301’s. Before starting this project I purchased replacement decals that were intended for a 301 (see here for my source) and verified they are the exact same design and size of my current decals. Because the 301 has a smaller bed than the 201, it will take 2 sets of these decals to do the job properly. Also, if you were to look closely, the Singer name decal on the 301 is not exactly the same font size as the 201 (the 301 has slightly thicker lettering). So while these new decals aren't perfect for the job, they will do just fine.Tearing down a sewing machine requires mechanical competency
Quoting Jenny over at Sew Classic "I don't remove every single component from the machine. That would be, simply put, stupid."
Put another way - Tearing a sewing machine completely apart is not for the faint of heart and I wouldn't recommend that anyone attempt it without secure confidence in their mechanical abilities. One of my previous hobbies was restoring classic cars, including the 1967 Chevelle Malibu that I still drive. So while I'm no expert in sewing machines by any stretch of the imagination, I do have a knack for tearing apart and putting mechanical things back together again.
Another factor to consider in this particular adventure is that Ms. Rusty isn’t operational at this point. It would be a huge improvement over her current state if I can reassemble her enough to just get the needle bar to go up and down, even if she never sews properly again. In other words, Ms. Rusty and I have nothing to lose.