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Thread: Help with slide plate on Singer 401A

  1. #1
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    I bought a Singer 401a awhile back, and then last week brought home a Singer 403. Both of these machines were missing the slide plate (not the needle plate). I'm guessing these plates must fall off when the machines are put down in the cabinet and then moved.

    Anyway..I ordered a replacement part, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to get the darn thing to slide in.

    The replacement piece's edge that goes closest to the needle is crimped shut. Seems strange to me. But rather than ruin it and not be able to return it (in case it is defective), I thought I'd ask if I'm just being a complete numpty about this.

    My plans are to clean both of them up and use them. The 401a has some levers that will not move, and the wheel on the 403 will not turn. I'm guessing gunked up grease, so I'm going to clean clean clean and see if that does the trick.

    I have learned SO much from this board, and I thank you in advance for any help on these old girls.

  2. #2
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    Is it possible to take a picture to see. I have a 401 but not sure what you are trying to do. :oops:

  3. #3
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Slide it in backwards, from under the presser foot toward you. Use a fingernail or small screwdriver to lift the spring ends up into the plate groove on each side to get them started, and then slide it on toward you until it’s in place.

    CD in Oklahoma

  4. #4
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    I thought pictures might be helpful LOL

    Thanks, CD! I'm going to go try that right now! You rawk :)

  5. #5
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    Yeah!!! It worked!!! Thank you SO much!

    Odd that both of these machines are missing those plates - they don't look like they would slide off that easy.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  6. #6
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    That model of plate usually doesn’t just slide off like some, but if it is slid open and pressed down upon, it’ll pop off easily.

    CD in Oklahoma

  7. #7
    Junior Member Baby Catcher's Avatar
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    I have recently begun to use my 401 and I love her! I'm amazed how well she sews and all the stitches she can do. I really only straight stitch but I've been playing with the other stitches just for fun.

  8. #8
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    I can't wait to get them going, and have high hopes for them. I was so impressed with the stitches of the Singer 347 (which isn't supposed to be very good) that I did some reading on vintage machines. Everyone says the 401 and the 403's are pretty good, and they seem to be plentiful around these parts.

    Heck, I paid $20 for the 401a (probably because she was missing that plate) in a beautiful maple cabinet with long table extensions on either side. The cabinet was worth more than that!

    I'm sure I'll be asking lots of questions, and once again, I so appreciate the help!

  9. #9
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    My wife and I have and use three 401As, and I have a 403A that needs serviced up (just got it not long ago). They’re our main machines both at home and at the shop.

    Our daughter has a 401A for her main machine too.

    CD in Oklahoma

  10. #10
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    I take that as testimony that they are good machines? :)

    I'm carrying around a Domestic in the trunk of my car. I have no idea if it works or not, and it's incredibly dirty and gunked up with black grease. But the woman at the estate sale practically forced it on me, so I brought it home. Don't know when I'll ever do anything with it, mainly because I can't find out much about those machines. And it weighs a ton!

  11. #11
    Super Member ontheriver's Avatar
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    I have a 401 and 201 and they are the main machines that use. Just got a 99k but waiting on new belt for it. She is so cute, like a mini 201.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sammygirlqt's Avatar
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    What do you think of the 404? Just saw one posted in my area for $35. in a nice small size cabinet. The machine came with button holer, zigzagger and looks to be in good shape.

  13. #13
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammygirlqt
    What do you think of the 404? Just saw one posted in my area for $35. in a nice small size cabinet. The machine came with button holer, zigzagger and looks to be in good shape.
    The 404 is as good as the 401A & 403A as far as quality, but it’s a straight-stitch only machine, and therefore not as popular for general sewing that calls for a multitude of stitches. IMO, it does a better SS than the 401 or 403 because it’s specifically built to do it. The feeddogs are narrower and match the SS foot better than the wider ZZ feeddogs of the other machines.

    We used Grandma Maw’s 404 a lot for SS, especially at remote locations like classes, partly because of the quality stitch, but also because it has the portable case. I used it to make some heavy canvas bags, and it's great for that. For quilting work, once we got a 221 for portability, and a 301A for SS and FMQ in the cabinet, the 404 now sets on “standby” by no fault of its own.

    The button holer will produce nice consistent button holes, but while the zigzagger is fun to play with, it’s not equal to a ZZ machine.

    CD in Oklahoma

    Grandma Maw's Singer 404
    Name:  Attachment-261941.jpe
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Size:  32.6 KB

  14. #14
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    Beautiful!

  15. #15
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonnaL
    I take that as testimony that they are good machines? :)

    I'm carrying around a Domestic in the trunk of my car. I have no idea if it works or not, and it's incredibly dirty and gunked up with black grease. But the woman at the estate sale practically forced it on me, so I brought it home. Don't know when I'll ever do anything with it, mainly because I can't find out much about those machines. And it weighs a ton!
    When it comes to getting a machine up and running it doesn't matter what kind it is. If you can get a manual that would be the first step. Here is a tutorial video. I'm sure it is a different machine and different time era but the principles are exactly the same.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-155695-1.htm

  16. #16
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammygirlqt
    What do you think of the 404? Just saw one posted in my area for $35. in a nice small size cabinet. The machine came with button holer, zigzagger and looks to be in good shape.
    Those are a fine machine - They were used in home ec classes back in the day when people actually learned to sew. Good price if it works and is all there. I bought 20 of them once - from a school. None of them worked. All but 2 work now.

  17. #17
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    Wonderful videos! I thoroughly enjoyed them. Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. #18
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonnaL
    Odd that both of these machines are missing those plates - they don't look like they would slide off that easy.
    A lot of Singer model 66's are missing the plate, also, and someone mentioned that possibly the original owner just couldn't figure out how to get it back on so they would get lost or separated from the machine.

    Congratulations on your 'new' machine!!!

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