I’m done now …

I won’t be buying any more Vintage Sewing Machines.  That’s it.  I’m done.  Why?  Well, because I have my Rocketeer!  My Singer Slant-o-Matic 500.  “Barbie”, as I call her, was born in 1961.  Look at this ad someone shared on FaceBook – look at those prices.  Quite steep for the 60’s, I think!


Barbie, my Rocketeer, is similar to “Amber”, my Singer 421G.  She does the same straight stitch, reverse and zig zag.  She uses the same top hat cams, has the same horizontal rotary hook, Stitch Length Regulator, Stitch Width Selector and “all metal” gears … Well, just like my 421G, my Rocketeer has all metal gears except the one Textolite gear inside by the hand wheel.  My Rocketeer has the same number of built in stitches, comes with the same 5 Special Discs and can use the same additional Fashion Discs.


If you take her apart, inside my Rocketeer is identical to my 421G, … cam stack, cam follower fingers, bobbin winder.

Cam stack without additional Special Disc
Cam stack with Special Disc.  Here you can see the Cam follower fingers better.
Pulling off the Special Disc.

The Cam stack and Cam follower fingers operate the same on my Rocketeer as on my 421G.  Although on my Rocketeer, the Stitch Pattern Selector is so much more COOL!


As is the same with both machines, push for A to J …


pull for K through S …  Dialling different combinations and using different discs gives you numerous stitch patterns.


My Rocketeer hides her bobbin winder, special discs and cam stack and her three spindles under her top cover.  My 421G only has the special discs and the cam stack under her top cover, the rest are on top of the machine.  The Rocketeer’s top cover is one of the parts that usually gets broken at the hinges over time, but I have read it is fixable.  I was lucky, my Rocketeer’s top cover wasn’t broken off.


The side face cover is also a part that gets broken off on most Rocketeers.  My Rocketeer’s was broken when I found her, unfortunately, but I’ve found a web site with instructions for a fix.  When I get around to it, I will share it with you.  In the meantime, if I’m careful, it doesn’t fall off or interfere with my Rocketeer’s operation.  

The Rocketeer also has a Pressure Adjustment dial under her side face cover, different from the 421G.

My Rocketeer was well taken care of.  She ran just fine when I got her and I didn’t have to clean her up much, just a bit of oiling just in case.  The only stubborn stain on her was at the bottom of the column.  I managed to get most of it off with sewing machine oil and a bit of muscle.  I’m going to try “DAWN” on the remaining stain – which actually is kind of hard to see in the other photo.

As you can see my Rocketeer has a Throat Plate Positioning lever.  My 421G does not, instead you have to change to a different throat plate for darning.

I was amazed to find the extra hinge in this Rocketeer’s cabinet.  I have seen so many of these leafs sag with improper use and time.  I wish they put this extra hinge in all their cabinets.


A few vanity shots of Barbie!

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A beautiful stitch right from the start!


Barbie came with:

  • many bobbins – the original metal and some modern plastic ones that seem to work too
  • a Singer walking foot
  • original Manual
  • original Accessories box with 5 Special Discs and 8 feet and 2 throat plates
  • Buttonholer for Slant Needle Zig Zag Sewing Machines, with original Manual
  • Singer Sewing Machine Oil and Lubricant
  • original Sewing Machine needles of various kinds and prices (45 cents, 60 cents, 90 cents a package – love those prices!)


I’m done buying.  I am happy with what I have.  Besides, I still have a two more Vintage Sewing Machines, wrapped in old sheets, that I have to clean, oil and try out!  

Now back to my last Jungle January garment, which I have finally wrestled into submission.  I might not make the deadline, even though I’m so close to finishing, but I will show you my finished JJ garment no matter what.  

I’ve decided that with this New Year, I am going to take turns sewing projects on my various machines, vintage or not.  When I share what I’ve made with you, I’ll be sure to share who gave me a hand – perhaps Barbie … or Amber … or Winnie … or Ilona …  or ?  After all I think it’s about time my modern Janome had a “Spa Day” herself.


Happy Sewing!




34 thoughts on “I’m done now …

  1. wow – its gorgeous, i got a singer 328 2 years ago as a back up – its gorgeous, but I did not get cams so trawl ebay every now and then to see if I can get them – still have yet to get them. I cannot understand why anyone would buy a cheap plastic machine when you can pick up a vintage metal one for the same money!

    1. Thank you! Your’s is a lovely machine too. I’ve noticed that some provinces and states have more or less VSMs and accessories, than the other, and quite the variety of prices? My Janome probably should go into the shop for a tune up, but these are so simple inside that you can do it yourself.

  2. How gorgeous – very Jetsons!

    1. I think the Jetsony appearance is about the only difference between the two. We shall see which sews better!

  3. Your knowledge of sewing machines is so extensive, I’m really impressed. I can pull out a caught thread and oil mine, but that’s about it. Are you self taught or have you always tinkered with electrical items Linda?

    1. There is so much information on the Internet and FaceBook from others who know far more than me. I didn’t mention the sites this time, but I try to keep a list on my “1000 things to do with a sewing machine” page. And these machines, being non-computerized… Well when you open them up… What you see is it. I am self taught and always learning more – just like my sewing. It so much fun that way! 😃

  4. What a beautiful new addition to the family! I can just see it in an episode of Mad Men. I can’t wait to see what sewing adventures you embark on together. And I love the ad! That was an expensive purchase back in the day! How nice that your Janome gets a well deserved spa day:)

    1. I am pleased … still smiling! I shall put them through the test and see which I like best!

  5. Wow, congrats! It looks so cool!

    1. It is very cool… And Barbie was well taken care of before I got her, which is wonderful! I have been very lucky!

  6. She’s gorgeous! And in really nice condition, too. I’m always lusting after vintage machines, but rarely come across any that aren’t rusty. I did find one, though, and she runs beautifully! Snatched her up for $12.

