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Thread: Differences between the Singer 500 and the Singer 503 machines

  1. #1
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I am posting a few pictures of the Singer 500 and the Singer 503. Please note: The differences between these two will be the same differences between the Singer 401 and the Singer 403. This why I like the 403 and the 503 better - always check with your manual to make sure you are setting knobs, levers and disks the right way. I suggest looking at http://blog.sew-classic.com/2008/10/...ne-review.aspx Jenny has a link for a manual. I would print it out so you can feel free to scribble to your heart's content. She also has a chart for the disks vs the knobs on the 401/500 - THANK YOU Jenny!!!

    in my hot little hand is the cam stack off a Singer 401 - same as a 500 There are 'readers' that slide up and down on 2 little shafts to 'read' how to make the stitches. It is small but heavy.
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    The GUTS!!! Singer 500 on left and Singer 503 on right
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    Singer 503 or 403: To make a decorative stitch or zig zag put a disk on and set the lever for any width you like. There are 'readers' in a set position to 'read' the disk as it goes around - make sure you do it right so you don't break or bend a needle
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    Singer 401 or 500 you simply use the stitch selector knobs and choose a combination - then you set the lever to 2, 3 or 4 to get different stitches
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    For the Singer 503 or 403, put a disk in following manual directions - then the width can be set but it can also be set left or right of center if you use small width
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    knobs are set. Lever can be set for 2, 3 or 4 each will make a different stitch. There is no width control without a disk.
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  2. #2
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    wow! thanks...I just acquired a 503 with all the disks...haven't read the manual yet, to figure out how touse it, but my grandma made all kinds of great stitches, so I know it's in there...I just have to figure out how to use it.

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Thanks for the very informative post! I wonder why the Singer didn't make the 401 and 500's with the ability to change stitch width??

  4. #4
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    Thanks for the very informative post! I wonder why the Singer didn't make the 401 and 500's with the ability to change stitch width??
    You can change the stitch widths on the 401 and 500 when you are using a disk but not the needle setting. If you are using the cam stack the width lever determines the stitch setting in combination with the knobs on the 401 & 500.

    The 403 and 503 can change widths since they only use the disks/cams but if you use a narrow setting you can put the stitches on the right, the center or the left. The 500 and the 401 do not have that option.

    My sister and I were piecing some denim for some skirts we were making out of jeans using the decorative stitches. One of us had a 401 and the other had a 403. We both decided we liked the 403 better at that time. The 401 does have the advantage of not using disks if you are prone to losing things.

  5. #5
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Oh, I see... so really the only time you can change the width on the 401 or 500 is when you're using a cam that you put into the machine, not a built in one. Interesting. Just out of curiosity, do you know how many cams are available for these? Or is there a list somewhere on the net that has pictures of the cams made and pics of the corresponding stitches they do? Since the 401 and 500 do like 22 stitches, I imagine there has to be at least another 10-20 available as cams?

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    Oh, I see... so really the only time you can change the width on the 401 or 500 is when you're using a cam that you put into the machine, not a built in one. Interesting. Just out of curiosity, do you know how many cams are available for these? Or is there a list somewhere on the net that has pictures of the cams made and pics of the corresponding stitches they do? Since the 401 and 500 do like 22 stitches, I imagine there has to be at least another 10-20 available as cams?
    I think there are 22 cams available. Sew Classic has a chart in the above link I posted that shows what cam equals what setting on the machine - it is a little thing on her site you have to hit and you can print it out. Some of the stitch settings just repeat no matter what combination you go for on the dials of the 401 and 500.

  7. #7
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    If I'm reading her chart correctly there would still be 10 discs you'd need to buy to be able to do ALL the stitch outs available for the 401 and 500's?

  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    If I'm reading her chart correctly there would still be 10 discs you'd need to buy to be able to do ALL the stitch outs available for the 401 and 500's?
    I believe you are right and they still do not have needle setting L C R

  9. #9
    Senior Member Numa's Avatar
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    Love my 503. She's a workhorse and sews beautiful. Love to piece with her. That straight stitch needle hole plate is great.

  10. #10
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I wonder why 401's are up for sale very frequently and I don't see 403's? Maybe many less were sold?

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