on January 31, 2011
I have a Pfaff quilters machine that died and needs parts. It is going to cost about double the cost of this machine to repair it. So I figured what the heck. I've been sewing since grade school in the 1960s and have used all sorts of machines. I also worked at a fabric store for a number of years. I have some advice for the beginner. Various reviews of this machine complain about some problems I thought I'd speak to here.
This is a nice little machine. Initially even I had trouble with it. Discovered that the threading instruction picture in the instruction book is a bit tricky. Don't forget to thread the little bracket that is above the needle. It is step 7 in the book, but not obvious in the picture and not obvious on the machine. The thread first goes through the fairly obvious metal holder in step six, then it needs to go in that little tiny bracket, a small piece of metal that is laying on top of the needle mount. If you don't thread that, the thread will ball up underneath and mess up your sewing and lock up. I suggest stopping at a Joann Fabrics where they sell this machine and ask someone to show you if you can't find it. that's what I ended up doing.
Also for the beginner, Singer machines in particular can also tangle the thread if you don't gently hold the ends at the beginning of a seam. Sometimes, it will pull the thread down into the bobbin area and lock up. This is solved simply by holding the ends for the first couple of stitches. Eventually, after you've had to rip out a few balled up seams, you remember.
I made a heavy vinyl pouch with it as my first project, and it handled the vinyl really well. The feeddogs struggled a bit with the weight of the fabric, pulling it out of line, so I had to put the weight of the fabric on a chair so it didn't pull. Another tip for the beginner, always stop the machine with the needle in the fabric. You do this by stopping and quickly turning the wheel to get that needle back in the fabric.
Another tip here to any new sewer. First take the original needle out of that machine and throw it away. You have no idea what kind of shape it is in. Open the packet of needles that are in the little door in the free arm and use a fresh needle. Sharp needles are critical to any project. And they only stay sharp for a few projects at most.
When you are working with heavy fabric like vinyl or denim, you need to use a heavy duty needle, especially if you are going through four layers of denim. Check them out at the fabric store. Get the type of needle that matches your type of fabric. If you are not sure, ask. And sew through the thick parts very slowly, sometimes you may need to manually insert the needle and pull it up to get through a lot of layers properly to get the machine going. Take your time.
Knits need different needles, sometimes, a ballpoint needle that passes between fibers instead of splitting them as you sew. Fine fabrics also need different needles and they must be very sharp.
Whenever the stitching balls up under your piece, it is likely because the top or bobbin is threaded wrong. Make sure the thread is coming off the bobbin with the loose thread pointing to the left. It can be a bad needle. It can be a tension problem or a bad match between needle and fabric. If the stitches seem really tight, the tension can be turned a half number either way and solve the problem, but only after you have ruled out the other problems. IT happens to the best of us so don't get discouraged. Imagine me going into my old store to have them show me how to thread a machine. : )
Beyond all that, I liked sewing with this machine. it is relatively quiet, and does sew fast. This will be great for doing piecing for quilts. It isn't the quality of my Pfaff, which is all metal (the skin of this machine is plastic) and doesn't have a lot of fancy stitches, but it is a great value for what it does do and does execute well for all I've done so far. And perfect for a beginner sewer, or someone who only needs a machine once in awhile to hem pants or take care of odd little projects or someone like me who was going through withdrawal when her machine dies and is going to take some time to get fixed.
on May 23, 2011
I bought this little guy as a back up for my Singer Quantum 7350. I'm sew a lot of unusual fabrics and am more than a little hard on sewing machines. My daily sewing projects include costuming (vinyl, fur, etc); household uses (curtains, bedding); and formal wear. It never fails that when I'm approaching a deadline on a big project my sewing machine decides it needs to pay a visit to my friendly neighborhood sewing repair shop for a tuneup. It's about 10 years old now and if you saw what I put it through, you'd understand why. I've also dropped it twice.
I will admit, I don't actually expect this Singer to be a 'heavy-duty' machine. Not my definition of heavy-duty anyway. Not for this price. What I do expect is something that will be reliable, no frills, and hold up to my abuse. I think that's what I've got. It has only been three days and I have already made a monk's robe and caught up on my minor repair work. The needle had to be changed immediately. I don't know why, but sewing machines always seem to come with sub par, blunt needles. Once I had, it was humming along smoothly in minutes. It threads just like the other two Singers I've owned and sews a nice straight, tight stitch. It's also not as loud as some of the other reviews have said, but that may be just because I've always tended to go for the more basic, utilitarian models rather than fancy electronics and 100 stitch patterns that I'll never use and am used to a little noise when I sew.
All in all, I'm very pleased so far. I'll update this review if that changes! Happy sewing ladies and gents.
UPDATE (August 29th 2011): I might have to eat my words about this not really being 'heavy duty.' I sewed quite a bit of light to medium weight leather this past weekend and it didn't so much as hiccup. Bravo Singer!
