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Thread: Machine quilting on an older machine

  1. #1
    Senior Member tortoisethreads's Avatar
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    How many of you FMQ on an older "vintage" machine? I was really just curious! I have an older Kenmore Ultra Stitch that I love and I'm tempted to try some free motion quilting with it!

  2. #2
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    Haven't tried it but I've heard that it is possible. Try it and let us know.

  3. #3
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I am hoping to try FMQ on my 301A after Christmas. Santa is bringing me a darning foot for Christmas.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DawnMarie's Avatar
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    Basically, you need to have the ability to drop your feed dogs, or cover them and set your stitch width and length to zero. Then, you should have a darning foot to quilt with. Hopefully you'll be able to do this with your machine! Happy Quilting!

  5. #5
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    I have an old Pfaff 78 and that what I quilt on.

  6. #6
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I use my old Bernina 830, approx. 40 years old and still my favorite.

  7. #7
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tortoisethreads
    How many of you FMQ on an older "vintage" machine? I was really just curious! I have an older Kenmore Ultra Stitch that I love and I'm tempted to try some free motion quilting with it!
    Get an embroidery foot for your machine and have fun! the only hang up might be the feed dogs, and I have not had good luck just putting a card over the feed dogs, but you might fare better

  8. #8
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    In process of trying to get a Singer 201 but might try on a singer 15-91.

  9. #9
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omak
    Quote Originally Posted by tortoisethreads
    How many of you FMQ on an older "vintage" machine? I was really just curious! I have an older Kenmore Ultra Stitch that I love and I'm tempted to try some free motion quilting with it!
    Get an embroidery foot for your machine and have fun! the only hang up might be the feed dogs, and I have not had good luck just putting a card over the feed dogs, but you might fare better
    Can you manually remove them? DH and I have looked at tha toption.

  10. #10
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    I use my Singer 15-90 treadle to free motion and my Singer 201 treadle to straight stitch quilt. sorry don't know anything about vintage Kenmore machines. Have fun!

  11. #11
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    remove the feed dogs?
    I never thought of trying, but if you can take them out with regular household tools, perhaps.
    Do keep this in mind - - you can put the feed dogs back going backwards, or there is a clutch in there or something that can change the direction the feed dogs go - - not a good thing.
    I always think: If a human constructed it, a human can deconstruct it, HOWEVER - - SHOULD the human deconstruct what other humans have so lovingly constructed (and is really working right now).
    An embroidery foot for your machine probably won't cost more than $12 to $15 ... bummer! That still doesn't solve the feed dog thing, does it?
    Now - - around here, we can buy a machine at thrift stores for ten to $35, depending on the store - - that would be a better machine to practice deconstructing on.
    I am betting that sewing machines, basic sewing machines, are all designed the same or so similar enough to learn a lot from one on which you can experiment

  12. #12
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    A lot of the old Kenmores had a knob on the right side of the base that could be turned to lower the feed dogs. If yours doesn't, raise the head of the machine and see if there's a thumbscrew of some type near the bobbin area. If there is, loosen it and see if that doesn't lower them. You'll still need the darning foot but you should be able to find one that will work at Hancocks---they carry several universal feet. If you can't find a way to disengage the feed dogs try making a hole in a piece of template material and taping about a 1-2" square of it over the feed dogs with the hole lining up with the needle. Make the hole big enough that the edges won't snag your thread, small enough that the feed dogs can't grab fabric through it. Make several, you may have to change them out after awhile.

  13. #13
    Junior Member shelburn's Avatar
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    I tried FM quilting years ago, but didn't have the patience that many years and much experience have given me now. Didn't have much luck then. Just recently, I got out the handbook that came with my vintage viking 6370 and tried again. Started with small things, such as table runners and the crown pieces for hats. Low and behold, I am having a blast!! Just did a tote bsg and love the way it locks!! I haven't attempted a pattern, just random movements but it adds an interesting touch. Have had my Viking, Vickie, for about 35 years and it is my dearest companion! So don't be afraid of an older machine!

  14. #14
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    After reading what others have written on this board about leaving the feed dogs UP to have more control, I tried it and it worked pretty well to FMQ with feed dogs up. You just want to set the stitch length to zero so the feed dogs don't move. Some sort of darning/quilting foot is a must. That is one that doesn't put pressure on the fabric from the top, like a regular foot does, and they usually have a round opening like a tiny hoop. Good luck!

  15. #15
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewbizgirl
    After reading what others have written on this board about leaving the feed dogs UP to have more control, I tried it and it worked pretty well to FMQ with feed dogs up. You just want to set the stitch length to zero so the feed dogs don't move. Some sort of darning/quilting foot is a must. That is one that doesn't put pressure on the fabric from the top, like a regular foot does, and they usually have a round opening like a tiny hoop. Good luck!
    I had never considered that setting stitch length to zero, but the sure sounds workable.
    Another thing I thought of was to lessen the tension of the presser foot (which is probably accomplished with a knob located on the left hand side of the top of the machine).
    I surely enjoy this thread - - and the DARNING foot! That is the one I was thinking of ... thank you!

  16. #16
    Super Member Central Ohio Quilter's Avatar
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    I have my mother's old Singer 301 A and I am just learning how to FMQ on it, taking all of the advice of everyone on here. The quilting on my granddaughter's quilt doesn't look all that great but it is getting better all the time. I am taking it slow and easy and I can see improvement from when I first started.

    One thing I read here was to get a pair of gloves with the rubber dots on them. Wearing them makes a big difference in controlling the fabric. They were only about $3.50 at Joanns and then I used a 40% off coupon.

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