Introducing my Singer 500A, Doris!
I’ve named her after Doris Day, of course. I love her films with Rock Hudson, and they are from the same time period as the new machine!
I’d say this machine was in great cosmetic condition. There are only a few tiny tings in the paint, and a little cracking on the feet underneath. I haven’t tried yet to shine up the gold printing, but I’m pretty sure it will clean up. However, when this machine arrived a week ago, it was immediately apparent to me that it had one big problem – whoever owned the machine before had been oiling it with something that was distinctly not sewing machine oil. It was probably WD-40 or similar, and you should not use those in machines – over time they freeze up the works! It sewed, but the bobbin winder didn’t turn, and the feed dogs were cranky… really cranky. She needed to be totally cleaned out and relubricated, so I took her into “my guy” at the sewing center for a checkup. (He’s “my guy” because the 500a is his favorite machine, and he congratulated me on buying one!) I could have cleaned it out myself, but to be honest I don’t have a place that’s great for doing that kind of deep cleaning – plus I really wanted a professional to go over the machine and make sure nothing else was wrong. He ended up replacing the stitch plate, because the old one had some big nicks in it, and he fixed the broken front door hinge. But other than that, he gave her a clean bill of health!
You can see above a test on a double layer of denim. The stitch quality is really beautiful – completely even and balanced. Honestly, the straight stitch blows poor Audrey the Bernina out of the water.
The 500A is the blue thread above, and I sewed a parallel line next to it in white with the Bernina (on the right… the other white line is something else.) Sorry it’s hard to see, but the stitches are lovely! The stitching underneath is nice too:
In this photo the 500a is the black thread, and the Bernina is white. Beautiful! Does it matter? Probably not, but I am thrilled!
I have a few more projects to complete on the machine before it’s totally up to speed. I want to thoroughly clean the exterior, as I mentioned. I’m not sure yet what I should use, but I will find out! I also need to clean the other feet I got with the machine – a ruffler, an edgestitcher, and some unidentified parts. They are very faintly rusty, and I’m going to soak them in Evaporust. Luckily, no rust at all in the machine, in spite of coming from humid Florida!
And then, after that I will be up and running! I would like to stitch my next project as much as possible on the 500a, to get used to the feel (I actually like the weird pedal – it’s a sort of button that you operate with your foot rather than the clamshell style.) An all mechanical machine is different, and I will say that I miss the needle up/down button! And I don’t have a buttonholer yet, so I will do buttonholes on the Bernina. Still, I’m excited to get going!
If you’ve made it this far, here’s a preview of my sundress! I have had some trials with the pattern, which I will write about later. It needs hemming and buttonholes, thus the extra strings in this photo. I do clip my threads, I swear! But not serger threads right away, so that’s what most of those are, along with basting from the underlining. I hope to have photos on Sunday!