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Thread: singer 401 A question

  1. #1
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    I was wondering if any one is familiar with the singer 401A model sewing machine.
    My question is from what I have seen it has cams, Do you have to have the cams to get the different stitching?
    Is it a good machine to use for quilting, free motion quilting? Any and all quilting needs?
    Any other helpful information about this machine would be great!
    Thanks in advance,
    Carol

  2. #2
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    That is a great machine and yes the cams are what does the decorative stitches. One cam can do several different type of stitches depending on the type selected. I have a 500A and although I have not yet played with it yet I am very impressed with all of its features.

    That machine will do anything you want it to do and would be perfect for quilting!!

    Maybe after I get finished doing my 128 I will get working on the 500A

    Billy

  3. #3
    JJs
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    the 401 has a 'cam stack' - meaning that the cams are more or less built it - you choose the stitch you want by 2 different levers... it also uses other discs
    so if you come across a 401 but it's missing the extra discs grab it anyway - you can still use a blue bazillion stitches while you look for more discs...
    I found a really neat blog:
    http://blog.sew-classic.com/2008/10/...ne-review.aspx

  4. #4
    Super Member julia58's Avatar
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    I have a 401a and love it, I was lucky enough to find it at a thrift store in Fl. all the attachments, manual, buttonhole attachment, I haven't used my other machine since. I just read that the feed dogs can't be lowered, so I guess free motion is out with this machine, unless someone knows of another way. I love mine, and wish you many happy hours with yours.

  5. #5
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    On my 500 the feed dog plate raises so you can do FMQ on my machine.

    Billy

  6. #6
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Yes I have read that the feed dog plate raises. , from the picture the numbers look kind of warn... but from an online picture I ran across I think I could figure it out.
    Thanks, so $40 wouldn't be a bad price to pay for one that they say works? And it is in a cabinet.
    (I am feeling that's a silly question)

    Thanks a lot for your responses,
    Carol

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    $40 is a *great* price for a 401A in a cabinet!

  8. #8
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    Its not at your house yet? :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Go get it!!

    Billy

  9. #9
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    LOL Yeah after all the praising I have read about it in this thread I was wondering why I haven't gotten it yet. One reason is I don't know if the cabinet will fit in my car :o(
    Billy are you going to help me after I get it to make sure I can get it cleaned up in fine shape? lol You like being driven crazy by a person with lots of questions? I sure hope so.
    Thanks so much for the information and encouragement.
    Carol
    Will post pictures if it's still available and I get it!

  10. #10
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    JJs that was one of the sites I ran across when I was searching for information online, Thanks for posting it. I found interesting links within it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Well, I went and measured my trunk and backseat and if it is similar in size to a different cabinet I have. It should fit. Now waiting on the person that has it for sale to reply!
    Thanks again
    Carol

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolLady
    LOL Yeah after all the praising I have read about it in this thread I was wondering why I haven't gotten it yet. One reason is I don't know if the cabinet will fit in my car :o(
    Billy are you going to help me after I get it to make sure I can get it cleaned up in fine shape? lol You like being driven crazy by a person with lots of questions? I sure hope so.
    Thanks so much for the information and encouragement.
    Carol
    Will post pictures if it's still available and I get it!
    I am always at your disposal!! Just be sure to post photos in the shop so everyone can see. Also I added this topic to the VS so it can be viewed a lot easier.

    Billy

  13. #13
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Thanks Billy!
    Do you mean to post the pictures on the Vintage Sewing machine post? I didn't find where you had moved this topic too.
    Here are the pictures I took tonight of the Singer 401A that I got.
    Sad thing is the guy couldn't find the electrical cord to it. Good thing is he just gave it to me for free!
    Now I need to find the cord have searched ebay, but have a question, even though a listing on ebay says for 401A does that really mean that it will work for this machine?

    sewing machine
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    sewing machine again
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  14. #14
    Junior Member KenZ's Avatar
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    This machine uses two cords. One on the foot control and the other a power cord. Do you need them both?

    Cords for Singer #404
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  15. #15
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I have two 401A's. They do work via cams, but some fancy stitches are accomplished with the "regular" cams and others need alternate cams added. It is a work horse.

