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Thread: What is a good vintage machine for FMQ?

  1. #1
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    What is a good vintage machine for FMQ?

    I dearly love my Singer 403A, but it's not so great for free motion quilting. The feed dogs don't drop and there is no stitch regulator foot. Anyone have suggestions on what other vintage machine works well for FMQ?

    ~ Cindy

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    None of the vintage machines have stitch regulation. Are you talking about a hopping or darning foot for free motion quilting? Yes, the 403 has a slant, darning foot available. But, I agree with you that they're not good for free motion. If you search through the vintage section, you'll see many people rely on their 301's for FMQing. I have many vintage machines that FMQ well. The 301 is one of them, but I have many others that do a fine job. The 400 and 500 series Singers are kind of unusual in that respect only because of their design.

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    Thanks...I'm using a darning foot on my 403A. Someone had mentioned to me that Bernina has a stitch regulator option available. Although, I don't know if the older machines do and the new ones are just too expensive. Besides, I really love the vintage machines that are sans computers and plastic, especially the old Singers. I've seriously considered a 301...maybe I'll look into getting one.

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Vintage Berninas do not have stitch regulation. Only the newer machines do.

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    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I have the 401A and have never had a problem free motion on it. I use it for everything with no problems. I had to buy a darning foot for it to make it work better.

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    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Crafty Pat - glad to know. I recently found my 401A and with lots of help from this wonderful board I got it up and running. I was hoping to try it on free motion. Would you please tell me what foot you are using and where you got it?

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    I've done small amounts of FMQ on both of my 431Gs. It's essentially the German cousin of the 401, but with an open arm and the ability to chainstitch. They do fine. I used the darning foot that came with the machines, it's a 161596, almost all metal, but the very end of it. It squeaks though, and I douse it with Tri-flow when it does it. This foot from Alphasew may do the trick - P60417, though I don't love it, it seems like there's a "blind spot" from the plastic, which is slightly absurd, considering that it's clear plastic.

    I've also found that these machines seem to like a faster stitch speed for some reason, but not too fast, or you create eyelashing in corners.

    Many people choose not to drop the dogs to FMQ, including Leah Day, so don't let that hold you back. http://www.daystyledesigns.com/doiha...myfeeddogs.htm

    That said, I do find the 301 much easier to FMQ on. It "just works" where as it feels like I'm "concentrating" on the 431 to get a good result.

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    I have a variety of 301s. I leave one set up with a large quilt on it, another for smaller quilts, one for piecing. I use an all metal darning foot because of the great visibility. I use Isacord thread. They work phenomenal. I am partial to the LBOW ( light brown, oyster white) models. My 401 matches (use for zig zag). They are all steel gears, no belt, slant needle gives great visibility.
    Linda

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    Junior Member totosmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tropit View Post
    Anyone have suggestions on what other vintage machine works well for FMQ?

    ~ Cindy
    Hi Cindy. My small collection includes new and vintage Berninas as well as two 301s, a 201, and a 15-91. By far the easiest one to do FMQ on is the model 15. In fact, my 15-91 is always set up with its darning foot and the feed dogs down so that I can do FMQ at any time. And, even without any sort of stitch regulator, my results are attractive -- not perfect yet, but lovely. I will admit that I spent some time practicing on the model 15, but I would have done that anyway.

    If you come across one, I would definitely take the model 15 for a spin.
    Dorothy in PA

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    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I use a 15-91 for FMQ'ing and love it! The feed dogs drop on the 15-91.
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  11. #11
    Muv
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    Hello Cindy,

    I use a 15K treadle for FMQ - in fact, I'm doing some today. If you go to my blog (link below) and click on the heading at the side - free motion quilting - you will find out about the machine and the feet, and also a link to the video I put on Youtube.

    Good luck!

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    Singer 301 is my first choice and another good choice would be Singer 15-91 or any Model 15 clone. The bobbin is vertical in all of them and that means an easier thread path for the machine. In fact, I was in a class and used a Janome 7700 for fmq and had a lot of trouble (I think it was just that machine since I did it on another and had no trouble.) When I couldn't get good results with the 7700 Horizon, I went to my Singer 301 and easily finished the piece, specialty thread and all.
    Last edited by cricket_iscute; 05-20-2013 at 08:52 AM.

