No Dual Feed? No problem!
Now that my “new” Singer 404 has been cleaned, polished, oiled and lubed, light bulb replaced with an LED and foot pedal upgraded to a modern electronic, (first two things I do on every vintage machine), and have decided this machine will be my dedicated piecer, I put my favorite quarter inch foot on her and then went about setting the presser foot pressure.
That is KEY for me. I will never own a sewing machine that doesn’t have adjustable presser foot pressure. I love dual feed, but I can pretty much compensate (not entirely) with a pressure adjustment.
To start, I usually grab a leftover jelly roll strip, fold it in half and cut a smidge off of both ends, so they are exactly the same length. You need a fairly long piece of fabric to see how much the top layer is going to creep.
I set my stitch length to 15spi, which is what I piece with.
I’d already lightened the presser foot pressure while doing test sewing when I balanced out the tension, so I did a trial run with it as it was.
I’ve gotten pretty good at eyeballing the height of those knobs, but it usually takes some fine tuning.
I must have eyeballed it pretty well this time, because my ends matched perfectly! Had they not, I would have continued to lessen the pressure on the presser foot until I no longer had any fabric creep. Since this machine will be used for quilt piecing, I won’t touch it again.
The last thing I check is that my seam lays perfectly flat with no “ruffling”. I usually take care of that when I setup the tension when Jim is doing the restoration, but I double check now. If there is any “ruffling” at all, then both the bobbin tension and the upper tension need to be loosened more. Why both? Because I always want my perfect tension with my preferred threads (50wt cotton Aurifil on top, 60wt polyester Bottom Line in the bobbin) to be precisely in the middle of the tension dial, on 4.
This solves a lot of piecing issues all on its own.