So you're the proud owner of a Singer 301 Slant Needle "Featherweight" and you've decided you want to install it in a cabinet.
So you turn the machine around...
Singer 301 rear view.
Uh-oh, something is missing.
The good news is your eyes are not playing tricks on you.
The bad news is that unlike every other full-size vintage Singer, the 301 does not have the holes for mounting cabinet hinges.
So, now what?
Relax. There IS a solution, and I'll get to it in a moment.
But first, a quick history lesson:
301 has no hinge mounts.
Like the 221 Featherweight, the 301 was designed to be a light-weight portable machine.
The full-size 301 weighed only 16 pounds, had a built--in carry handle and came in a convenient carrying case.
To complement the perfect portable machine, Singer designed some brilliant cabinet options.
One option was a lightweight folding card-table with built-in support brackets. Space-saving and simple for a small house or apartment.
But Singer knew some customers would want to use their 301 in a full-size cabinet. Which presented a bit of a problem. After all, anchoring the perfect portable into a cabinet with fixed hinges rather defeated the purpose of designing a portable in the first place!
Singer 301 cabinet cradle (part # 170112)
So Singer devised a creative solution.
First they offered the 301 in two configurations: long-bed and short-bed.
The long-bed version was intended for portable use only, but could also be used in some card tables. (Long-bed card tables are still out there, but they are hard to find.)
The short bed version was paired with a clip-on bracket/cradle (Simanco part # 170112, shown above) which mounted inside the cabinet using standard swivel hinges. The machine clipped into the cradle, turning the perfect portable into the perfect cabinet machine. But with the press of a lever the machine could be quickly removed for portable use.
It's an odd-looking contraption, but the perfect complement to the "Full-Size Featherweight." (NOTE: Some Singer cabinets are not compatible with the 301 cradle because the front edge support brackets cannot be installed. See photos and additional note at end of article.) So what does this look like? First, let's take a look at how the cradle attaches to the machine and how the quick-release lever works:
Next, we'll look at how to attach hinges: (Note: hinges are shown being installed on a 401 but the installation process is identical for the 301 cradle.)
Finally, we'll take a look at how the machine with cradle mounts in the cabinet:
Yep, it's that simple. Keep in mind, however, that this only works if your 301 is a short-bed model. If you have a long-bed 301 then you'll either have to modify the machine or the cabinet for it to fit. Or you can keep your eyes open for a card table designed to fit the long-bed. These are pretty rare, though.
301 cabinet cradles are usually available on eBay. Check your cabinet to see it if already has the front edge support brackets. If not, you'll want to look for a cradle that includes them. Check your machine to see if the hinge mounting set screws are already in place. If not, you'll want to make sure set screws are included in when you purchase the cradle and/or hinges.
There, problem solved, just as promised at the beginning of this article!
Note: The front edge support brackets require a flat surface on the inside edge of the front lift panel. Some cabinets have a protruding lip which supports the front edge of the machine, which will not work with the 301 cradle. Please review the above photos to see how the front edge support brackets attach to the cabinet and see below for examples of a cabinet that WILL NOT work with the cabinet cradle.
Special thanks to readers David, Lisalu, and Ann for sharing experiences and research that led me to make significant revisions to this article in the interests of accuracy and clarity.
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.