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Sewing Machine Reviews> Singer> 401A

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Reviewed by:Plays with Fire
Friend of PR
About Plays with Firestar
Member since: 8/29/10
Reviews written: 6
Sewing skills:Intermediate
Favored by: 1 people
sewing machines reviewed: 4
Bio: more...
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Posted on:7/29/14 6:10 PM
Approx price paid:$65
Had this machine for:3 years
Recommended? Yes
Singer 401AFeatures
  • Embroidery Stitches
  • One step buttonhole
  • Drop-In bobbin
  • Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
  • Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
  • Adjustable Needle Position
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Review Rating: Very Helpful by 4 people   
Tell us about your first impression when you used this machine.
Loved it!
I had a "modern" machine that kept braking down on me so I looked into investing in a brand new machine. I wanted a machine that would last and not give me trouble. I sew all types of fabrics and needed a machine that could at least handle most if not all of them. For a machine that fit these needs the prices where much higher than I wanted to spend. I didn't cherish the thought of spending 1000.00+ and not really knowing how long it would last or if I would really enjoy using it. I decided to look into vintage machines and haven't looked back since.

The 401 has many built in stitches and cams for the many others. It makes lovely stitches and I have found it easy to use.

Like many of the vintage machines this one did need a good cleaning and oiling to get all the parts running smoothly. I have been using it as my main machine for the last 3 years. I use it for most fabrics. The only fabrics it doesn't like are very fine weight silks. It does need to be serviced so I will see if that changes when I get it back. (last serviced probably the 50's) I have been putting that off until I get a replacement for this one. I don't want to be without a machine.

Was the machine manual sufficient?
It's great! It's small but has more info than most. There is a lot of info online about this machine and I have found that extremely helpful.

Did you buy any accessories? Do you use them?
I collected them for a while and found it really fun to try them out. I found I don't use very many.
The buttonhole attachment is fabulous and needed to make nice buttonholes. They are cheep and easy to find. (ebay, craigslist)
The feet I use the most. zigzag and zipper
Everything else I might use every once in while but I am glad they are there. When you need them you can't just go to the store and buy them.
Is this your primary machine?
Yes and has been since I found it.
Did you take any classes specifically for this machine?
Was this a gift/pre-owned/garage sale etc?
Pre owned from a collector. She had several to choose from.
How often do you use it?
Several times a week.

Would you recommend this machine to others?
I do if...
If you like vintage machines and find it fun to look for parts and accessories. There are so many for the slant shank machines :)

Can do minor repairs on your own or have someone to turn to in your area that can service it if necessary.

If you don't want to deal with that end, then a more modern machine would probably be better for you. Getting these older machines serviced has been a challenge. There really isn't much incentive for dealers to keep working on them. There is one place in my area (1 hour away) I can take it to be serviced and I need to wait 2-3 months to get it back. It takes that long because there is only one tech at that location that works on these machines. He does a great job but you have to wait. I have tried other places and they just didn't have the knowledge or the practical experience to fix something of this age range.

Have you had any trouble with this machine? Please elaborate.
The only trouble I have had is finding help getting servicing. It might just be my area. It helps to look around and ask questions before falling in love with any machine. Because of the difficulty I have had with servicing I have made it a point learned what I can so I can fix most simple things on my own. I also have a spare for when I just can't fix it and she has to go in.
Do you do regular maintenance on this machine? How?
I clean and oil it regularly.

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NonieA1 said... (8/3/14 10:03 AM) Reply
My husband bought this machine for me 45 years ago. I have serviced it myself without any difficulty. I have used it heavily for many years. In 2010 I bought a used Brother, fell in love that also. My Singer 401A is still used as I cannot used the commuter machine during the stormy FL summers. I love using it for putting in zippers as well as teaching my granddaughters how to sew. It was made in the USA and is so reliable and is a workhorse. I have been to purchase all bits and parts throughout the years.
Sharon48 said... (7/30/14 1:02 AM) Reply
I have this machine too and find it to be very reliable and am amazed at the technology. I am very lucky to have someone within an hour's drive that is very knowledgeable with the vintage Singers. It is less than a week turn around time when I take it in. I'll be sad when he retires!
atymonw said... (7/29/14 6:39 PM) Reply
This is my main machine also -- I love it!
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