Monday, 5 October 2009

My Singer treadle

I woke up this morning, all by myself. Well, I wasn't BY myself, I was sharing the bed with DH and one little girl who refused to sleep in her own bed. What I mean is, I woke up and thought and pondered for a while without anybody jumping on me, pulling blankets off or begging pitifully, "pwease Mummy, pwease Mummy bwekky!" (Like yesterday).

I thought about my treadle. I had bought it at a farm clearance sale in the mid-north of the state probably 10 years ago. I just loved the concept of having something that didn't rely on electricity. I also loved the concept of it's simple mechanical pulley system and of course the pretty black and gold machine itself. I had always wanted one of the old cast iron frames with the pretty little drawers and things, but so did everybody else and they were never within my price range.
I paid around $70 for this one. The woodwork isn't fancy like the older ones but it still has interesting features, like the bentwood swing out drawer and nicely patterned veneer. I was lucky as the instruction book and many accessories were intact and the belt fitted well.

I had dragged it into the sewing room from the garage a few months ago, in the hopes of actually using it. I tried a few times to sew but I had all sorts of trouble with the fly wheel spinning forwards and then suddenly backwards. I just couldn't seem to get the hang of it so dragged it back out of the sewing room in defeat. Luckily it only went as far as the Sun-room .

Recently another member of the Crafty Mamas forum who had also always wanted a treadle, was lucky enough to find one very similar to mine and was telling of the fun using it. Even her kids could do it! She then posted something she had made on it.
That was it! I had to give it another go. I read a few sites on the net about treadles. One informed me that there was only forward motion on a treadle. This confused me even more as I was sure mine was feeding backwards. So this morning, before brekky, in my jammies, I pulled the treadle out, unfolded it, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS, and..... it worked! Though a little stiffly. So out with the oil and with some tlc, was soon sewing smoothly in forwards motion AND reverse. I even filled a bobbin and was impressed with the little winding mechanism that disengaged automatically when full.
I think mine must be one of the latest models. Because it was used on a farm in what was once a remote area, it would have been without mains electricity for a lot longer than other cities and towns so it had features not found on earlier models. It does actually have an electric lamp fitted at the back and inside the cover, it advertises the lamp and electric motor to covert from treadle to electric pedal.
Totally off topic:
Did you know that here in South Australia, there was once a tax on electric appliances? Or so I was told by my dear departed FIL. I will try and research this some more. But I think that you were allowed lighting, but if you had a modern appliance such as a fridge or maybe a sewing machine, you had to pay some kind of tax on it. I don't think my side of the family would know about that as they were still using wood chip burners and meat safes much longer than more affluent families. I remember that we got our first telephone a lot later than many of our neighbours. Probably late 60s or early 70s.
OK back on track:
Basically, IT WORKS, YAY! I think it would develop good muscles using it regularly. I could get exercise doing something fun. Isn't it silly how all these electric appliances were developed so that we didn't have to exert ourselves and to save time, and now we have to spend time doing pointless and useless activities to exert ourselves and keep fit? Like pedaling and running on the spot. Or running down a road a certain distance, then turning around and running back again. It makes me think of prison punishment, where you dig a big hole, then fill it in again. Makes you wonder doesn't it? Are we crazy? Hmmm..

Oops getting off track again, lol.

Here she is:
I will have to take some better photos later.

Here are the reversing instructions in the manual:

And the accessory drawer:

And even (not very good) video of it sewing forwards and in reverse:

1 comment:

  1. She's a beauty Helen. Good on you for pesevering. I have one sitting back at mum's in the workshop, must be brave one day....