Instructions for the Frister and Rossmann QE404 Sewing Machine

Following on from a previous post, reviewing the Frister & Rossmann QE404 sewing machine, I’ve been asked loads of times if I have any instructions for it. My instruction book is an English translation and not a very good one at that, so it took a while to decipher some bits. So I’m writing some of my own instructions here for some of the machine’s functions. I hope you find it useful.


1 – Needle position button 2 – Reverse button 3 – Start/stop button

The first set of buttons shown above do the following:

1. When you press the needle position button (indicator light on) the needle will go into the down position (into the fabric) before you start sewing and, whenever you stop sewing, the needle will stop in the down position. This is really useful when you need to stop to reposition the fabric, turn corners etc as the fabric will be held in place without having to use the handwheel. When you’ve finished sewing and ready to remove the fabric, press the button so that that the needle goes back into the up position.

2. When you need to back-tack at the start and finish of the sewing, press and hold this button to sew in reverse. Release to go forward again. (only works with straight stitch)

3. The start/stop button is for sewing without the need of the foot pedal. Ensure the foot pedal is unplugged and press the start/stop button to start sewing, press again to stop. Takes a wee bit getting used to but you can adjust the speed the machine is sewing at by using the speed adjustment lever (see no.16 on image below). When it first starts sewing, it will start slowly and then will get up to the speed you’ve selected.


LCD Screen Operation Buttons

1. Pattern group selection button
2. Mirror button
3. PES auto stop button
4. Pattern group indicator – group 1 (see image below)
5. Pattern group indicator – group 2 (see image below)
6. Pattern group indicator – group 3 (see image below)
7. Memory mode pattern indicator
8. & 9. Stitch length setup button (also page down/up when selecting stitch pattern)
10. & 11. Stitch width setup button (also left/right button when selecting stitch pattern)
12. Memory mode edit button
13. Delete setup button – memory mode (also used to reduce pattern elongation)
14. Insert setup button – memory mode (also used to enlarge pattern elongation)
15. Pattern selection confirm button
16. Speed adjustment lever


How to setup your chosen stitch selection:

Note: the numbers in brackets refer to the LCD screen operation buttons shown in the second image of this post.

1. Press the ‘pattern selection confirm button’ (15), to enter the pattern selection screen on the LCD display.

2. Press the ‘pattern group selection button’ (1) to light up the indicator next to the pattern group you want to select from (4, 5, or 6).

3. Press the ‘page down or up buttons’ (8 or 9) to scroll through the available patterns shown on the LCD screen.

4. Press the ‘right/left buttons’ (10 or 11) to choose a pattern from those displayed on LCD screen.

5. When chosen pattern is highlighted, press the ‘pattern selection confirm button’ (15).

6. The LCD screen will now show the pattern selected, a picture of the recommended presser foot to attach to machine and the stitch length/width at recommended settings.

7. Ensure you have the correct presser foot attached and adjust the stitch width/length if required – note: certain stitches will not go above/below certain widths or lengths. It will beep if you can’t adjust it anymore.

LCD screen on QE404

The LCD display screen shows normal straight stitch selected from group 1 of the pattern list.

zig zag stitch selected on QE404

The LCD display screen shows standard zig zag stitch selected from group 1 of the pattern list.

pattern selection for the QE404 sewing machine

A snapshot from the instruction booklet.

Using the PES Auto Stop Button (3) and Mirror Button (2):

Note: the numbers in brackets refer to the LCD screen operation buttons shown in the second image of this post.

Some stitch selections can be used with the ‘PES auto stop button and the mirror button. When the symbol < is displayed at the middle of the left-hand side of LCD screen then you can press the PES auto stop button (3) to make the machine automatically stop stitching when it has finished sewing the selected pattern. The indicator light will be lit up at (3) if you’ve selected it.

PES Auto button on QE404

A snapshot from the instruction booklet.

When the < symbol is displayed at the top left-hand corner of the LCD screen, you can press the ‘mirror button’ (2) which will make the selected stitch pattern sew a mirror image of itself at the same time.

mirror button on QE404

A snapshot from the instruction booklet.

