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Forum > Sewing Machines > Singer 201 with knee control ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Singer 201 with knee control
What are these like to use and can they be converted?
ajax
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ajax  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/22/10 8:15 AM

I'm looking at a Singer 201K on ebay with a knee control. It's one of the table top ones in a wooden case and looks like it's in very nice condition. I know nothing about the knee controls so I'm hoping someone can tell me how well they work and if they are easy to use. Any pros/cons as opposed to the foot controls?

I have decided I am definitely going to get a 201 which I hope to eventually install in a cabinet. Would the knee control make this more difficult? Can they be easily converted to a foot pedal?

Yes I have been bitten by the vintage machine bug.

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Julie
Ingham, Queensland

Al Johnson
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Al Johnson
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Date: 1/22/10 9:20 AM

I'd give the knee control a fair chance. I have a machine with it, and I like it. If you don't like it, there's an excellent chance that it's just a foot control mounted in the cabinet with a knee lever to push it with. If so, you can remove it from the cabinet and use it on the floor.

Have fun with the vintage machines; I love 'em!

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A sewing machine is just a welder for textiles.

Jennifer Hill
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Jennifer Hill
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Date: 1/22/10 5:30 PM

The machines in bentwood cases that use knee lever controllers have to be rewired to use a foot control. The ones in cabinets that use a knee controller are actually already wired to foot controller that is mounted into a bracket, which has a lever that presses on the controller's button.

To put the first type into a cabinet, you will definitely need a Singer cabinet. If you can't rewire it to an old-style foot controller that will fit in the bracket, you may always have to use a foot activated controller with it.

Jennifer Hill
--
'Winds of inspiration. . .'
Quilt Canada 2010
Telus Convention Centre, Calgary, AB
April 26 - May 1 2010

Fictionfan
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Date: 1/22/10 5:37 PM

I learned to sew on a straight stitch Singer just like this, before my feet could reach a foot pedal. As I recall, that machine also had a foot pedal. I really liked the control I had with the knee lever, even when I was tall enough to reach the foot pedal. When I saw some modern machines with a knee lever, I got really excited, only to find out that the knee control was for the presser foot!

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Fictionfan

Michelle L
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Michelle L
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In reply to Fictionfan


Date: 1/22/10 6:28 PM

I sew on a Singer 401 with a knee lever. It has a foot pedal that it mounted in the case that lets you operate it via the knee lever. I don't have any trouble with the knee lever at all, and now prefer it to my machines with foot pedals.

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Michelle

http://cheapandpicky.blogspot.com/

terrisewsew

terrisewsew
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In reply to ajax


Date: 1/22/10 7:12 PM

In MHO, a knee lever is neither easier nor harder than a foot control, it's just all in what you get used to, or want to learn. I learned to sew in Home Ec with the knee control but also sewed with my Mom's featherweight with the one button foot pedal; not too comfortable on the foot after hours of sewing.But, I sew on a 201 in a cabinet now with a foot control. I gave my model 15 that was in a beautiful cabinet to DD. It had the knee control and though she was a little "afraid" of it at first, she loves it now. Would love to have the knee control for my 201, but haven't actually shopped for one on Ebay; guess that's another temptation. Then, if I could just get DH to put it in for me. Enjoy your 201 however you use it. They are wonderful machines. It will serve you well for years with proper oiling and maintainance that you can mostly do yourself.

ajax
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ajax  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/22/10 7:38 PM

Thanks all for the responses. I was having trouble visualising how the knee control would work.

Jennifer - it is one of the ones in a bentwood case. Am I correct in thinking it would have to be re-wired to go into a cabinet? Either to a standard on the floor foot controller or to a control that sits in a bracket and works with the knee lever?

Is it a complicated procedure to get these re-wired? It's a belt driven motor - all of the ones I have seen in Australia seem to be belt driven. Don't know if this makes any difference to re-wiring.

