Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Singer 500 Rocketeer *Date*

A good friend and a quilter/fabric artist, Wadiyah called while back and said, "Singer 500, Slant-O-Matic sewing machine. Do you know anything about it? My daughter, Rachel, gave it to me. It was left in the house she just bought."

Do I know anything about it? I have one, I told her.

I actually found and bought one a while back at a thrift store. It came in a cabinet. The cabinet wasn't in the greatest condition, but I'm afraid they so totally mispriced this machine. (good for me)  So I bought it. It had a foot pedal mounted to be used with the knee lever, one presser foot, one cam, and nothing else.  Evrything moved, and the machine itself was in great cosmetic condition. It was good enough for me.

It sat in my sewing room all this time, until Wadiyah suggested we have a Rocketeer date. She wanted to learn how to clean and oil a vintage machine. (She has a 'modern' Pfaff as her main machine) What a great idea! I'll finally take the machine out and clean & oil it. I actually did exactly that two days before our Rocketeer date so I could show her how to use the machine.

 Singer 500 sewing machine is one of the Slant-O-Matic series machines.  There are also 301, 401, 403, and 503. The 500 has this space age looking design complete with the cool stitch selector knobs in front, thus got the nickname, "Rocketeer."

Pretty Singer "S" badge in pink and green.

Here is the view from the top. It says "Moms". So cute. I'm not peeling the label off.

The top lid opens up, and two spool pins pop up.

The inside of the lid shows all the built-in stitch patterns.

Wadiyah called it the "Jetsons" part.

It had just one cam inside. It's the #3 cam.

 I downloaded a free manual from Sew-Classic. Thanks, Jenny! After looking at the original manual booklet, I'm glad I have a larger size manual! I've also bought sewing machine supplies and parts from Jenny's Sew-Classic website. She has just the thing you need, and the prices are very good.
You can also download a free manual from the Singer website here.  In fact, many of the Singer sewing machines' instruction manuals are available as free download right here!

After a little cleaning and oiling, it sews beautifully. This machine is SO quiet, and so smooth!

Wadiyah working busily on her Rocketeer.

When she plugged in, it wouldn't move!  We figured out it was the foot pedal. Good thing, she could test the machine with my foot pedal. The machine itself is fine. She'll just have to buy a foot pedal.

Test driving. Sewing ever so smoothly!

Hers came with this nice case, a whole bunch of fancy feet, 5 or so cams, an automatic buttonholer, and extras.

She brought her daughter, Tran - Thien, with her. Tran - Thien had a new-to-her Singer Stylist 774 which she just got from her mother-in-law. We gave it a good spa treatment. Her machine was clean to begin with, so it was easy.

 I forgot to take a photo, but she even sewed a foot pedal pouch for her machine after thoroughly oiling the machine. She said, "I learned to sew on one of these!" when she saw my Singer 15-91.

It was such a fun day. Our Rocketeers brought us together.
We scheduled another Rocketter date to explore many different stitches and to really play with it! Oh, and Wadiyah gave me a little holiday present! Love that.

Do you have a Rocketeer or any other Slant machine? How do you like yours? How differently does it feel to you, slant and non-slant machines?


  1. I have a 500, as well as a 503. A 401, 403, 404, 221 white, 221 black, 2 black 301's and a two tone 301, and lots more. I love the 301's, the 400 series, and the 500 series. I don't care much for the machine with numbers higher than that. They started skimping on metal after that and started using nylon and plastic parts. The old ones are the best! Loved your photos. I know you had a great time!

  2. I have a 301-A and it's the machine I use most. It's very quiet. I never really notice the difference in the slant.

    1. I've always wondered if there was a particular reason why slant machines were made, if it had any unique advantages.