(Be sure to use the right type of needles if you plan on doing this. Universal needles will not perform well with leather no matter how tough the machine. :))
on February 18, 2011
I am a self employed seamstress and I am very hard on machines, especially with hemming blue jeans and zippers in carhart coats and many other things. One thing I was looking for was an affordable product that was heavy duty. Singer is always a great brand and I watched videos on what this product can do, so I ordered it. Much to my dismay, I found that it wasn't any different than any other machine. Heavy Duty on this machine means nothing. It does do some of the things that they say but it does not go through all the layers of material that it says. Overall it is a fine machine, but it is not Heavy duty.
on February 24, 2012
Well, the machine showed up, with no signs of box damage or abuse.
Right out of the box the machine looked like quality but...upon plugging it in the and engaging the foot pedal, the machine is clearly not in working order. The motor is turning but it's not engaged to anything. The bobbin won't even wind. Nothing mechanical will works with the motor. It's probably a simple repair, but I don't want to void the warranty by opening up the machine to try and fix it myself.
So now I have to deal with the hassles of hoping singer stands by their machine and sends a replacement when we return this one. Ugh.
Depending on how Singer handles this, I'll consider an updated rating and review.
After waiting over 25 minutes to speak to a customer representative at Singer, we were instructed to ship the machine (at our cost) to a Singer warranty center. They would make repairs on the machine and ship it back, with no promise as to how long it would take. They made it clear that they would repair the machine, not send a replacement that actually worked. I do not want a repaired machine that I have to pay extra shipping for. A name like Singer should stand behind their name and give me a new machine at their cost. Singer disappointed with both product and customer service. I'll never buy another machine from them again.
on January 16, 2011
I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. So, my expectations were not very high when I made this purchase. I purchased this machine for a specific purpose....to take to the multiple sewing groups that I participate in. I needed the machine to do one thing....sew a good quality straight stitch, and I was not disappointed. I already own two electronic sewing machines that do everything I need them to do, but I did not want to keep putting my good machines at risk by constantly moving them and subjecting them to the elements when traveling to and from the many groups I sew with.
This machine reminds me of my first machine I received when I was in the 7th grade from Montgomery Ward. This machine does exactly what I wanted it to do. The stitches are even, the tension is perfect right out of the box and setup was fairly simple. The machine is not very heavy which is good for transport, but is heavy enough that it doesn't bounce around the table when you're sewing, even at full speed.
I have had the machine for about a week and have already pieced a twin sized quilt with no problem. The machine is louder than I expected it to be but I guess I'm just used to quieter electronic machines. As long as it continues sewing a straight stitch without any problems, I will be a happy camper. Amazon had the best price and I am completely satisfied with the purchase so far. However, I'm glad I didn't pay the [...] regular price or [...] sales price that JoAnn's sells it for. The [...] Amazon price was perfect.
Bottom line is that this is a great beginner machine and I have no doubt that it will give me years of good service.
on January 10, 2011
Have been sewing since I was 8 years old and have owned Singer sewing machines. Purchased this new for my mom, who is 90 years young. Love this machine because it is heavy duty, sews 1100 stitches per minute and is easy for her to operate. I own tnree Singer sewing machines, and two sergers. My mom loves hers and quilts on it almost every day. Shopped around and found that Amazon offered the best price for this product. If you are looking for a great machine..easy to operate, has weight to it, suggest you purchase this one from AMAZON, of course. I definitely will be purchasing from them again...
on July 19, 2013
Our startup business purchased this machine in order to make its first product, a strap for carrying groceries hands free. The paperwork indicated that it was warranted for commercial use, and the marketing indicated it was good for heavy duty stitching. The warranty is true, but the jury's still out on the "heavy duty" aspect.
We believe, having read several of the other reviews, that this machine may be shipping with a manufacturing defect. We noticed that out of the box the bobbin thread was exceedingly difficult to raise. We raised it, though, and two of our team used the machine with increasing frustration until finally the bobbin thread seized nearly irretrievably on every stitch.
The process of identifying the manufacturing defect was unpleasant. On July 10, while the machine was still under warranty, we called customer service. There were nine callers ahead of us and we waited 45 minutes. The customer service representative made us feel guilty for applying the machine to commercial use, saying, "I would never buy a machine like this to start a business." She said that twice, which is why we feel comfortable quoting her. She also said she'd never use a thread weight thicker than 50, which is a "thin" thread. We expressed our dissatisfaction with her answer, considering that the machine was marketed as "heavy duty" and the warranty covered commercial use. She gave us no sympathy. All we got was a mailing address for the service center, which we could have found on the slip of paper that came with the machine. She wouldn't even tell us what we needed to include with the machine when we sent it in. No, she was done with us, and we were to call the technician ourselves.
The technician sounded like he was having a bad day. He gave a flippant answer to our request for an estimate of turn-around time. For your information, you need to send the machine in with its original or equivalently secure packing along with a note explaining what the problem is and whether you're under warranty. We did this and shipped the machine to the service center at our cost. It came back quickly with the technician's note, "Removed burr from bobbin case." It sounds to us like a piece of excess material that should have been removed before final assembly. Either that or this heavy duty machine wears very quickly.
