A New Baby!

I was gifted this beautiful Singer 401A (mid-1950s) about a year ago by someone who is well aware of my obsession with vintage machines. She knew that I would cherish it and that it would be a treasured piece in my collection. It’s been sitting in my friend’s shop since then awaiting restoration so I was extremely excited to finally bring her home today. Isn’t she a beauty? Aside from a couple of scratches on the back of the top cover she is as bright and shiny as the day she rolled off the assembly line.

Whenever I watch one of these old girls being restored, I marvel at the craftsmanship of yesteryear. These machines were made with pride to last a lifetime or longer – I hope I look this good when I am nearing 60!



Filed under Sewing Machines, vintage

42 responses to “A New Baby!

  1. oh my! yes, what a lovely new addition to the family!

  2. Congrats on your addition! They sure don’t make them like that anymore. The oldies were indeed tried, sturdy,and true!!!

  3. Sally

    It is a beauty! Do you have a cabinet for it? Is it for use or display?

  4. lovely, I have 3 of those coffee and cream color Singer slant needle machines, the only machines I use. enjoy!

  5. Congrats. That machine is *pristine*

  6. greytone

    I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine! It is beautiful and is a hard worker, too! I am still using the one my grandmother used to make clothes for my Betsy Wetsy!….many, many memories…

  7. How lucky you are to have someone to restore this baby to such fine condition. I have four 500a rocketeer machines and a couple need more care than I can give them. Your 401a is a beauty. I have no doubt you’ll be in the same fine condition in about 10 years (I happen to know how old you are!)

  8. Jans

    Tutorial – Bagging a jacket lining. I wonder if anyone can assist me. I rember there was a tutorial regarding the bagging of a jacket lining, especially how you treat the section where the front facing and the lining meets. Can anyone please point me in the right direction I cannot seem to find it again. Thank you very much.

  9. That’s one classy lady!

  10. mem

    ooooh thats the one I have . It is a great machine . I use it alot for top stitching .

  11. She’s absolutely regal.

  12. K2

    Awesome machine. I should know, I have two 401A’s. A home and an away machine for when I take classes. They are great machines.

  13. Colleen P.

    Oh wow-when I was living in England a friend of mine loaned me a machine to use while mine was in the shop and it was EXACTLY the same as this one, right down to the color! (well, except for the plug, of course!) It was a real peach to sew with, I was sorry to give it back.

    OK, does anyone else sometimes dream about sneaking into Gigi’s sewing room and playing with all the machines? I’m itching to get my hands on that binder…

  14. This is the machine I learned to sew on. My mum bought it in England and then “she” (meaning the machine) travelled with us to the States when we migrated here. I remember having to use a transformer for several years before my dad got around to converting her over to this country’s wattage. Now she resides in the Montego Bay area of Jamaica. When I go to visit my parents this year, I will have to bribe/coerce/beg/plead with my mum to bring “her” back with me. Wish me luck.

  15. Did I mention “she” is still in her original cabinet?

  16. Steffie

    Eeee, that’s the machine I use. Aw, it’s so cute!

  17. Amy

    This is the machine that was my wedding present from my parents 47 years ago. It lived with my sister and is now with her daughter. It’s still sewing like a dream.

  18. We have my great-grandmother’s 1951 Singer centennial edition. My dad is currently rewiring it, and I may cry when I use it for the first time. It’s a lovely machine and, apparently, bullet-proof. I’m excited for you!

  19. Elizabeth

    I bought a 401A at an estate sale a few months ago, along with a ton of accessories and the sewing desk she is attached to. She’s currently living in the garage but I did plug her in a few weeks ago and she seems to run great, so now I am excitedly trying to figure out how I can fit her in my sewing room so that I can try her out!

  20. Colleen P.

    Is anyone besides me wondering how Heidi knows her sewing machine is bullet-proof?

