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Need help learning to free motion on a Singer 401 anybody?

Need help learning to free motion on a Singer 401 anybody?

Old 07-28-2011, 06:38 AM
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I want to learn to do free motion quilting on my Singer 401, and don't have a clue where to start. Someone offered advice a couple years ago, and I got as far as buying the right foot, and tried for about 30 minutes, and didn't have much luck. Life got in the way and I didn't try again. Now, I am really eager to learn, but can't even remember how to set up the machine, much less the rest of it. I would appreciate any help/advice anyone has to offer. Thanks
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:19 AM
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I don't have a 401, but I do FMQ on a 15-91. It is basically the same for me tween that machine and my 3.5yr old Pfaff. Get your FMQ or darning foot in place, set your stitch length to 0, and drop your feed dogs. It take practice. I have done 12" square muslin quilt "sandwiches" with a different colored thread in the bobbin than in the needle.
Practice what speed works for you. Some people like to go fast, some not so fast- you are moving the quilt so you determine the stitch length. Move to fast and your stitches are long, move to slow and they get very short. It may also need some tension adjusting. That is why the two different colors of thread.
Get some sandwiches made up, put some music on, and go with the flow!
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:52 AM
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Thank you so much Launie. This is really good information. I am about to make the sandwich, and set up the machine to try and get started. I think using two different threads for practice is a great idea. I'm not expecting miracles, but I am sure going to give it a try. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I'll report back if and when I accomplish anything. Thanks again!
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:32 AM
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As the old saying goes, "practice makes perfect".... I am getting better but still have struggles now and again....
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:31 PM
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it takes practice=practice=practice...all the bells & whistles in the world will not (make you) free motion quilt well- the only thing that will---is practice
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:32 PM
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I always suggest that when you are just starting out learning FMQ to start with small projects. Use 10-12 inch squares and make potholders. As you feel more comfortable, do placemats, then tablerunners. Right now, my comfort zone is a 36" wall hanging and baby quilts.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Launie
I don't have a 401, but I do FMQ on a 15-91. It is basically the same for me tween that machine and my 3.5yr old Pfaff. Get your FMQ or darning foot in place, set your stitch length to 0, and drop your feed dogs. It take practice. I have done 12" square muslin quilt "sandwiches" with a different colored thread in the bobbin than in the needle.
Practice what speed works for you. Some people like to go fast, some not so fast- you are moving the quilt so you determine the stitch length. Move to fast and your stitches are long, move to slow and they get very short. It may also need some tension adjusting. That is why the two different colors of thread.
Get some sandwiches made up, put some music on, and go with the flow!
Launie, I did everything as you suggested and I am really busy trying. The machine is doing it's job, but me, not so much. I am bound to get better at it, because it can't get any worse ! There is no where to go but up :)
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluphrog
I always suggest that when you are just starting out learning FMQ to start with small projects. Use 10-12 inch squares and make potholders. As you feel more comfortable, do placemats, then tablerunners. Right now, my comfort zone is a 36" wall hanging and baby quilts.
I hope I can get comfortable enough to do some potholders and placemats, because I have some cut out and ready to go. Right now, it looks like that is a long way off. I don't even know what kind of design I am supposed to be making. Consequently, my FMQ looks like a bunch of fingers :)
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:02 PM
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Just get comfortable moving the fabric around. Make straight lines, wavy lines, squiggles. Make "z"s. Go forward and backward and side to side. Make circles, squares, and whatever other shapes you want. It's all a learning experience. You are only limited by your experience and your fear. I know. You're sitting and staring at that quilt sandwich thinking "What do I do now?" aren't you. Well, quit thinking and just sew!

You'll do great.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:14 PM
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You are on the right track and like the other posters say, and practice, practice, practice!!!!
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