Knock on wood, the machine is now working. We are waiting with bated breath to see whether it endures. I strongly recommend against purchasing it, as the manufacturing, customer support, and service that Singer provide are all evidently uncaring. You can likely save money, overall, by buying a more expensive brand and avoiding all this trouble.
on September 17, 2011
I bought this machine solely on the recommendation written by S. Eaton. I discounted one of the two one star ratings, as it was from someone who had never sewn before. I am still concerned about the reports that this machine quit working for several people after only a month or two of use. I purchased it from an Amazon partner, a '40 years in business', family sewing store in California (I'm a first time customer). They have a toll free number for their sewing consultants. The store, Sewing Machine Plus in San Marcos, encourages customers to call them for any reason related to their machine.
My previous sewing experience was 3 semesters of sewing classes in public school during the 1960's. During the 1970's and 1980's, I sewed the basic stuff for myself (dresses), younger kids, and household items, like simple curtains and bedspreads. I quit sewing sometime towards the end of the 1980's, only using my current machine for 'repair' jobs since then.
My one and only sewing machine is my late Grandma's 'new' Singer, a 1950 model, which I inherited in about 1972. Although it still works like a gem, I have been a bit nervous about its 60 year old wiring. In the past I've used several models of Singer, Elna, Necchi, and a White-Westinghouse that just loved to literally 'eat' material, especially if you had to make a bridesmaid dress. When I saw this one advertized at a local store on sale for $149, down from $199, I decided to do some internet research. The result was this model delivered to my house for $129.
I had no trouble setting up the Singer Model 4411, reading the directions, winding the bobbin, etc. I paid attention to look for the last thread guide, as S. Eaton mentioned, but I have something similar on my old 1950 machine, so I probably would have realized the thread went there, even without her caution, which was still great to have, btw. My only 'mishap' so far, if you can call it that, was detaching the presser foot, when I meant to lift it for the first time. This was due to the lifter for the presser foot being lower down on my old 1950 machine, and the presser foot on the old one being attached by a screw, not a lever. Anyway, it only took a few seconds to realize what happened and to rectify the situation. I simply lowered the presser foot lever to reattach the presser foot.
After threading, it worked beautifully on my first attempt at sewing, which was repairing some ripped heavy duty, denim jeans. I'd been thinking about getting a new machine for several years, and had even done some internet research on some simple models.
I am used to my old, heavy weight machine and its attachments, so the 'plastic' aspect of this one is different, but should be easy to get used to. I have also never sewn on a machine with more than one stitch type. I haven't experimented with different stitches, yet, but the 'dial' for changing stitches doesn't seem as 'intimidating' as some of the controls that I've seen on some of my relatives more expensive machines. It appears that this machine will suit my purpose of clothing repair, and perhaps some light sewing of pillow shams, and duvet covers, etc. If you are 'old' like me, and used to using the older, simpler machines, you shouldn't have any trouble at all using this model. Also, if you decide to purchase this model, please be sure to read the review by S. Eaton "Higher Educator". It has some great information in it for using this one, especially for the less experienced sewers.
on January 21, 2015
hell yah. the guys at work thought that it was weird that i was excited for a sewing machine to show up
this thing is a work horse, 4 layes of 14 oz canvas, and 4-5 ox leather, didnt slow down
on February 1, 2011
I bought a used Singer Fashion Mate years ago. It was a workhorse; I used it to fix my clothing and also sewed artwork with it. The controls and manual were easy and intuitive enough I was able to do whatever needed to be done with no training.
The years caught up with it and the only repair place around here (where I live) told me it would be cheaper to buy a new one than to have old faithful repaired.
Like many of you I could see what the problem was- very simple- but there were no replacement parts other than to find and buy an identical machine and raid the parts from it. I was shocked that even with CAD design no one had come up with after market repair parts to hawk on Amazon, eBay, etc.,.there's got to be a zillion of those machines out there...
Moving on with this, I was told by everyone- all of the lower end, new plastic housing sewing machines weren't very good. I know a lot of it has to do with the task you are trying to accomplish...so if all you ever do is darn torn items the lower end ones will probably get you by. I want to be able to sew canvas pieces together as well as other general items that will require a bit more firepower than what is needed to sew muslin together.
The 4411 and it's mate have "heavy-duty" embossed in the plastic though I think because of the price most of us can figure out for ourselves it is designed for the home market. I am still learning to use the machine- so far it has done everything I have asked it to do and hasn't struggled when I have asked it to hem bluejeans at the inner and outer stitch lines. So there is joy in using a new machine that is tuned and ready to rock.
I rated this machine 4 out of 5 stars because I suppose a five star machine would be more expensive and perform even better. This is off the top of my head so the model number might be incorrect but after purchasing this machine (4411) I would look at the step up (4423 ?)and look at the additional features which I believe is (just) a few extra decorative stitches(?). I figured when I purchased the 4411 I will pretty much do standard stuff- I am a guy that wants to be able to fabricate simple things. I am not a tailor or seamstress so those extra stitches would probably be lost on me other than to decorate a piece of cloth for entertainment.