Decrease/Enlarge Size of Selected Pattern (13 & 14):

Some of the stitch patterns can be enlarged up to 5 times by pressing the ‘Insert’ (14) button. Reduce back in size by pressing the ‘Delete’ button (13). The patterns that have this function are shown below, they are in the group 2 section of the pattern list:

Stitches that can be enlarged on QE404

Patterns that can be enlarged up to 5 times.

How to use the Alphabet/Number stitches and how to set up the memory for words/names, etc:



As you’ll see from the images above, the alphabet stitches are a bit limited. There’s just the one style, capitals and this is how it will look once you’ve snipped away the joining stitches between each letter. You could leave it as is if you want but I find it looks and reads better without these excess stitches.

Note: the numbers in brackets refer to the LCD screen operation buttons shown in the second image of this post.

To stitch one or more individual number/letter/symbols:

1. Press the ‘pattern group selection button’ (1), until the indicator light for group 3 is lit (6).

2. Press the ‘pattern selection confirm button’ (15).

3. Use the ‘page down/up buttons’ (8 or 9) until you can see the number/letter/symbol you want.

4. Use the ‘left/right buttons’ (10 or 11) to highlight the number/letter/symbol you want.

5. Press the ‘pattern selection confirm button’ (15) to select your chosen number/letter/symbol.

6. If you want a mirror image of the number/letter/symbol, press the ‘mirror image button’ (2).

7. If you want to stitch just one of the chosen number/letter/symbol, press the ‘PES auto stop button’ (3). If not selected you can continuously stitch the number/letter/symbol over and over again.

To set up the memory to stitch a sequence of numbers/letters/symbols:

1. Press the ‘pattern group selection button’ (1), until the indicator light for MEM (the memory) is lit (7).

2. Press the ‘Edit’ button (12). If something was saved to the memory before, keep pressing the Delete button (13) until it’s cleared.

3. Press the ‘pattern selection confirm button’ (15) and use the ‘page down/up’ (8 or 9) and the ‘left/right (10 or 11) buttons to choose a number/letter/symbol. Press the ‘pattern selection confirm button’ (15) to select the one you’ve highlighted.

4. Add another number/letter/symbol by repeating step 3 and keep repeating this step until you’ve completed your selections (up to 30).

5. If you’ve made a mistake, use the ‘left/right button’ (10 or 11) to highlight the wrong one. Press the ‘delete’ button (13). To insert a new number/letter/symbol, make a space where it should go, by using the ‘left/right button’ (10 or 11) to highlight the correct position and press the ‘insert button’ (14). A space will appear and you can now repeat step 3.

6. Once you’re happy with the selections, press the ‘Edit’ button (12). Now your ready to sew. Your selection set will automatically sew as soon as you press the Start/Stop button or the foot pedal. The machine will automatically stop sewing when the set is complete. Remember, when using the numbers/letters/symbols function, it’s going to sew in the usual sewing direction (towards you), so the finished set of numbers/letters/symbols will be on their side, like below (so watch how you position the fabric you want to sew on):


Errors displaying on the LCD screen:

Here’s some of the usual errors that will pop up on the screen and what you need to do to rectify the situation:

1. This will appear when the lever on the top of the machine is set to the right (for winding the bobbin). Return it to the left when not winding the bobbin.

2. This might appear whilst your sewing, and the machine will stop – usually when it gets jammed. Turn the hand wheel on the right-side of the machine to solve the torque problem.

3. When this displays you need to correct the presser foot position – say if you’ve forgotten to put the presser foot down before you start sewing.

4. This displays when you have pressed on the foot controller by mistake or if you’ve pressed on it too quickly and the machine doesn’t sew. The foot pedal needs to be pressed down gently when you begin to sew.

5. & 6. This indicates that the buttonhole lever is in the wrong position, either down when it shouldn’t be (push up out of the way) or it’s up when it should be down (for when you’re using the button hole feature). Pull it down if needed. I have a tutorial for using the buttonhole feature here.

Error messages QE404 sewing machine

I think that’s most of the major functions explained, if there is anything else you need to know leave a comment and I’ll do my best to add to this post. I hope you find these instructions of some help.

