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Thread: What do you know about treadle machines??

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    What do you know about treadle machines??

    I'm about to go to India(for 3 months) to an orphanage with a Christian school and training center. Part of what I'll be doing is teaching girls, single moms and widows how to sew!! Problem is, I'm told that although they have 9 treadle machines, only 2-3 of them are working at any time. I sewed on my mom's treadle machine about 100 years ago haha, but I never had to do any repairs to it. Also, I don't know a brand name or anything else specific since I have not seen them yet.

    So, my dear QB darlings, I'm coming to you who have a fountain of knowledge and wisdom and asking if anyone can point me to treadle maintenance and repairs no matter what the brand is? I've googled of course, but seems to me there ought to be more then what I'm finding. I need something like a "Book on Maintenance and Repairs for Treadle Sewing Machines" or a PDF file about old sewing machines and haven't found anything like that. For any of you young ones who might not know, treadle machines are powered by a foot pedal, not electricity.

    Also, my dears, I need a source for buying scissors, pins, measuring tape etc in large quantities and as inexpensive as possible. (JoAnn's coupons won't let me buy enough). I'd like to be able to give each of them a basic sewing kit. I want to give them stuff they can use and then also replace in their country. So, I'm not taking rotary cutters or mats as I don't believe it's a common sewing supply available there. Also, I won't be taking fabric because they need to learn to use what they have locally. I'm hoping to teach them how to make handbags/purses and other smaller, easy to learn projects. Another challenge I'll have is finding something there to substitute as the stiffener or fusible fleece in the bags. Any advice or suggestions will be most welcome!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Bushkill, Pa
    It's a wonderful service you're going to be doing. I don't know a thing about treadle sewing machines except that you'll probably wind up with legs in great shape. I have just found out that wallpaper scissors are long term the
    best you can buy, and they can be purchased in a hardware store for between $8 and $10 each. They cut fabric
    as well as paper. Connecting Threads has thread that is sold at a very reasonable price. They're big spools, and you can get them in sets also for $10 or $11 that include approximately five or six spools.
    As far as the sewing machines, I would suggest calling a manufacturer and see if they have anything they could
    send you. The machines are, I'm assuming, standard sewing machines. The only difference is the treadle, which probably will need some oiling. Try Overstock.com for some of your supplies. Also, I see you are in Alaska. Connecting Threads is located either in Oregon or Washington. I wish you all the best. There is someone you can ask for help whenever you need it, and the next thing you'll know the answer is right in front of you.

  3. #3
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Here are two sites that might offer you the help you are looking for. Where in India will you be going? I worked for two mission agencies here in the US who had missionaries in India. God bless you and keep you!

  4. #4
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Hello, Dolly...... treadles are vintage so I would suggest that you post over on the vintage site. I have a treadle that was froze up and I was able to get it working with help from the vintage guys and gals over there.

    The most common problems I see are the belts missing and parts being froze up from sitting too long. Also, they can get clogged with lint and have difficulty moving. There is a cleaning post on the vintage site that might help you as well.

    I would certainly take along some tri-flow oil for the machines.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Long Island
    Treadle machines are fairly easy to repair if you have parts. You can always scavenge parts from the broken machines. What i found is that belts seem to deteriorate after a while and they do not have to be replaced with the original belt if you are stuck. You can simply staple them back or use another piece of thick leather. India has fabric galore, and their batiks are very pretty. If you are stuck for a part or something drop me a message and I will gladly send it to you. Good luck!

  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Blog Entries
    Here's the vintage machine area of this board:
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  7. #7
    Senior Member liont's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Also, most parts of India is pretty humid, so you have to deal with rust. Not sure how that will affect the mechanical parts of the treadle machine.

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Southwest Kansas
    For basic sewing supplies www.jhittle.com and www.createforless.com both have great prices.

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Tools for Self Reliance puts out a wonderful manual on refurbishing old sewing machines. http://www.tfsr.org/publications/tec...achine_manual/

    Treadleon has an article on installing belts.

    And another article on servicing a treadle.

    You might need to take several extra belts with you and a kit with screw drivers of various sizes, sewing machine oil, etc. If you don't have any experience with treadling, try to find someone to help you learn before you go, on a machine that works, so you know what a good treadle machine feels like. Good luck and have fun. Send pictures!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Fresno, CA
    I found a youtube video about making a treadle belt out of something else. I don't remember what he used but I was trying to learn how to install my belt when I found the video.

    I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!

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