Sunday, August 1, 2010


I'm not sure how you measure progress, but this week I began to seriously question my assessment. Granted, I am no computer whiz, but I generally do alright at basic operations; I managed to thread and successfully use my serger; my sewing machine is computerized; and I can competently drive an automobile, why am I having trouble with a treadle sewing machine? It's parts are quite simple by comparison, yet I feel woefully inept. After four visits to the Singer shop ( yes, Singer does still manufacture, sell, and service treadle machines) I managed to wind a bobbin, thread the machine, and sew a straight seam. Victory! Maybe this is why someone finally developed the electric motor! There is a definite trick to sewing on a treadle machine. It all sounds so straightforward until theory becomes practice. Think walking and chewing gum, or patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Think you're good?, you try it! You'll really begin to question what you thought were your abilities. Here is the proof that I have been humbled - 2 hours to sew 6 seams. Now, before you question my sanity too, it really was fun in an intriguing, challenging, historic way. This was amazing technology for Mr. Singer in the 1850's. For hundreds of years women/men had made garments with their hands, a needle, and thread. Now they had a machine to help. My machine was manufactured in 1910 in Clydebank, Scotland. Even then, a sewing machine was still a wonder and very valuable appliance to a few housewives though it was growing in popularity and affordability. Here is the proof of my attempts at sewing on the treadle. Not too shabby, and my plaids match pretty well. Progress?Definitely! Atleast to me.


  1. did you feel like Motel the tailor in Fiddler?

  2. It is certainly a strange feeling - but one I like. Not sure who I felt like.