crafts · Sewing

In my rocketship

I’m a little down today, having encountered some surprising negativity… and I, of course, am a wee bit sensitive.  Or a lot.  I might be famous for it.  But never you mind – I am resolved to put it behind me, so onto today’s post!

One of  my favorite kitschy tunes… it relates to the subject of this post!

I’ve been wanting to get a second machine.  You know, for when the Bernina is in the shop.  Or… um… because I want one.  Specifically, I wanted a vintage machine.  I love my modern machine, but I also like the idea of connecting to the sewing past.  I decided I wanted a Singer, because my great grandma was wicked awesome on the treadle, and I love the history of the company.  I’ve always wanted one, and I was disappointed when buying my modern machine that Singer isn’t what it once was.

Once you decide that you want a vintage machine, there are many questions to answer – do you want treadle or electric? (electric for me.)  Do you want a small or full-sized model? (full sized!  I’m not traveling with my machine!)  What features matter to you? I wanted a really good straight stitch, with the ability to sew through thick fabrics.  I wanted an all metal machine.  Any extra stitches are nice, but other than zig-zag I don’t use them much.  I like the button-holer on my regular machine, but like I said I would like a backup.  And then there is the question of looks: to get a classic black singer, or one of the more modern looking models?   My Mother-in-law has a Singer 201, the classic black machine.  It’s beautiful and sews really well.  I thought about getting one of my own, until I saw the model I just purchased on Ebay.

photo credit: Swayframe

The photo above is of a Singer 503.  I actually purchased the 500A, the same machine basically, but with more built-in stitches (top of the line in 1961!)  They are gear driven, all metal, and use cams for the decorative stitches that are not on board.

The 500 series is called the “Rocketeer,” for obvious reasons.  It’s so space age-y, I just love it!  I also love that it’s the “Slant-o-matic.”  Everything sounds cooler with “o-matic” at the end!

Here is the machine I’m actually getting, as soon as it makes its way through the postal service!

Notice the dial in the middle, which you use to set the different stitches – this is the difference from the 503.  I’m very pleased that it has a bunch of feet, (including a ruffler, which I wanted!) cams, stitch plates, and the original manual.  The cams are the black circles – it comes with 5, and they are easy to buy on ebay.  I made sure to ask lots of questions, and the overall condition looks excellent and clean (including the interior mechanics,) so hopefully it runs well!  The seller says it was her Mother’s, and that she sewed on it until her death a few years ago.  I made sure to ask if she had actually tested it sewing, and she had.

I’m hoping to find a table that will fit this machine, so that I can recess it – it has a drop-in bobbin, unlike the Bernina, and it doesn’t have a free arm, so there is no reason to not make it level with the table surface (these reasons are why I don’t want a table with my other machine… I am forever switching bobbins around, and sometimes the free arm is handy, though I confess I more often sew small diameters inside out.

Christmas ad, circa 1961

The 500A is labeled #1 here.  Check out the great turquoise machine at #7.

And yes, I have officially lost my mind.  I will be sure to post when the machine actually arrives, but I was so excited to buy it – I’ve been ebay stalking them for over a month!