  16. #16
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Ken I think I am going to need both. Its the electrical cord that's missing and I noticed on the foot cord that the part that attaches to the machine part of it is broken and shows wires.
    She's pretty dirty, but I think she has great potential!
    Nursie 3 cams came with it but I haven't gotten to look to see which ones they are yet. Hopefully one will be one that will do several of the stitches.

  17. #17
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    That would be wonderful!

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    I am doing the happy dance for you as wee speak!!!! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

    I love it and you really can not beat the price at all!! The 401A is the same machine and the cords will swap out. I am not sure about this love, but the 301, 401, 500. and 503 might all be the same. That might open you options for getting a cord. I am sure someone here on the board can tell us for sure but Singer was all about parts being able to swap out with other models to keep cost down.

    Also check with you local sewing repair shop. If they are worth the salt of their reputation they will have one floating around for you.

    Congratulations on the acquisition!!!

    Billy

  19. #19
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Thank You Billy! The singer sewing shop I know about drives their repairs two hours away every two weeks. So I don't know about them being worth their salt. I might call them tomorrow and see.
    The person I got the machine from said there was a lady in a town close by that refurbishes singer sewing machines and at one time she had redone 75 of them, if I remember correctly. And so I am trying to get a hold of her through craigslist. (might be a long shot) but if she wants to pass on her knowledge I will be a sponge. lol
    I do have a question about the knob in the middle top of the machine has two screws in it. I assume it is suppose to turn? If so how is that done or does mine just not move. lol How does the throat plate come out? Yes I am already full of questions and can't even plug it in to see what it does.
    I have found the power cord and the foot cord on ebay. So I will probably go that route on the cords. The cords shown on ebay have three holes where my machine only have 2 prongs, however, I have contacted one person and they have assured me that it will fit the 401A.
    She is dirty/dusty but I am scared to touch her for fear of messing her up. lol
    I did purchase singer oil and lubricant today, JoAnns was running a 50% off sale on their quilting notions.
    Ok I'm rambling so I'll stop. Any little tips and tidbits about the machine would be great.
    Thanks again
    Carol

  20. #20
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    Carol I will be honest with you I have not figured out all of the feature my 500 has and it has the same type of knobage going on. From what I have gleaned from what little I have read about them is you can change knob positions and the stitches with change even if you do not change the cams. I think there are only 5 cams for these machines and an endless amount of decorative stitches can be made from them.

    After I get to playing with my 500 I will have a little more understanding of what does what on the guys. I am more into the treadles and the machines from the 40's back.

    Billy

  21. #21
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    The knob in the middle of the machine has two parts if I remember correctly, and is the stitch selector. You have to pull out and the turn, both sections turn and should have little metal finger pointers. The little red lever to the side adjusts the width of your stitch.

    Do you have the instruction booklet that comes with the machine? That would be a great help for you as you try to learn your way around this machine.

    I learned to sew on my mothers 401A and then when I was pregnant with my first daughter, my mom bought me a used one of my own. I have them both now that mum is gone.

  22. #22
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Thanks Billy and Nursie. No I don't have the instruction booklet but did do some research online to try and glean some information. My brain is swimming! lol
    Thanks for sharing nursie.
    I did find some cords on another site that was posted on this site. So doing more research before I jump in! lol
    Thanks again to everyone for their comments and helpfulness!
    Carol

  23. #23
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I do have the manual right where I can find it, so if there is anything that I can look up for you, let me know and I will do my best.

  24. #24
    Junior Member KenZ's Avatar
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    The cord for the 501 is not the same as the 401. The 501 plugs into the machine with only one plug. The 401 female receptical on the power cord has three holes and the machine has two pins. This is the way my power cord is for my 404 and it is also shown in the 401 manual this way. The lever on the bottom right of your machine is the Troat Plate Positioning lever. The knob in the center is the Stitch Selector. Do not turn the screws on the front of this knob for now. I first clean my machines with a damp cloth and Dawn dish soap. I use lighter fluid for the dried up oil and greese. Lots of Q tips and cotton balls from the 99 cent store.

  25. #25
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Thanks nursie you may wish you had never offered...lol

    Ken thanks for the heads up about not turning the screws on the knob in the center and how to go about cleaning it.

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