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Thread: Free Motion Quilting on a Singer 500

  1. #1
    Junior Member tate_elliott's Avatar
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    Free Motion Quilting on a Singer 500

    I've read over and over on this forum and in others that you can't FMQ on a 401, 403, 500, or 503 because of the horizontal bobbin. Luckily, I tried it before reading that you can't. I guess it's a case of being too dumb to know better, cause I seem to be doing okay. I'm not great, but okay. I'm planning to follow Leah Day's blog on practicing FMQ to get better. I'm not saying it's the greatest machine to FMQ on, because I don't have another machine to try. I suspect that someone wrote this once and people just repeat it without trying it themselves.

    Does anyone else use a 401, 403, 500, or 503 to FMQ? Please post if you do, I'd like to know.

    Here's Leah Day's blog, if you're interested - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com

    Oh, here's a photo of a practice sample of FMQ on my Rocketeer.

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    King of the Rocketeers!

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    No one has ever said you "can't" FMQ on them. It's just that the stitch quality isn't great for FMQ. And if you look at your sample, the stitch quality and tension isn't right. You will probably have better success on a different machine. I have the 400 and the raised plate and horizontal bobbin aren't a good match for FMQ. I guess I don't understand what you mean by people who don't have the machine repeat it over and over.... I FMQ on many of my machines and the 400(and 500) series are my least favorite for this. Though they are great at general sewing and piecing.
    Last edited by Candace; 01-12-2012 at 03:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member tate_elliott's Avatar
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    Candace, thanks for posting. You're right, the tension IS off, but I thought that it was just me, I hadn't found the right balance. Although, I could have scanned the OTHER side. I'm glad to hear from someone who has actually used the 500 to FMQ.

    Let me clarify what I meant about "people who don't have the machine." When I've read posts about how you shouldn't FMQ with a 500, I got the feeling that the person wasn't speaking from experience, it was just something they'd read and was passing along.

    I read a post where someone wrote that the 500 was a bad machine for FMQing because she'd tried it and had bad results. But then she added that it was her first attempt at FMQing and hadn't yet tried any other machine. How could she know it was the machine and not simply her inexperience?

    I'll gladly admit that part of the reason I started this thread is because I love my 500 and don't like someone saying that it can't do something basic. If it can't FMQ well, then I can always fall back on straight-line quilting.

    Tate
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  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Thanks for clarifying as I didn't understand what you were saying. My 401(the same as the 500 basically) does great straight stitching with a slant walking foot. I use it for bindings and it is a machine I won't part with! However, I wouldn't suggest anyone learning how to FMQ on it as it will probably lead to frustration. The dual features of it being a horizontal bobbin and the plate that lifts up, creates tension issues and skipped stitches during FMQ. If I had learned to FMQ on my 401, I would have cried and probably given up on it. There are quite a few vintage machines on the market that are lovely FMQ machines, but this isn't one of them. But, like I said, it is a great piecer and all around sewing machine. It has a very nice stitch quality and is very easy to fix and maintain. A real plus in my eyes.

  5. #5
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    as long as your feed dog is covered, or dropped.. use the "big foot" google it.. it is a dream.. and... Gloves ! the ones with the finger tipped in a rough plastic.. 8.00 for gloves. 24 or so dollars for the Big Foot. Local quilt store will have gloves and I have found the foot in a quilt store once... worth it ! put music on or hum the same song and use your shoulders not your wrists !

    Practice as you have.. you can do it !! make sure the tension is right so the thread does not break.. once you have the tension, write it down on the example that pleases you most to KEEP.....will always remind you the setting them....

    you CAN do this.. on any machine as long as feed dogs can have a cover plate and I use the big foot.. no bare needle.. whooly cow.. a problem all the way around.. use a darning foot if you have one.. that is ok.. but the big plastic chunky thing.. big foot will hold fabric down and give room to see what you are doing under your needle..

    good luck !

    Ell

    No, I don't own stock in Big foot, nor sell or have anything to do with the product mentioned.. Just would be lost without it !
    Last edited by chairjogger; 01-12-2012 at 08:19 PM.
    Sometimes you just have to sit in a chair and jog in order to get anywhere.
    Ell

  6. #6
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    I don't like a horizontal bobbin for FMQ either. I have nothing but problems with the tension, and with my other machines, it's just not worth the headache.
    As much as I love my 201-2, it's convinced me that I don't even want to try on my 99, 66, 403, or 500A...
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chairjogger View Post
    as long as your feed dog is covered, or dropped.. use the "big foot" google it.. it is a dream.. and... Gloves ! the ones with the finger tipped in a rough plastic.. 8.00 for gloves. 24 or so dollars for the Big Foot. Local quilt store will have gloves and I have found the foot in a quilt store once... worth it ! put music on or hum the same song and use your shoulders not your wrists !

    Practice as you have.. you can do it !! make sure the tension is right so the thread does not break.. once you have the tension, write it down on the example that pleases you most to KEEP.....will always remind you the setting them....

    you CAN do this.. on any machine as long as feed dogs can have a cover plate and I use the big foot.. no bare needle.. whooly cow.. a problem all the way around.. use a darning foot if you have one.. that is ok.. but the big plastic chunky thing.. big foot will hold fabric down and give room to see what you are doing under your needle..

    good luck !

    Ell

    No, I don't own stock in Big foot, nor sell or have anything to do with the product mentioned.. Just would be lost without it !

    This machine has a raised plate, not a cover plate and is part of the problem. The foot really doesn't have much to do with it, in this instance.

  8. #8
    Junior Member tate_elliott's Avatar
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    Chairjogger, you don't say whether or not you are referring to using a Slant with a horizontal bobbin or not. That's my real question here.

    By the way, I don't raise my plate, I set the feed dogs to "zero." They just go up and down. I use a darning foot. And dishwashing gloves.

    Tate
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  9. #9
    Member 00maggie's Avatar
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    If my FMQ looked half as good as yours, I would think I had a chance of accomplishing it...but it doesn't. Oh, I have a 500A...was just about to practice FMQ on it. After that I may try on one of my Singer 301 machines. In a previous trial I had the best luck with my mocha 301. My problem with FMQ is I want to cross lines. My brain just doesn't connect with the "don't cross lines" mentality.
    Grammy Dorthy
    Fort Worth, Texas

  10. #10
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 00maggie View Post
    If my FMQ looked half as good as yours, I would think I had a chance of accomplishing it...but it doesn't. Oh, I have a 500A...was just about to practice FMQ on it. After that I may try on one of my Singer 301 machines. In a previous trial I had the best luck with my mocha 301. My problem with FMQ is I want to cross lines. My brain just doesn't connect with the "don't cross lines" mentality.
    You can cross lines! If you are stippling you shouldn't, but how would you make loops or swirls or feathers if you can't cross lines. Get your mocha 301 out and have at it girl! The stippling pattern is not the easiest way to start FMQ, there are lots of other styles to practice on - strictly my opinion. It should be relaxing and fun not fear inducing!
    Last edited by Mitch's mom; 11-28-2013 at 07:48 AM. Reason: spelling

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