I do a little sewing from time to time, mostly
re-purposing old clothes.
I have yet to find a sewing machine which pleases me. New machines stink of oil and plastic and I find because I tend to be heavy on the foot pedal the machines run away with the fabric. I wanted something simple, timeless, not complicated and something I could control.
I started looking into the old treadle machines thinking they were hard to find or would cost a fortune and to my surprise, they are quite easy to come by and are not overly expensive. I paid $175.00 for this one. It is missing one rack of drawers, has a few scratches, a little surface rust in spots but moves freely, works perfect and came with extra parts. I think this was a good deal.
It is currently in the garage and we intend on cleaning it, oiling it with soy oil and if the table does not out-gas the embedded old lady smell I will either coat it with Hardseal from AFM or get Zuki to replicate the table from poplar wood for me.
I also need to find a safe enamel type of paint in black, gold & silver or else I will just sand off the rust and polish it with a little wax then leave it as is, I'm not sure what I will do exactly to restore it cosmetically but my main intention is to use this machine.
I was also surprised that you can still get parts for these machines quite easily. The Singer Co. sells manuals and parts all you have to do is check the serial number and they even tell you the year it was made and where it was manufactured. There are also several independent sites selling manuals and parts. Here is one that I found.
I originally thought the one I purchased was made in 1911 but according to the serial number (JA564430) It was made in 1924 and was manufactured in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada.
I also found out from Ask.com that the pattern is the Phoenix (aka Memphis, Egyptian)
I'm not exactly sure how the bullet shaped bobbins work in these machines, but I was curious how sewing machines work in general. I know the needle is threaded as is the bobbin but how the threads looped together was something of a mystery. HowStuffWorks.com has some great animated illustrations of how sewing machines work.
Also if you want to read more from an antique sewing machine collector and see some uber cool machines, visit this blog, I found it very interesting.
So here are a few pictures and a video of how she looks the day I got her home. I will post as I progress with the non-toxic restoration.
If you own one of these machines or have any suggestions on restoring them please leave a comment below. I would love to see more of these in use.