Singer 201K feed dogs – how to lower them


In response to public demand (two requests for this in the same week is “public demand” as far as I’m concerned), here’s how to lower and subsequently raise the feed dogs on a 201.  What follows applies to both the Mk1 and the Mk2, and hopefully it’ll be a bit easier to follow than the original machine instructions are.

OK then, let’s do this thing.  You need to swing your machine head up on its hinges, and maybe hold it there with something or other while you furtle about underneath the bed.   When you’ve done this dogs-dropping lark the once, the next time won’t take you two shakes of a lamb’s tail so you won’t need to bother propping it up.

What you’re looking for is this gubbins, which is located just under the front edge of the bed, three inches or so in from the left …

Now, when you want to lower the dogs for embroidery or whatever, the first thing you do is unscrew that knurled screw head, so it looks like this …

The screw might be tight, in which case you can either get a pair of pliers on it or use a wide-bladed screwdriver in the slot in the screw head.  Don’t forget that you want to turn it anti-clockwise!  In theory it will unscrew about as far as in that snap and no more, but on some machines you’ll find that it will unscrew completely and drop out.  Don’t panic if it does – just screw it back in a turn or so.

That’s what it looks like from a different angle, and perhaps you can just see the threaded hole into which that screw was screwed.  Now that’s unscrewed, the wossname with the threaded holes in it and that little arm sticking up is free to pivot downwards, so your next move is to push downwards on the arm, so that the other threaded hole lines up with the screw, as in the following picture …

By swinging that wossname down, you’ve rearranged the linkage so that feed dogs are dropped and they no longer move the work past the needle, and if we look at it square on, the whole thing now looks like this …

And when you screw the screw back in (fairly tight) so as to lock it all in that posiiton, it looks like in the picture below.

That is the “dropped dogs” setting, and you’re done, so you can lower the head back down into its base now and embroider (or indeed darn) away to your heart’s content.  And here for comparison is the same picture but with the normal setting.

Finally, just in case you haven’t realised, the easy way to remember this is that you drop the little arm down to drop your feed dogs.

9 responses

  1. this was super helpful Thanks very much!!! you saved my afternoon craft session – freehand machine embroidery here we come!!

  2. Brilliant! Very clear instructions -Thankyou so much. I’ve recently resurrected my Gran’s 201k , and was just wondering how to drop the feed dogs so perfect timing!

  3. Hey, thanks for that Isabella 🙂 You do realise it’s incurable, don’t you?

    Anyhow, don’t rest until you get your drawing room cabinet – the treadle action is wonderful. Best of any base!


    PS As for every second house near the factory still having an old Singer in the attic, didn’t you mean “an old Singer or two as well as one of the factory stools”?

  4. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve fairly recently acquired a 201k and was puzzling as to how to drop the feed dogs, despite having a download of the instructions.

    And thanks for the whole blog btw. I found it last night and have already read most of the way back to the beginning! I especially appreciate the wee videos of the attachments like the buttonholer and zig-zag attachments. My dad bought me a 15k treadle machine in 1970, I was 11 and had just started learning to sew at school and was nagging him for a sewing machine. He didn’t want to waste money on a passing whim of mine so bought the 15k from a retired seamstress. I sewed on that 15k for years and I remember the excitement of buying myself a zipper foot for it with my pocket money, lol. I was too shy to go into my local Singer shop though so I never knew about zig-zag attachments or automatic buttonholers. I did her an electric machine in 1975 for getting good exam passes (Jones, did lots of things including buttonholes!) but the Singer was still used almost as much until the day it fell off the moving lorry and (according to my mum) broke into a hundred pieces and had to go to the skip. All I have left of it is the box of attachments.

    I’ve recently got back into the old machines though. I still missed my 15k and wondered if I could get a replacement for it. I’ve still got my 1975 Jones, metal, going strong but last year found a Singer 319k in a charity shop. Fabulous machine, so stylish and runs beautifully. And a 1957 electric 99k with back tack…oh, the excitement, I used to dream of having back tack on my old 15k! Then my 10 year old daughter wanted to learn to sew but was nervous of using my electric machines so I found her a hand crank 99k. I enjoyed cleaning this up so much I bought another one for her pal to use. And a 201k for me, though the electrics were so horrid on this I threw them out and …err, bought a real old wreck of another 99k to salvage the hand ceank. Temptation won out though, I’m cleaning up the wreck, and it’s coming up really well too. Currently I have a back clamping 66k Lotus, four 99ks, a 201k and the 319k (as well as the Jones and a foul plastic Brother I bought for some reason eight years ago and hate). I’ve given up on looking for a replacement 15k plus cabinet though. I want a drawing room cabinet for my 201k. And a buttonholer, and zig-zagger, and every attachment ever made, lol. I’ll get them too…I live 40 miles from the old Kilbowie factory and every second house here seems to have an old Singer in the attic!

    Sorry for rambling, it’s just that I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff so much I wanted to tell you both why I’m here. Keep up the good work!

  5. I just discovered your blog–and I love it! I’m so glad you showed how to lower the feed dogs–It took me a long time to figure that out the first time! (I do free motion quilting.)

  6. Wow Wow Wow!! Thank you so much Sid for these fabulous photographs and instructions, you are so helpful and lowering the feed-dogs now doesn’t seem so scary as it did in the original instruction book.

    Thank you so much again for taking the time to do this post and all the photos.

    Love and hugs
    Emma and Susan

  7. Very useful, thank you. But what do I love the best? The photographs!