Relearning to Sew On Treadle Sewing Machine


| 3/29/2013 4:35:20 PM


Tags: treadle sewing machine, human-powered machines, learn how to sew, homesteading skills, country skills, modern homesteading, Linda Holliday,

When I was young, I’d watch in fascination as my mother used her treadle sewing machine (an 1800’s Singer that belonged to my great-grandmother) to fashion fuzzy coats, couch covers and zippered pencil bags. I’d sit on the floor and watch as her feet deftly pedaled fast on the straightaway and then slowed as she rounded a curve or reached an end.
 

Built before electricity, the Singer purred, interrupted only when the ancient leather belt flew apart. Mom would stop pedaling, rejoin the belt ends with a bent nail and string, and resume sewing. Without realizing it, I was learning much about human-powered machines just by watching my mother sew.Linda Holliday 

Finally, at age 11, I was allowed to use the machine myself. What a thrill to pick out a Raggedy Ann pattern at Ben Franklin in town for my first project. The fabric, buttons and stuffing came from my mother’s scrap box – what she called “glad rags.”  They may only have been faded remnants of former garments, but she was “glad to have them.”

For the ruffles, I used the Singer pleat-gathering tool. Embroidering the facial features required attaching another clever gadget. I followed the directions in the yellowed manual, eventually trying out each attachment as I completed Raggedy Ann.

As a teen, I modified straight-legged jeans by adding triangles of gaudy fabric to create bellbottoms. It was the 70’s. What can I say?

After a car, my next big investment as a young adult was a $400 sewing machine that could form buttonholes and even had some extra fancy stitches (that I never used). I just plugged the machine in and away I went, consuming a million miles of thread over the years as I crafted curtains, quilts, clothes and even a boat cover or two.

Kelly
8/26/2013 10:53:39 AM

I purchased a treadle sewing machine this weekend. I cannot determine the maker. It looks like a singer, but doesn't say that anywhere on it. The words Mc Gills or Mr Gills is printed on it. Ring a bell with anyone?????


Kelly
8/26/2013 10:47:31 AM

I purchased a treadle sewing machine this weekend. I cannot determine the maker. It looks like a singer, but doesn't say that anywhere on it. The words Mc Gills or Mr Gills is printed on it. Ring a bell with anyone?????


Kelly
8/26/2013 10:43:24 AM

I purchased a treadle sewing machine this weekend. I cannot determine the maker. It looks like a singer, but doesn't say that anywhere on it. The words Mc Gills or Mr Gills is printed on it. Ring a bell with anyone?????





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