  21. Oh my grandma had this machine and nobody knows what happened to it. I think my aunt may have thrown it out. I would give my eye teeth to have one for the memories – I learned to sew on it. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing, yours is a beauty. g

  22. I have the exact same machine! And I LOVE IT! It sews like a dream! (Well… it did. I sewed through my finger awhile ago, and its skipping stitches since then. But I’m pretty confident it will be back to magnificent once it goes to the repair shop!)

    I hope you love yours as much as I’ve loved mine! Did yours come with all the attachments? Mine came in it’s cabinet, with the knee presser foot thing, stitching cams, a buttonholer, and an “automatic zigzagger” which I have yet to figure out since it is a zig zag machine without the attachment! I’m not sure how much of that stuff came with it originally, but I bought it all together at an auction.

    Enjoy it!!
    ~Amy Jo

  23. vernonfashionstudio

    Very nice Gigi!! My Hubby recently bought a 501. It is in great unrestored condition and is a wonderful addition to our little collection too. Love these old machines!

    Linda T

  24. This looks so much like the machine my mom had when I was younger, the first machine I ever got to drive. I wonder if it’s the same model?

    I think she should have a name. I suggest Maybelline the Sewing Machine.

  25. Colleen P.

    Amy Jo I am so jealous-I love the knee-lever foot-lift!

  26. Gigi..what a great new addition to the “family” πŸ™‚ I love vintage Singers too…my Rocketeer-503 is my BEST machine or topstitching !

  27. My goodness, yes! We still have a lovely older green Singer, first machine I ever had the pleasure of sewing with, and I swear it will still be working perfectly when I’m 100. The newer machines just don’t have the same sturdy feel, do they? (I could say the same for cars! We have an early 1960’s car, all metal, and it will surely work until it dies of rust!).


  28. What a beautiful new baby! Congratulations!!

  29. OMG! This is the machine I learned to sew on, too. I must ask my mom if she still has it.

  30. Nancy J

    I got this same machine second-hand for Christmas in 1970, in a cabinet and with all the accessories. It has sewed many many hundreds of items. It was only when I started sewing skating dresses last year that I purchased a portable Brother machine for those, since my beloved Singer is just not good on that kind of fabric. But I still use the Singer for everything else and have only had to have it fixed once in all that time.

  31. This is a beaute! Congratulations. I’m sure you’ll look even better after 60! πŸ™‚

  32. Great Machine! Wish we had some of those babies at our studio!

  33. Brenda

    I purchased a 401a several months ago and all the accessories. Have not had a change to use it. Keep us posted on how it works for you. Good luck!!!

  34. Lexley-Brisbane Australia

    Gigi, I just love your 500A Rocketeer too…I only wish I could get my hands on one in Australia but I don’t think they sold them here. But I did buy a sublime white 221 Singer Featherweight without a mark on her (and was never used ) and I am in looovvee!!! Words cannot express what I feel about these golden oldies – maybe it takes me back to my childhood when Mum had a mint green Singer and the oily musky smell of these…….
    Cheers Lexley

  35. Carlen

    This looks just like my mother-in-law’s sewing machine. She made some amazingly beautiful garments with it. Very even stitches, even all these years later.

  36. You know, Singer sewing machines may outlive us. They are made so well – with parts that last. I would like to hear that one sew. That age machine makes a soft motor noise when stitching correctly. It looks great for the age and glad you have it running.

  37. Beverly Wainio

    Gigi-Just want to say I miss your blogging. I know your busy, but hope you can get back to us soon. Thanks for all the great tutorials. Bev

  38. Grace

    This is the machine that I have used since the 70’s. I have had other machines but this is the most dependable machine I have had the pleasure of using.

  39. Cheri

    I have the same machine! I have the ruffler attachment, bias trim attachment, all of the cams and many other feet attachments! The machine is way too high tech for me, but I have enjoyed getting to know her!

  40. I have 2 of these babies,the first was a gift from hubby for my 40th birthday and the second was on a used selling site and for $25 we couldn’t resist saving it from the landfill.