Monday, September 28, 2015

Practicing on the Treadle Sewing Machine

This is my grandmother's sewing machine. My mom had the cabinet restored and I am very fortunate to have it in my home. Recently, mom and I decided to use this machine to sew together a quilt top with blocks made by my great grandmother.

Before Mom and I get too far into putting together the blocks from my great grandmother, we wanted to get some practice in on the treadle machine. Fortunately, my husband knows a lot about sewing machine care so he put the belt on, oiled it up in all the right places and made sure it was ready for us. She came over on Sunday for lunch and then we got started with our sewing.

Thank goodness for YouTube. The bobbin is a long bobbin set inside a shuttle, similar to this one.

We were able to thread the bobbin and the machine, and insert the bobbin in the shuttle, but could not figure out how to put the shuttle in the machine. These videos saved the day:
Once set up was complete, the sewing worked fabulously.

After a while, the light through the window was a bit much so we turned the machine to the side. I love watching my mom sew. She remembers making clothes on this machine as a teenager. I used a piece of painters tape to mark the 1/4" seam allowance for her.

I was really impressed with the stitches. They are a bit small but very even and the tension is just right.

Every now and then, a little bit of thread would bunch up on the back, but it never impeded sewing and still holds the seam together just fine. It may be happening on stops and starts so we'll check that out next time we sew.

This is the uncropped version of mom sewing. I love the contrast of my youngest son in the background playing computer games. There have been just a few technology changes over the two generations.

The sewing machine is set up right in the spot where our Christmas tree usually stands. I told mom we had until the end of November to get that quilt top put together. I believe we will share a number of Sunday afternoon sewing sessions over the next few weeks.

Related posts:
Treadling Away
Works in Progress - Treadle Piecing and Machine Quilting 
Quilt Blocks from my Great Grandmother


  1. Oh, treadle machines are so cool! I really want one so I can sew during power outages, and so I'll have a skill I can barter during the zombie apocalypse. :)

    1. Note to self: Move treadle machine upstairs at the first sign of a zombie apocalypse. Thanks, Sylvia!

  2. I would give anything to have my Grandmother's machine. I had always told her that I wanted it but one day I went to her house and found out that she had given it to a neighbor....I was SO disappointed!!! And now I wont be able to live thru the Zombie Apocalypse!!!! Hope you enjoy making the quilt on it!!!


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