Happy Sewing! 🙂

92 thoughts on “Instructions for the Frister and Rossmann QE404 Sewing Machine

  1. Please could you post how to thread the machine and replace the bobbin. My machine didnt even have an instruction manual and keeps snagging and jamming so I’ve clearly threaded something incorrectly. Thank you

      1. Hi, I just wondered if you have the link for this tutorial? Thank you. Very new newbie!!!

  2. Hi, I can’t get the fabric to move …… the needle goes up and down but nothing else! I’m tearing my hair out. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. FYI, I’ve re-threaded the machine 3 times.

  3. I’ve sorted it now ….. or rather my daughter has! She had it on free embroidery. For anyone else who has the same problem there is a switch at the back of the machine.

    1. Hi Jo,
      so sorry for delay in answering you, been on holiday. I’m glad you sorted the problem. That’s what I was going to suggest to you as was only thing I could think of that would make the fabric not move at all. Well done, to your daughter!

  4. Hello Susie! So glad, that I found this page. I want to buy my first sewing machine and I found this little miracle. I was put off by not clear manual, but you made things much easier. People who use it say its wonderful. I wonder though, if its not too much for beginner? Also good to see embroidered letters, but I’m wondering if there different font options?

    Thanks for your help

    1. It might be a little overwhelming for a beginner but you don’t need to use all the fancy stuff and these can be used later once you’re used to the machine. There’s just the one embroidered letters option.

  5. I’m wondering if the manual has any troubleshooting tips in it? Just of the sudden my bobbin thread isn’t being caught during the stitch. I can’t figure out what is wrong!

  6. Check that the tension is correct and check that everything is threaded up correctly, especially the bobbin thread. Check that the bobbin casing is sitting correctly too and not jammed up with lint or thread.

  7. Great info, thanks. I am able to select all stitches but am confused by how to freestyle ! Am able to lower the feed dogs, but which stitch? What length?
    Help please.

    1. Hi Amanda, pleased you found the info helpful. Best thing for freestlyle is experiment with straight stitch on a medium length of about 2.5. Then vary between shorter and longer lengths to see the different effects. The speed you move the fabric around will also give you different effects.

  8. Hola me llamo marí carmen y recientemente se me han borrado las instrucciones de la maquina aunque estas estén en ingles espero que me sirvan de ayuda muchas gracias.

  9. Hi, I want to create words, do I need to use the embroidery foot and do I lower feed dogs, do I remove the extension table, do I need a hoop. I have never tried this before, and only bought my QE404 a couple of months ago. many thanks, Susie

    1. You can use the alphabet that is provided with this machine, the instructions (if you have them) show how to program words to automatically stitch. The font is only one size and type though. When using that option, you don’t use the embroidery foot and you don’t lower the feed dogs or remove the extension table. If you want to free-hand words, then yes you’ll need to use the embroidery foot and lower the feed dogs and a hoop would be a good idea. See this post I did previously on free-hand embroidery.

  10. Hi. I have just been trying to embroider names but the letters keep going over each other, wondering if I am using the wrong foot? Any help would be appreciated.

      1. Thanks for replying.yes using all purpose foot and feed digs are up. I have done it before Nd it was fine so I am sure I must be doing something wrong somewhere !

  11. Hello Susie – is there a hoop you would recommend using with the 404? The raised needle plate makes free hand difficult with my current hoop bumping into it.

  12. I have just got this machine as an early christmas present. I’m absolutely delighted with it but even more pleasing is that I discovered your extremely helpful instructions! especially as I was having a problem trying to use the automatic threader for the first time. thank you so much. best wishes!

  13. Hi, thank you Susie-you are a God send. I’ve just bought this machine and have read and ‘re-read the manual but, I can’t find anywhere that tells me how to alter the default needle position. I like sewing with a quarter inch foot and like to have my needle off centre. Any ideas how to do this please? Many thanks in advance.

    1. I haven’t tried to change the default needle position on this machine. It automatically sets the correct position depending on the foot and stitch you’ve selected. I can’t see any other way of overriding it’s settings. On my mechanical machine it’s easy to do by altering the stitch width dial when straight stitch is selected but I don’t know how to override the computerised machine settings.

