Saturday, October 1, 2016

Singer 404 - Just Visiting!

Singer 404, Slant-o-Matic straight stitch machine

I don't need any more sewing machines, since I have what I consider the perfect line up for my needs:

  • 301 for straight stitch and majority of my sewing 
  • 503 for zigzag and decorative stitches
  • 221 for sewing on the go, and occasional backup topstitcher (the Featherweight has very precise control, making it easier to do fiddly topstitching sometimes)
  • BL3-408 for serging
(There's a 15-91 lurking around in there too, but its so big and heavy I rarely bring it out to play.)

That's really all I need for the sewing I do. But I have a soft spot for Slant-o-Matics and I've heard raves about the 400 machines.  So when I saw this one on CL I snapped it up.  It came in the nice table with its matching chair (in a godawful ugly upholstery, but hey - I can sew, can't I?) and the accessories.

(I'm selling the table, which I don't have room for, so its not pictured here.)

So what this machine is, basically, is the 301 with a drop-in bobbin and the spool spindle on top. Otherwise they're not much different.

The bobbin is identical to the 503, so I'm familiar with it.

The bobbin winder, though, is identical to the 301, and folds down flush with the machine. Oh, and it has the elevated throat plate like the Rocketeer rather than a feed-dog drop like the 301 - one other significant difference.

What matters most, of course, is how it sews.  And it sews beautifully.  Very fast, very smooth, and a perfect stitch just like the 301.

BOTTOM LINE:  This is a very sturdy, basic machine.  I've heard they were used in Home Ec classes because they are durable and easy to use, and I can see why.  The threading and operation is all very simple and there is hardly anything a hapless student could do to wreck it (other than throwing it out a window.)  It would give great results with little fuss - exactly what a basic machine should do.

If someone wanted a good beginner's machine, especially for teaching purposes, this would be at the top my list of recommendations.  Forget the cheap plastic machines at Wal Mart for a beginner, they are (pardon my French) crap.  Why not get a fuss-free, reliable, fast, and strong-stitching machine that will make learning to sew fun and easy?  And I only paid $30 for this machine - anyone can afford that! 


  1. I have both a 301 and a 401, and I like them both. I use the 401 for decorative stitching, but for straight stitching I still prefer the 301. I could not get your videos to play. It said private video.

  2. Thanks for letting me know, I changed the settings on the videos. I prefer the 301 as well, its my No. 1 favorite.