Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

My Treadle Sewing Machine January 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — ourprairiehome @ 3:49 am

Today, I started working on my treadle sewing machine. I had it moved into my bedroom in part to keep little hands from playing with the tension screw on the front of the machine. What a pain! Last time they played with it, I spent 2 months working at it a bit at a time until I finally was able to get the tension set properly. Well, I am back to the same thing again. Little hands got to it again, so I am having to reset it once more.

I spent about a half hour simply cleaning and thoroughly oiling the machine along with its treadle. With a treadle sewing machine, they have to be oiled after each use or when stored to prevent rust. When I first got the machine, the inside was rusted from having been stored in an outdoors shed for 10 yrs. After 3 bottles of oil and much cleaning, the machine worked beautifully. The painted design is no longer visible, but the machine still has much character. The cabinet still needs a bit of restoration, but I took it down to its bare wood. I removed the peeling layers of laminated wood from the cabinet top. Underneath was a beautiful cherry wood. The only part remaining to be restored is the little drawers on both sides of the cabinet. The drawers simply hang from below the tabletop of the cabinet with 3 drawers in a column on each side. I am thinking about removing the drawers completely. The wood is extremely brittle and light. It would not take much to cause them to be broken off. I haven’t decided what I will do yet. I will likely wait until I have a nice sewing box set up before making that decision.

I am finding that some of the basic supplies for a treadle sewing machine are becoming harder to locate. For this reason, I am stocking up on extra bobbins, needles, and belts for the machine. It takes a bit of searching. Some parts, such as the belt, are easy to locate. There are a few of the parts however that can be more challenging to find. I am stocking up on them so that I will always have the parts needed to repair the machine. I did a search online and found the user’s manual for my model of sewing machine. This was a blessing in and of itself.

There are more modern treadle sewing machines becoming available. The newer ones are sold without the treadle, which you then have built to fit the sewing machine. The new style of treadle sewing machines offer the capabilities of a basic electric machine. They have zigzag stitching and other features that modern sewing utilizes. If you want a treadle sewing machine, you can build your own. Older electric sewing machines can often be converted into a treadle type by removing the electric motor portion and the wheel on the side of the machine. The wheel is replaced with a belt-wheel. Add a treadle base to the machine and you have all the sewing capability as the machine gave you before. The only difference is the treadle in place of the electricity.

I love my treadle sewing machine. I am so blessed to have found it before it was too far deteriorated to be restored. Sewing for my family only requires the straight stitching. Whether making clothing or a quilt, I can sew everything on my treadle. When we first went off-grid, I had to sew by hand. My treadle makes my sewing much more efficient.


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