      If any other readers have any suggestions please do leave a comment.

  14. Hi Susie
    I received this sewing machine for Xmas, was working fine for a couple of hours then when I went to switch it back on the needle is jumping from side to side Continuously and will only stop and go to the centre if I lightly touch the needle threader knob on the side? Any ideas please.

    1. I would suggest turning it off and re-threading both the needle thread and bobbin and checking that the needle threader isn’t in the wrong position. It does sound like the needle threader could be slightly out of line, maybe getting in the way? If you can’t stop the problem though, ring the dealer where it was bought from.

      1. Just re threaded but still no luck, very strange. I’ve looked at the position of the needle threader but it seems to just relocate itself once you’ve threaded the needle. The machine still works which is a good thing but very frustrating.

          1. I think I will on Friday. Just one last question, any idea why the fancy stitches are appearing on the underside of my fabric rather than in top

            1. Hmmm, I’m sure I heard of someone else having that problem. I think something to do with the bobbin holder not being set in right. I’ll get back to you if have any other idea.

      1. Hi Susie
        Thanks for that, just redone the bobbin and now sewing on the correct side, phew. Also the juddering of the needle has stopped so all is good. You have a fab website here, keep up the good work. Thanks for your help

  15. Hi Susie, is there any way to change the size of the alphabet? I would like it a little smaller and closer together…

  16. I’ve been in teàrs …… Been waiting to properly use my 404 from Xmas till first chance today and I can’t get the fabric to feed. Dog teeth aren’t reaching the top of needle plate at either setting on the rear control. Anyone got a suggestion please?

    1. In the feed dog up position, they don’t come up till you start sewing again. Are you sewing and they’re not coming up at all? Double check that the feed dog switch is in correct position.

      1. Thanks! Turns out it needed to be sent away to be fixed 😔 but returned today, ready to go!!! Cannot wait to get started

  17. Can you please explain to me how I get simple zigzag stitch up on my screen? I have been sewing for 60 years and this is the first time I have been unable to see with any machine, cannot believe something so simple can be so difficult to find.

    1. Hi Diana,
      it is a bit more fiddly to get some of the stitches isn’t it? On mine, you press the select button to light up the first pattern selection button and then use the page up/down buttons to highlight the zigzag stitch. You’d then adjust the width/length accordingly.

  18. Hi Susie,
    I am looking for a machine not used one for 30+ so last machine was basic, would this be to much for a total beginner?? I thought I had seen a stitch comparison with your brother can’t find it now, the stitching on the 404 was not brill as I remember?? This machine very cheap for all you get, is it to good to be true?? Seen quite a few negative comments on it. Thanks. Sue.x

    1. Hi Sue, sorry for delay in replying. It’s been a hectic week! It might be a bit overwhelming for a beginner, especially as the translated instruction booklet is a bit of a hit or miss. That’s why I’ve done quite a few tutorials about it. It’s good for the price but it’s best to try out a few different ones at your local dealers I think.

      1. Hi
        I have a 1/4 inch foot but love in Belgium and would like to get a .75 cm one for a metric kit I have but I don’t se to be able to find one .

        Sent from my iPhone


          1. Thank you. The only other thing I thought I could do was make a mark on the machine .


            1. I have not heard of a magnetic seam guide, sounds a good idea, will have a search.
              Thanks again


            2. Hi Susie

              Thanks, I had just seen that mentioned on a review. Maybe will have to be sticky tape or post it notes then I think!



              Sent from my iPad


  19. Hi I have this machine but can’t get the gathering foot to gather.The foot came with the machine.There is nothing in the book about using this foot.Has anyone tried it? Is there some special setting? because mine just sews in a straight line.Any help would be appreciated

    1. Hi, yes I’ve tried out the gathering foot that came with the machine. I had to put the tension right up to 9 as far as I remember, before it would do any gathering. It works but it’s not fantastic. You might be better buying a universal gathering foot which just clips on to the presser foot – one that separates the top fabric from the bottom fabrics, so you can join gathered fabric to flat fabric.