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    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I ordered a darning foot from one of the sewing catalogs I get, I think it was the one that is now Annie's out of Big Sandy Texas. I believe Nancy's Notions has it also for the singer slant.

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    For the 301 / 401 machines:
    http://shop.sew-classic.com/Singer-S...oot-384037.htm
    http://shop.sew-classic.com/Singer-S...KED-P60417.htm - This is the one I mentioned in a previous post.

    For the low shank machines, Leah Day recommends this one:
    http://shop.sew-classic.com/Low-Shan...td-SCF4021.htm - with modifications, she talks about them and has a video on her site. I have the foot here, but haven't made the modification yet.
    http://shop.sew-classic.com/Low-Shan...-SCF4021-L.htm - I've used this one as is, it's my "go to foot" for the low shanks. I like it better than the plastic ones, especially the ones that have the plastic mount on them. Those seem to loosen and I have to retighten periodically, and have actually had them fall off while stitching.

    And as everyone mentioned, yes, the 15 is better still than the 301 for FMQ. The bigger harp especially is nice. I completed my first quilt using one.

  15. #15
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I use a Singer 237 for FMQ, does a great job on my quilts.
    Sharon

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    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Singer 15-91, or a 301. The 237 is also a nice, newer choice made in the late 60's in Monza, Italy. It is a class 15 machine and the really cool thing about the 237 is it can be mounted in a Singer treadle base so you would have a zig zag treadle. The SInger 239 is the same machine only it is straight stitch.

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    Super Member Surfergirl's Avatar
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    Singer 15-91, 301, and I've even used my 201's for FMQ.
    Lynn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muv View Post
    Hello Cindy,

    I use a 15K treadle for FMQ - in fact, I'm doing some today. If you go to my blog (link below) and click on the heading at the side - free motion quilting - you will find out about the machine and the feet, and also a link to the video I put on Youtube.

    Good luck!
    Whoa! A treadle for FMQ? I'm impressed! I do have an old treadle that I bought about a year ago. It's a beauty...a Singer Red Eye. I still need to get needles and some accessories for it. We're building a house that's "off the grid," and in the winter time, our electricity is limited, so I plan to treadle instead of power sew. I'll have to try to FMQ a potholder, or something, to see how I manage it all. I'll certainly check out your links. Thanks!

    ~ Cindy

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    Thanks for all of the great tips everyone! I grew up sewing on a Singer 15 model and I do love my Slant-O-Matic so dearly. Perhaps, for nostalgia sake, I'll look into a Singer 15. The 301 has always caught my eye too. There there's the treadle...hummm...

    I do have Leah Day's CD. It's good and she does claim that you don't even have to drop the feed dogs (and I don't, obviously.) I'm still have a lot of trouble though. Maybe it's not in the machine, but in practice makes perfect.

    ~ Cindy

  20. #20
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tropit View Post
    Thanks for all of the great tips everyone! I grew up sewing on a Singer 15 model and I do love my Slant-O-Matic so dearly. Perhaps, for nostalgia sake, I'll look into a Singer 15. The 301 has always caught my eye too. There there's the treadle...hummm...

    I do have Leah Day's CD. It's good and she does claim that you don't even have to drop the feed dogs (and I don't, obviously.) I'm still have a lot of trouble though. Maybe it's not in the machine, but in practice makes perfect.

    ~ Cindy
    Oh yes, those machines speak to you at night, and convince you to pick up their brothers and sisters. I have no resistance at all, as evidenced by my signature. And I'm going to pick up a 99 in a cabinet today to boot.

    I do find the slants-o-matics more challenging to FMQ with, but it can be done. I think it's best to get the hang of the FMQ on the other machines first, then move to the SOM, just because the muscle memory is there then you just have to learn to massage the SOM's idiosyncrasies.

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