There a a lot of these on ebay but so far this is the only one in my price range that will post. All the others are pickup only and a long way away. Or they want ridiculous prices for them.

There is a 201 in reasonable condition installed in a treadle cabinet at my local secondhand dealers. He wants $300 for it. I could get this one on ebay at the moment for under a $100 including postage. Ot I could be patient and hope something else comes up in my area............

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Julie
Ingham, Queensland

Jennifer Hill
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Jennifer Hill
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In reply to ajax


Date: 1/22/10 8:48 PM

Quote: ajax
Jennifer - it is one of the ones in a bentwood case. Am I correct in thinking it would have to be re-wired to go into a cabinet? Either to a standard on the floor foot controller or to a control that sits in a bracket and works with the knee lever?

Whether re-wiring would be necessary depends on how your leads attach to your motor. But even if re-wiring is necessary, it's not major, or difficult. In fact, I think I could do it myself, and I'm one of those weirdos who sew on treadles and hand machines so I don't have to deal with cords and electricity.....

The fact that your 201 has a belt driven motor doesn't matter. The key is how your power cord attaches to the machine. To be entirely honest, I've never personally examined the connections on a knee-bar bentwood machine, and don't know if 220V set-ups are significantly different than 110V ones. However, on the 110V Singers I'm familiar with of the same vintage (like my FW, or bentwood cased 128s and 99s), the cord set unplugs from the machine. It has two leads that join at a 3-pronged connector - one lead ends with the wall plug and the other is connected to a foot controller. IF the lead that plugs into the wall on your 201 can detach from the machine, you may be able to get a replacement cord set, with a foot control attached, and not have to do any rewiring. Such a cord set is available here from repair shops, and I'd assume that your techs should have access to similar sets (unless yours just wants to sell you a new machine!)

If your lead is hard-wired to the machine, it gets more complicated. You would have to replace the lead connecting the motor to the controller box with a much longer one and put a foot controller on the other end. The replacement parts are fairly cheap here (less than $50), but I live in a big city with a variety of shops with which to deal.

BTW, that treadled 201 sounds kind of expensive, but it all depends what the market is like where you live. If the cabinet is very nice, and accessories are included, it might be a good buy. I paid a bit of a premium for my 201 ($225CDN) because it was in extremely good condition (probably hardly used) and had an original handcrank, a configuration that is fairly rare here. I often sew with it in a treadle cab, and it is extremely nice way to operate this model.

Jennifer Hill
--
'Winds of inspiration. . .'
Quilt Canada 2010
Telus Convention Centre, Calgary, AB
April 26 - May 1 2010
ajax
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ajax  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/23/10 1:41 AM

Well I don't have to make a decision now. Someone else bought it for the buy it now price of $59.99.

Probably just as well - I really should be looking for a machine that is already in a cabinet. I'm just getting impatient because I have been looking for months now and haven't found what I want.

Thanks for all the feedback about the knee levers. Will be good to know if I come across one of these in the future.

------
Julie
Ingham, Queensland

ajax
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ajax  Friend of PR
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In reply to Jennifer Hill


Date: 1/23/10 2:00 AM

Thanks for all the detailed info Jennifer. Always good to know even though I didn't get this one.

The treadled 201 at the dealers is in a very plain cabinet and the treadle itself is also very plain with straight legs. The cabinet has 1 drawer each side and the flip out compartment at the front. No embellishment whatsover. It does appear undamaged though and looks like it would only need re-finishing. No attachments at all that I saw - not even extra bobbins although I didn't ask and he could have had them put away somewhere. The machine itself is one of the thick necked 201's so the whole set up is very workmanlike and not at all 'pretty'. I think this is why the price is comparatively low (for a dealer). He has 2 other very ornate treadle machines priced at $950 and $750 which are not in good condition at all but they are decorative.

Might go back next weekend to have another look and ask about attachments. I can see if he'll come down in price or he might have another one in by then.

------
Julie
Ingham, Queensland

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