The Singer 401

I do not know anymore how many sewing machines I own.  Not gonna count.  Don’t care to know.  Would probably be embarrassed.  If you want to know how many, you’ll have to come for supper some time and count them yourself.  But, don’t tell.

Anyway, there was Alba Tross, the white featherweight that I can’t find a picture of.  She came from Goodwill and had been dropped.  She took months to bring back up to par and after her, I was kind of tired of working on machines. 

But, I had three more that needed work.

One is my Mom’s sewing machine.  I don’t know the model.  It is from the late 70’s.  It needs a lot of cleaning and work.  It wasn’t regularly serviced or oiled and I don’t really know what I’ll be getting into to try to fix it.  So, it sits waiting until I have time.

Another is my Grandmother’s machine and I know what’s wrong with it.  The gears and the motor are gunked with old lubricant and the hand wheel is hard to turn and the motor has trouble turning it.  Sluggish is the word that comes to mind.  It makes a great stitch, but using it is not worth what it does to the motor.  I found the instructions to take all that apart and will get to it.  But, in the meantime, it also waits. 

This machine is my latest acquisition (other than a couple of toys).  A Singer 401.  It has a strong motor and does lots of things and is in a cabinet that’s just the right height for where I keep it.  Great machine.  I bought it from a friend who had lost her parents and they were clearing out the house and she wanted the machine to go to someone that would use it.


I set it up and tried to use it.  It also makes a great stitch and has plenty of power and pulls fabric straight through the foot without pulling to one side or the other. 

But, it would skip stitches and pull thread down into the bobbin compartment and not let it go back up.  I fiddled with it, but was in the middle of a project and couldn’t stop long enough to really work on it. 

The other day, I decided to pull it out again and give it a try.  Same thing.  Skipping stitches.  Not often.  Maybe one stitch for every foot or two of sewing.  But, annoying.  I took the bobbin area apart and put it back together again, to no avail.  Then, I pulled out the attachments, thinking I might have another bobbin case, but no.  The only thing I could think to try was to change to the single hole needle plate. 

And, oddly enough, that fixed it.  Well, didn’t fix it, because if I switch back, I’ll still have skips.  But, it made the machine usable.  So, I’m going to piece the Christmas quilt that I talked about yesterday on it. 

I use my machines.  I know plenty of collectors with a house full of vintage machines and they only sew on their new machine that has all the bells and whistles.  I use my machines.  None of them gets off for very long without being pulled out and put to use on a quilt.  Sometimes, the machine I piece it on is as important to the quilt as the pattern is. 

Nobody will know what machine I used for a quilt, but switching out machines adds to the enjoyment of piecing the quilt.  I have a VERY old National machine and I have the perfect quilt picked out to piece on it, soon as I get around to it. 

But, in the meantime, I’m going to keep working on UFO’s and keep rotating through old machines. 

It apparently doesn’t take much to entertain me.

Hope you are well. Have a great Wednesday.  Find someone and be kind to them.  It’ll only take two minutes and then you can mark that off your to-do list for the day.



qltmom9 said...

Sometimes a new needle stops the skipped stitch too. I have a sweet 401 too...but, then, I might have close to as many machines as you do. I don't count either and I give them away, get more added back and keep watch at garage sales and such. I love to get treasures usable.


scrappy101 said...

Lane, I have a 401 or lets say my daughter has the 401. I found it at the Salvation Army for 10.00. Hubbie did some adjustments and it works for the daughter. Daughter is up at college and is very charmed with the 401 because it turns heads.

quiltfool said...

Bonnie Hunter posted a picture of her white featherweight today, so if you just need a fix, there is one. Lane

Becky said...

I thing it is nice that you use your machines. I would love to have a featherweight, but I'm not too sure I am mechanical enough to work on it if need be. Keep cranking out those beautiful quilts!!!

Anonymous said...

I think that being easily entertained is a great--and unsung--virtue. Elle

JustPam said...

I quit using my 401's because they ate my fabric. I'll have to see if I have the single hole needle plate and give that a try. I am embarrassed to count my machines too. I use some of them but not all. I should figure out some sort of rotation.

Cynthia L. said...

Here is a question - where do you store all of your machines? I think it is wonderful that you have so many and that you have the courage to work on them. I would be afraid if I ever took them apart, they would never get back together!

Vesuviusmama said...

How meat to have different machines to do different things on. I have 2, but that is only because number 1 stopped working.

Anonymous said...

Hi..I just moved and my Bernina just quit. I have 3 grad gifts to finish. I got out my Singer 401 that has not been used for 6 years. In good shape but when I press the foot petal nothing happens. Is there an on/off switch? The cord does look frayed at the plug??? Any help you can give would be awesome...Thanks