    1. Oh $12 is a fabulous price. Lucky you! I spent a horrendous amount of money on this one – another reason to cool it on the VSM shopping! But Barbie is in pristine condition and worth the price… To me! 😂

  7. She’s gorgeous! I’m waiting to have my fiddleback Singer serviced, I’d like to make at least one quilt on her, though it will take a bit to get used to the hand-crank, I’ve got my eye open for a featherweight, but got to save up a bit first!!

    1. I have not seen a fiddleback in real life yet. They are very rare here, along with the Featherweights. I have seen a few of those in the past couple of years. Anywhere from $200 to $650… Which is a ridiculous price. But then I just paid a ridiculous price for Barbie so it’s all supply and demand! I blogged about my mad dash to get a Featherweight a while ago. I was successful. They are really cute VSMs. Good luck with your search!

  8. It will be fun to see your different projects and finding out how well each does.

    1. I think so. I have two garments to finish then it will be the shop for a tune-up for my Janome – then I’ll give one of my VSMs a test. No offence to any collectors out there, but I can’t stand having something that isn’t being put to good use!

  9. Congratulations on getting your rocketeer. That cabinet looks really nice, too. I keep trying to stop buying vintage machines, but none of them are exactly what I want, so I keep thinking maybe the next one will be perfect. Modern machines (well some of them) just do so much better sewing knits, and I keep hoping I’ll find a vintage machine that sews on knits and elastic well. I’m saving up for a Singer 411G – a close cousin to your two slant machines – maybe that will be the my last sewing machine! Anyway, it looks like you have a nice collection now. Enjoy your sewing machines. (And I hope you have better luck kicking the vintage sewing machine addiction than I’ve had 🙂 )

    1. Thank you! I’ll have to remember your comments about knits and elastic and see if any of mine can handle it. A 411G is a close cousin – when you find one you will have to blog about it so we can all see it!

  10. Barbie is amazing! Her Stitch Pattern Selector is beyond cool. You’re very wise to take turns sewing patterns on the “girls”, it’s the best way to ensure there will be no hurt feelings 🙂

    1. Yes, anyone with kids knows that you have to avoid hurt feelings! 🙂

  11. Congratulations! I am so excited for you 🙂
    Please share the fix for the side cover, my side cover is also broken on my rocketeer, which I have not blogged about because the days are so short I haven’t been able to get pictures of it!

    1. I’ll see if I can find the website over the next couple of days and add the link to this post so you can read it. It will take me a while to actually try it though so we shall start with the link and I’ll blog about it later … whenever I can find the time to get my hands dirty again! Don’t forget to show us photos and a blog post whenever you can!

  12. You have to love that styling – it’s gorgeous! I think using your various machines for different projects it’s a great idea. They’re designed to work, after all, so it makes sense to give them a chance to shine. 😀

    1. It is very stylish, isn’t it! I can’t stand having something that’s supposed to be used just sitting around collecting dust. I know which one I like the best – appearance wise – now I want to see which one I like the best – work wise!

  13. What an absolute beauty. I love this machine and she is spotless inside. Looks very well loved indeed and I bet that she will sew like a dream. Weren’t the old machines expensive? I was reading that this was the reason Singer started selling them hire purchase as they were too expensive for most people to fork out the money in one go. Well worth the investment if you ask me considering just how many of these “old dears” are still sewing away with perfect stitches. Love vintage machines. Xx

    1. I was very lucky to find her. She still runs well even after all these years. I look forward to trying her out on a garment. I still can’t believe how she sounds so different, not the whir-ring sound my Janome makes, but like a fast ticking clock! I was surprised at the costs in the ad. I didn’t know Singer let them out on a hire purchase agreement. Makes sense though! Learn something new every day!

  14. That stitch quality! All you ever need!

    1. I’m still smiling at my luck!

  15. Wow! So you’re really not buying anymore sewing machines….HAH! Yes, I wasn’t going to buy anymore markers 65 markers ago. Teasing aside, Im in awe of your mechanical skills in bringing these old machines back to life. As I was reading special disks and cam stacks, I thought, you’d think she was describing a car. Great work though. You’ve made the machines look new. Way to go.

    1. I’m really going to have to stop buying! I’m running out of room! I’m enjoying fixing them up though. When it’s interesting to do, you love learning about it.

  16. Oh, she’s lovely! And whilst she may have been expensive in VSM terms compare that to the cost of a modern ‘won’t last a decade’ sewing machine!

    1. Yes that’s true. And thinking that makes me feel much better… She’s lasted this many years, she sure to last many more!

  17. The German Singer # 411 and 431 were manufactured in 1964-66.. Not 1954 !!!!

    1. Interesting… this machine is a 421G. I searched the serial number on a couple of sites. If anyone wishes to have more information on their machines, Singer keeps excellent record of its serial numbers for dating on mysingerstories.com. I have searched all my Singers on there. ISMACS is also an excellent source of sewing machine information, for all brands.

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