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Thread: Treadle Sewing Machine vs Determined Woman

  1. #1
    Bottle Blonde's Avatar
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    VICTORY GOES TO THE DETERMINED WOMAN!!!!

    I bought a treadle machine a few months ago and with help from the QB members I was able to identify it as a National Vindex B machine - era late 1800's to early 1900's. This machine has the bullet shaped bobbin case - aka - vibrating shuttle. I was very lucky this machine has the original instruction book along with directions for using the attachments and an illustrated parts and price list.

    I took it apart and cleaned it up shortly after getting it, but we moved in April and other things took my time and attention. Well, yesterday I decided to finish what I had started. I found help online and was able to put the belt on by myself. Then I practiced for what seemed like forever to wind a bobbin properly. I then practiced the treadle action, which is difficult for a clumsy person like me - pinched my bare toes a couple of times before I got smart enough to put on shoes and put both feet on the treadle! Getting the proper tension was a test of my patience - decided to sleep on it after struggling with it for 2 hours - and this morning I finally got it right.

    I had to improvise a few things - like using card stock to make a throat plate - the original went missing - I hope it is around here somewhere. I used a paper clip to replace the missing thread guide near the needle and my bobbin winder is missing a small piece and I have to use my hand to guide the winding arm.

    I know the treadle machines don't rock everyone's world, but I like it and plan to use it. I am proud to have been able to make this machine function again! Now I just need to practice that treadle action - it's harder than I thought it would be. LOL

    Thanks for letting me brag to you all ---- my husband gets a kick out of me, but doesn't really understand my excitement. He looks at me with his eyes glazed over --- kinda like I look at him when he replaces the brakes on the truck and then explains the whole procedure to me!

  2. #2
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Tee hee, I understnd that.

  3. #3
    Super Member ksea's Avatar
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    I understand completely, and good for you for getting it working, keep practicing and I bet you will have it completely mastered in no time at all.

  4. #4
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    Some time ago I was watching a lady on TV (guest on some quilting show) and she had one foot on the front of the 'pedal' and the other on the back. She said she had better control that way and even stitches.

    As I haven't used a treadle in almost a thousand years I can't verify this information. I do know that when I was a teen a friend had a treadle and she made all her own clothes with the thing and did beautiful work.

    Good luck and enjoy your new baby.

  5. #5
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    Well a Congratulations to you!!!! I am so glad you were able to get it up and running.

    You know what I use for missing slide plates? I go to the hobby shop and get sheet styrene (comes in tinted colors and clear) and I just cut the shuttle plates out of them and with the Styrene I can watch the shuttle do its thing while I am sewing.

    Billy

  6. #6
    Bottle Blonde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostn51
    Well a Congratulations to you!!!! I am so glad you were able to get it up and running.

    You know what I use for missing slide plates? I go to the hobby shop and get sheet styrene (comes in tinted colors and clear) and I just cut the shuttle plates out of them and with the Styrene I can watch the shuttle do its thing while I am sewing.

    Billy
    That is a good idea for the slide plate. I used the cardstock as a temporary fix, but knew I would need something else if I can't find the original. To be honest - that one is so pitted and bumpy - I probably shouldn't run fabric over it (and it is the devil getting it to slide open and closed) In what dept of the hobby store can I find the styrene?

    I would like to find a replacement for the piece that is missing from the bobbin winder. I have the heart shaped cam - and my spooler distributor arm will follow it properly while moving to the left, but will not move to the right by itself - I have to hold it against the cam to wind a bobbin level. According to my illustrated parts/price list book - there should be a small piece that is oblong with an oblong opening in the center - it is just a bit wider than the cam - and is held in place on the cam with one of the small screws that is already in the cam (I wondered why there were 2 screws in the cam) I guess this piece pulls the distrubutor arm tightly against the cam ----- does any of this make sense? This little booklet of parts is priceless - what a huge help it has been to me!

    One question --- is there a way to tone down the clunking noise? I find it charming, but it drives my dogs crazy! They keep running between my feet to bark at it! On the internet I found mention of the pitman(?) in regards to noise control but never found the tute on how to adjust it.

    THANKS A BUNCH!

  7. #7
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    congratulations on your accomplishments and handy solutions to the missing part. Treadle-ing is a wonderful experience, I think.

  8. #8
    Super Member skydiver70's Avatar
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    Congrats! on your Treadle Sewing Machine. I love them, even though I haven't used mine in a while. I need to get the guy out to clean and adjust mine (he doesn't charge much of anything to do this). Mama used hers to make all my clothes when I was going to school (eons ago!). She would use the feed sacks that you could get back then. When I was in the sixth grade, she made me a dress which I thought was the prettiest I had ever had. Daddy would buy the feed for the chickens and other animals and Mama would pick out the color sack and try to get several the same pattern and color.

  9. #9
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Congratulations! Great job. I hope to join you soon in learning to treadle.

  10. #10
    Gal
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    Super Member Gal's Avatar
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    Good for you, thanks for bringing back the memories of my DML teaching me to use her treadle machine back in the 60's, actually when I reflect on that I think it was just that she wanted help cutting and turning all the sheets, does anyone else remember doing that to get more wear out of their sheets?

    Gal

  11. #11
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gal
    Good for you, thanks for bringing back the memories of my DML teaching me to use her treadle machine back in the 60's, actually when I reflect on that I think it was just that she wanted help cutting and turning all the sheets, does anyone else remember doing that to get more wear out of their sheets?

    Gal
    Boy do I remember that - I hated having to sleep with a big seam right down the middle of the bed. I guess I am a bit like the Princess and the Pea.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Camiyamoto's Avatar
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    I love sewing with grandma's treadle machine, though my tension isn't exactly right - still working on it. I first used this machine 2-3 years ago. Took me forever to get my feet coordinated. Since I finished my project I've just looked at it as I walked by. Then last week my brand new machine decided not to work and out came the treadle. I was amazed how quickly it all came back - just like riding a bike!

    And, yes, I also remember the sheets with the seam down the middle!

  13. #13
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    Hello,
    I just joined this site this morning. I was thrilled to find out you have the same machine that I purchased today at an Estate sale. I hope you are still following this and the message gets to you. I had a few questions and you seem to really be enjoying your machine. I would like to find out if you know where I can get a manual for this. I know you got yours with the machine but do you have any ideas? I am a complete novice although I did learn to sew at 9 years old on a treadle model and I am surprised that some of it is coming back, especially after 50 years! Also, where do you find the serial or model number on yours? I can not locate it any where but I do know it is a National Vindex B Sphinx. I thought they were all engraved or stamped in but I can find nothing. I am so excited to start using it but I really want to be prepared for all the questions I know I will have. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  14. #14
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! I am sure someone will pop in and help you out on this one. It is a bit "new" for my collection (I collect 1880 and earlier machines)

    Steve

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    Thank you.

  16. #16
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    Congratulations! You stuck with it, solved a lot of different things, and now treadling is just a matter of practice, like a bike. Have fun!

    I know exactly how you feel. I (finally!) got a treadle base this spring, and worked at getting my old machine to sew AND learning to not let the hand wheel roll backwards, at the same time! It seemed I had one problem after another, but I was too stubborn to give up. Then suddenly one morning, everything finally worked. I was over the moon. Poor DH couldn't quite understand me. Fortunately, sm people do. :-)

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