How to Use a White Treadle Sewing Machine

| 1/20/2014 10:00:00 AM

Tags: sewing, Missouri, Linda Holliday,

When we brought home an antique White Family Rotary treadle sewing machine from a thrift store last year, I thought it would be just like great-granny’s old Singer I’d used as a child. After we cleaned the White and doused every moving part with oil, I figured I’d hop on and be stitching away – just like that.

Well, I soon learned the White has one very distinct difference from other treadles. The top of the hand wheel is turned away from the operator to sew. Sure, the wheel will turn toward the front as in other machines, but the thread will bunch up and make an awful mess. Treadling “backwards” took some getting used to, sort of like driving on the opposite side of the road, but now is a mindless motion.

That was lesson No. 1.

Then, since the machine had only one bobbin, I went online to eBay and bought four “vintage” bobbins in a package from the 1950s or 60s for about $2.50 each. Although they are slightly different in appearance (stamped “Japan”), they work just as well as the original bobbin.

White Rotary Treadle
Recently, when I realized I needed many bobbins for different thread weights and colors, I ordered a bargain pack on eBay – 20 bobbins for $15 and free shipping.  These bobbins are brand-spanking new and shiny. I assume “made in China.”

In the bobbin case, the modern bobbins work just fine … but, the center hole is a tad larger than the older bobbins, so they spin on the bobbin winder instead of winding on the thread.

7/24/2015 5:14:20 PM Perhaps this will help you see how to thread your White Rotary machine. It's actually quite easy. Please let me know if I can help.
7/21/2015 12:25:11 PM

Hi, I love this article but I can't find the blog posting which shows the close up of the threading sequence. Could you please provide a link or point me in the right direction. Thanks, Brita

3/8/2015 8:18:09 PM

Hi! I am picking up a White treadles this week it's missing the belt. Are they hard to find?thanks!Jenny

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