Thursday, 18 April 2013

Preparing the Singer 401G for Straight Line Quilting

Here is the needle of the Singer 401G set up with the general purposes presser foot and throat plate.  This is how the machine was when it arrived and how it normally lives.  There are easy changes I can make to the machine to improve its quilting performance.

The changes revolve around this little lot.
  • No1 a walking foot
  • No2 a straight stitch throat plate
The general purposes throat plate is pictured on the left for comparison.  Apparently the smaller needle hole helps stitch formation by offering more support to the fabric.  The benefit of the walking foot is that it helps reduce "shift".  

This robust looking lever is the means by which the throat plate can be lifted to carry out darning (notice the symbol that looks like a darn), embroidery and free motion work.  Move the lever to the far left to remove the throat plate either for cleaning (notice the cute brush symbol) or to swap the plates.

Here is the machine with the plate swapped, the walking foot fitted and the stitch length adjusted to ten stitches per inch (just like the books told me to do).

Next I made a trial sandwich using off cuts of the batting, backing and quilt top.  No point using materials that aren't similar to those in the finished project.  I played around sewing lines of quilting.  I found that the bobbin thread was only slightly visible first time so I reduced the upper tension half a number and tried again.  It took a few goes until the bobbin thread vanished somewhere inside the work.  That should do it.

Now I like quilting on the 401G with all this kit but remember - my first quilting project was pieced and quilted on a diminutive 1899 Singer 25K hand crank.  What is more that quilt, although it may never win first place and the Minnesota State Fair, actually looks ok and has been keeping me warm at nights since November 2012.  My point?  Don't let the gadgets put you off.  Think carefully, take your time, have a go!


  1. I just found your blog. I think all your vintage machines are fantastic. The extension table for this machine is a neat idea.

  2. Hello Gavin,
    "..., take your time, have a go". Well I certainly had a go: I've tried quilting in the ditch on my 127K!
    When you said you had quilted your project on a 28K, you inspired me to try it. A milestone indeed, because I had never done any machine quilting ever before.



  3. Marianne!
    That is wonderful news. I am so proud of you. How did you get on and did you use a special foot? I found it a little difficult to handle the bulk of a quilt AND turn the crank. I had to be really very careful about feeding the quilt in order to keep the stitch length even. It helped to increase the pressure on the presser foot slightly.

    Well done you for having a go.

    1. Hello Gavin,

      It was a small project, really. I had made a small place mat for my 127K to prevent it from making scratches on my table. It's slightly larger than the 127 or the 15 for that matter.
      So, the size was very manageable, ;-)). And that probably explains why the stitch length remained even.

      I hadn't given size much thought, but the wall hanging will be a bit more challenging to handle, given its larger size. Thank heavens you can go very slow on a hand crank machine.

      I've used the same tension setting as for the wall hanging project. Compared to that project the stitches were a bit smaller. I do need to practice to stay in the ditch, hehehe.

      The 127K came with only the standard straight stitch foot. One protrusion is longer than the other, but equal in width. Does that make any sense? I don't know the proper word in English.
      Basically I just used the machine as is.