  20. Hi Susie, purchased my 404 after researching and reading all your blogs. Very happy indeed…lots of stitches etc etc. I decided to buy this model because of the over locker feature…but alas…i cannot seem to get where and how to programme!!!! Can you help please….regards
    Thanks for a lovely blogging page!!!

    1. Thanks so much, really kind of you. I’m pleased you’re enjoying the blog. Attach the overlocker foot (no. 9 in the manual if you’ve got the same one as me), one side is longer and it has a metal bit sticking out along the longer side. Set the stitch to one of the overlock stitch selections – stitch image should show zigzag with straight stitches down one or both sides if the zigzag. Select width and length required and then stitch the edge of the fabric, with the raw edge aligned with the metal sticking out bit. I’ll try do a picture tutorial about this asap.

      1. Thank you Susie….that is what I did …. but obviously need some practice. Will try again. Will let you know!!! Looking forward to tutorial.

  21. Hi. I’m having a problem sewing a hem on the bottom edge of a T-shirt – any tips? I have been using straight stitch presser foot.

    1. Hi, thanks for getting in touch. Depending on your fabric, you might find it better to use a ball-point or stretch needle. Try adding a strip of stretch fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the hem edge, before turning up, which will make it easier to sew and less likely to go all wavy and stretched. Use a stretch stitch, such as a narrow zig-zag, and loosen the tension a little. Test out these suggestions on some scrap fabric to see what works best for you. A walking foot might make the job easier, as this will feed the two layers of fabric through at the same pace. Let me know how you get on.

  22. Hi Susie, I love my 404 but I can not get the button hole foot to work , each time I set it up following instructions it won’t work , I get a arrow pointing down very frustrating hope you can help me .

    1. Hi Joy, see my earlier tutorial for using the button hole foot here Hopefully will help you. I’m assuming you might not have pulled down the button hole lever? I’ve also done a tutorial for the button foot, for machine stitching buttons in place, see here:

      1. Hi Susie , thank you for the quick reply yes you are right I did not pull down the buton hole leaver 😚 silly me , Thank you for all your help I love your blogs. 👍👏👏👏. Joyce


  23. I have just purchased the 404 so am looking forward to receiving it can’t wait
    But am a bit concerned with the problems that people seem to be having

    1. I’ve written quite a few different posts and left comments on this post to help out with most of the problems. Quite a lot of the problems are just that it is a bit difficult to get to grips with at first, due to the badly translated instruction booklet that comes with it. You should hopefully not come up against anything major. If you need any help of advice with it, just ask. Hope you find everything goes well.

  24. This reveiw has been so useful because it was a hussel to go through the whole booklet due to insufficient time. I would have loved a video version…. That is if you could but honestly, I can now confidently hit on my machine and do some sewing. Thanks so much because you have save me from reading the whole booklet.

  25. Help ! My machine seems to think my presser foot is on wrong or in the wrong position but it is not . Ive taken it off and on twice . Any tips for me. Machine has only been used twice.30 years of sewing but not on computerised models. Thank in advance .Diane.

  26. Hi is there any way to set stitch default on the QE404 (e.g. long straight stitch) so you don’t have to set up again after every time switch off ? My wife had old Frister Rossmann 30+ years which is still a reliable workhorse then bought the QE404 to do some quilting when retired and now uses for everything. My daughter liked it so much bought her one the same for her graduation present. It’s a great machine but just wish it was smart enough to tell you bottom spool has run out – and if could have sensible default stitch. Great blog thanks

  27. Has anyone else had trouble with the one step buttonholer? I don’t know how many hours of my life i have wasted trying to get this to work. Sometimes it works but more often than not it just wrecks the item that you have made. I only bought this machine for the one step buttonhole, but I wish I had gone for a different model now…….it’s rubbish

    1. Are you setting the pull down lever to the correct position? This makes a huge difference. If positioned wrongly the stitching will get stuck and just go over the same bit without moving along.

  28. Hi I have read that if you rethread the bobbin the opposite way the sewing machine will sew the selected pattern on the top instead of underneath and mine still sews on the underside any advice or help I would be really grateful

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