Sewing Newbie Question

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I've posted some questions here before and you've all been very helpful.  I
still don't have much of a clue about how to sew :)  I don't know what all
the feet do, when to use a certain stitch, which needle to use with certain
fabrics and so on.  Just so you know exactly how clueless I am lol.  I'd
purchased a $300 Brother machine with a gazillion stitches but haven't used
it much.  I've read many recommendations here about purchasing a used,
older, machine as the newer, cheaper, models tend to turn people off sewing.
I'm hoping the saying that a cheapy machine will turn a person off sewing is
true because I've not found it to be very enjoyable.  Now to my question.
I've purchased a like-new (well-preserved) Singer 401 with all original
attachments and having been recently serviced.  I'd like to know if there's
a pretty good online source on how to maintain your machine.  I know it
needs to be done but I'm also pretty ignorant about the working parts of the
machine outside of those that are easily seen.


Re: Sewing Newbie Question

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The 401s are absolutely a joy to sew on and easy to maintain.  I think
you will find that the 401 will change your mind about enjoying sewing.

Basically the gears need gear lubricant, and the other moving parts need
sewing machine oil.  (Singer Lubricant and Sewing Machine Oil are both
available at JoAnne Fabrics and Walmart).  =20

And, of course, thread/lint/dust need to be cleaned out from all areas.

 I have several machines of the same vintage (401s, 403, 404s, 503s)
which all have the same bobbin/hook assembly,  and they will not
tolerate lint wads in the bobbin area...they start to choke up thread!
:-) =20

To get to the gears, take off the top cover (2 screws), the bottom cover
(1 screw/knob), and the handwheel (small screw inside the clutch wheel).
You'll see the gears easily (and when you take off the handwheel, you'll
see the main gear that comes up from the motor).

While you've got the covers off, clean out any dust, lint, threads, etc.

Clean out all old (blackened) gear lubricant, and apply new.

Then, put a drop of sewing machine oil on all the other moving parts (do
not put oil on the gears).  Open the side cover (needle bar area) and
put a drop of oil on the moving parts there as well.

Put all the covers back on....that's really all there is to it.

You're lucky to find a 401 in good condition!!

How about joining one of the Yahoo! Groups for Singer sewing machines?
One is SINGERS, and another group is VINTAGESINGERS. =20 / /

Adult: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing =
in the middle.

Re: Sewing Newbie Question

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You have bought the best sewing machine ever made, IMHO. :-)

I have two 401As, I would be happy to scan the pages which describe
cleaning and lubricating it, and send them to you.

Or, there is presently a manual offered on eBay:

NAYY, but I have bought several sewing-related items there.

---to reply, delete no spam and .invalid---

Re: Sewing Newbie Question
On Mon, 12 Apr 2004 22:48:47 -0400, Tee wrote:

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How about finding someone nearby who does know how to sew and getting some
tuition?  There are many happy hours of sewing to be had once you have
mastered it.


Re: Sewing Newbie Question
Thanks to everyone for your advice :)   I didn't even think about the manual
providing the information, as it doesn't with the Brother sewing machine I
own.  I haven't received the machine yet (being shipped from CA) but it does
come with the original manual.

IMS thank you very much for the detailed, step-by-step, tutorial, its
exactly what I was looking for.  I also plan to join one of the Yahoogroups


Re: Sewing Newbie Question
Tee wrote:

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Have they shipped it yet?  Do they know how to pack it properly?

Here are some links you could send them to tell them how to pack the
machine well.

Here's hoping your machine stays intact on its trip.  I have had my
share of machines that came damaged, and it is devastating!

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.  - Mother Teresa

Re: Sewing Newbie Question

Tee wrote:
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Can't help with the machine (both my singers are much older models), but
I'm sure you will find it a joy to use and a great deal better than the
all singing, all dancing lightweight new one!  Brother are very good at
shoehorning way too many 'toys' into a cheapie frame, which then doesn't
stand up to the wear and tear.  Their TOTL machines are supposed to be

For basic sewing and techniques you don't yet understand, this group is
the best place!  Have you looked at my web site yet?  There is basic
sewing info there, and a glossary of sewing terms which you might find
useful.  I sell nothing through the web site, it's just for information.

Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
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Re: Sewing Newbie Question

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 I don't sew much. I'm more of a collector; but, my limited experience
advice to you is to start very simply with something like pillowcases,
plain hemmed curtains, and the like. You can even hem a large piece of
fabric for a bed sheet. Be sure to have a good seam ripper on hand to
use if your seams aren't straight.

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 Oh no! That money could've gotten you a wonderful used machine.

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 If it wasn't true, folks here would not have been recommending it for
years.  :(

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 Yay! This is an absolutely wonderful machine.

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 Aside from the machine's instruction manual which will give you
cleaning and oiling pointers, there was a book published a few years
ago called "The Sewing Machine Guide," by John Giordano (ISBN
1-56158-220-4). You could probably find it at your local library. I
like this book because it has a chapter on maintenance and cleaning
that's written for a beginner, without talking "down" to them.

 Of course there's a lot of general information on the web too.


Re: Sewing Newbie Question
Tee wrote:

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LUCKY YOU!!!!!!!  You have a cream puff of a machine, you lucky dog,
you.  (NO, I'm not jealous.  I have a Singer 500 in almost like-new
condition -- one small part of it is busted but it doesn't stop me from
doing anything.)

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And somewhere on the net there is at least one web page on helps for
working on your own machine, and someone sells a book somewhere (Ebay?)

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.  - Mother Teresa

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