I need help!

Old 10-12-2021, 02:36 PM
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Thanks for the support….it’s certainly not as easy as one would think. But I’m determined
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Old 10-12-2021, 02:37 PM
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Thanks… I’m doing the same!
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Old 10-12-2021, 03:12 PM
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All these folks made some stitches on our Hand cranks. at the museum we served 1,400 or so kids in a day. 3 machines kept spinning.
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Old Today, 11:42 AM
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Default Treadling tips

This is modified from a really long comment I put on a youtube vid to help people with their treadling questions (I didn't make the vid, someone else did and then loads of commenters were talking about the trials of treadling). I hope it helps.

Practice to start with so that the handwheel clutch is disengaged (like you'd do for bobbin winding), the presser foot is up and there's no thread or needle in the machine. Have your right foot forward on the treadle pedal (and only push forward with it, that is - away from you) and your left foot towards the back of the treadle pedal (and only push back on the pedal with that foot).

You can swap feet whenever you like but the foot to the front pushes forward only and the foot to the back pushes back only. It's a bit like pedalling on a bike in that only one foot pushes down at a time while the other has a little rest. When you stop your feet should stay put - at least one of them so the inertia in the machine doesn't keep moving the machine and pedal. Otherwise, often as not, it will "roll" backwards just to spite you. :-)


Learn to treadle s-l-o-w-l-y so you can figure out where the "dead spots" are on the treadle pedal. You might be lucky and have just 1 or 2 but if you're like me you have 3 (pedal all the way forward, dead level and all the way back). You don't want to stop at those spots because if you do then you need to use your hand on the handwheel to get it going again and it's just harder to get it going again. When you do need to use your hand on the handwheel to start grab it firmly and pull towards you with a bit of vigour. "Stroking" the handwheel is a bit too gentle to efficiently overcome the inertia in the machine.

Your handwheel should only ever come towards you (even for reverse if a machine has it, some brands do even in quite old machines - machines don't "wind the other way" to stitch in reverse). Some machines - only a few brands - need the handwheel to go away from you for all sewing. You can tell what yours does by how the fabric feeds when you turn the wheel for normal sewing. But all the same principles apply for treadling, you've just got the opposite direction as your goal.

If when you stop your right foot was pushing forward then when you start again if you carry on with the right foot pushing forward the machine wheel will turn the same way it was going when you stopped. It's the same principle if you were pushing backwards with your left foot. Play around with it and observe what happens to the direction the handwheel turns when you stop and then re-start treadling. You'll soon see continuing in the treadle pattern from where you left off is "the trick" people learn through trial and error and then can't quite explain (because usually they don't consciously realise that's what they've discovered).


With practice (and going slow to start with) you'll get the hang of starting up after stopping with the handwheel always coming forward. The moment you see it going the wrong way out the corner of your eye when you start up again you know you've recommenced treadling with the "wrong foot". Swap to pushing with the other foot immediately and it will go in the right direction again.

After you've got the hang of this engage the clutch again so you can get used to it with the "heavier foot" required to move the whole mechanism of the machine. When you can stop and start pretty much at will (and use your hand on the wheel to do a "decisive stop" when you need to) and always (nearly always!) start in the right direction you're ready to put an unthreaded old needle in the machine and practice sewing on paper. Draw lines, corners and curves for you to follow.

Once you're able to stop and start where and when you want (hint - slow the treadle down as you make the approach to anywhere you want to stop) and guide the paper around corners and curves adjusting the speed as needed with your feet to suit the path you're navigating then you thread her up with a new needle, grab your fabric and sew like a pro!


For any precise sewing it is not cheating to just manually turn the handwheel. Nor is it cheating, if you have a hand-crank on the machine as well, to use that when and where it suits you. Treadling is great for fast sewing and long seams but that doesn't mean you're obliged to use it exclusively before you can call yourself a treadler. :-)

Finally - thread nests under the throat plate are often caused by incorrect threading (eg the thread is not fully between the tension discs, not properly going through all the guides or checkspring) or the handwheel going backwards. If ever you get those loops or nests in random places on a seam rather than all the way along when you haven't even changed the tension on the machine check those two things first. If you changed the needle make sure you put the new one in the right way round.
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