Singer Treadle Machines - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 10-12-2007, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not a machine collector, though I am very intrigued by treadle machines. There are a few for sale locally, and I'd like to go see and test them this weekend, so I need the inside scoop! (asking is between $135 and $200)

Do you all think they would be good machines for kids to learn at? My kids will definitely learn to sew (hand and machine) from me (I think perhaps it'll be difficult for them to reach the treadle until they're older though).

If you have one, do you use it? If so, are they easy to use? Is it easy to get replacement or extra parts?

Essentially, tell me anything and everything there is to know about these machines please! (and I've already started some preliminary research online).

Oh, and there are also a few people selling Singer Featherweights, but geez are they expensive. The prices are $300, $325, $450.
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#2 of 11 Old 10-12-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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I haven't used a treadle. I do find them intriguing however. My Grandma used one for her quilts and I think I have a sentimental thing about them. I wish I had access to it.

I know that the Featherweights are highly prized machines by quilters especially. I believe they just do a straight stitch, but are workhorses. I have heard of reproductions of FW that run around $200, but I am not familiar with the quality. I am sure there are those that would simply prefer the 'vintage' ones because they are proven.

Not sure this is the 'inside scoop' you're looking for. I am sure that parts and such can be found on Ebay or by collectors. But to be honest, I don't think they have as many parts and feet as todays machines do.

HTH, Anne
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#3 of 11 Old 10-12-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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I don't have a treadle simply because of space limitation, but tons of people love them and say they learned on them. Another option is a hand crank machine.
I have a FW and while I didn't pay a premium on it, it wasn't free either. If you're wanting vintage you could consider a singer 401. That's what was in schools and lots of kids (my mother included) learned on them.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#4 of 11 Old 10-12-2007, 03:50 PM
 
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You might want to find a treadle that can be fitted with a hand crank. My oldest has been learning to sew on a modern machine but we haven't plugged it in, he just turns the handwheel. He actually prefers this and has asked that we don't plug it in ever

and, yes, the Featherweights are expensive because most of them have fancy decals making them collectors items. They are workhorses, too, but they're mostly prized for their aesthetics.

I have a 400 series and a 500 series machine (from the 50's and 60's) and they are awesome.

Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my WonderBoys
YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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#5 of 11 Old 10-12-2007, 04:24 PM
 
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I think treadle machines are awesome. I learned on one and I just found one on freecycle for a friend. All it needed was a belt to be in great working order. They are easy to learn on, but difficult to use when you first start. As long as the kids can reach the treadle they can do it. I starting when I was about 6 and made quilt type blankets to start. The one I learned on just had a staight stitch and was awesome. My mother still uses it exclusively. She was given an electric machine as a gift once and sold it because she preferred her treadle.

Anyplace that sells singer machines can order replacement parts and most higher end sewing centers will stock parts as well.

Belts seem to be the most common replacement part and I just bought one yesterday for $14.
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#6 of 11 Old 10-15-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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ohhh.... a subjest I am in love with, treadle sewing machines!!!!

lets see to answer your questions
Do you all think they would be good machines for kids to learn at? YES!!!!
If you have one, do you use it? no I don't have just one, but will not admit how many I do have.... but will say I only use treadles and handcranks to sew on!

If so, are they easy to use? Very easy to use

Is it easy to get replacement or extra parts? yes and no more yes though, if you get a common enough machine and treadle base then you should have no problems, the really old ones and the real obscure ones are harder to find parts for but doable for the most part.

Essentially, tell me anything and everything there is to know about these machines please!

okay you probably do not want to hear my whole spill about treadles and handcranks.... basically most treadles are straight stitch only machines, all metal geared, will last a few lifetimes then some, you can do your own repair work on them, no added costs to take them in to the shop. some of the machines do use odd size needles, some are easy and cheap, some are harder to find and more expensive. If you go with one of the 'old black singers' I'm pretty sure they all use the regular needles most machines today use, (unless you get real-real old singers then a different needle...) attachments are easy to find.

you can treadle some zig-zag models also so if you are wanting fancy stitches then you can treadle and even handcrank them too.


(and I've already started some preliminary research online).
Have you been over to treadleon, great group, people powered machine users, lots of info if you want to use a treadle,

http://treadleon.net/
and to join the email list
http://lyris.quiltropolis.com/script...nter=treadleon.

FW's (Featherweights) are fun and good machines, but there are many other machines out there that sew just as nice if not better and a whole lot cheaper too.

to comment on otheres posts,
for a treadle belt, go check out the ongoing business listings on treadleon, can most likely find belts cheaper from dealers there

parts and feet... the old black singers are low shank machines, so any modern day feet that work on straight stitch settings will work.

I'd stay away from the repro FW"S, not as good quality.

what machine models did you go look at? I could give more info knowing the specifics,

buying a treadle local is probably the way to go, shipping can be very high and so is possible damage to machine/irons if they are not packaged correctly. ebay is okay if you can do local pickup

price is a tough one, the machine/irons do have value, but it really depends on a whole bunch of stuff, it boils down to, how much do you want to or are willing to spend? and where you look, if you go to a high end antique store and looking for a completely refinished cabinet with a machine in pristine condition then you will pay more, if you are willing to clean up the machine or the cabinet then look to pay less. Some folks ay to buy treadles for the cabinet, machines can be easily swapped. If you go with a singer treadle then the hinge spacing is the same so you can stick many different model machines in there, so that opens up so many more possiblities.

something else to think of with a treadle or handcrank, they are so much less noisy so they do not disrupt things if you are in the room helping one child sew and another do something else.

depending on the machine too, it is possible to have a machine in a treadle base, add the handcrank attachment and use it both ways without having to take things apart each time you wanted to switch around, only problem there is sometimes the machine will not lower into the cabinet but if your okay leaving the machine up all the time then things are fine, would be nice for the younger ones who cannot reach the pedal to use the crank then you and the bigger child to treadle
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#7 of 11 Old 10-30-2008, 12:15 AM
 
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I'm hoping to buy an old treadle machine tomorrow!
It's a Singer 15-88 from 1936 and has several attachments. I'm a novice, so any feedback on this type of machine would be very appreciated. They are asking $75 for it and all it needs is a belt. DOes that sound like a good price? It's in a nice cabinet.
Hope you don't mind the highjack, OP!
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#8 of 11 Old 10-30-2008, 11:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaska_Dog View Post
I'm hoping to buy an old treadle machine tomorrow!
It's a Singer 15-88 from 1936 and has several attachments. I'm a novice, so any feedback on this type of machine would be very appreciated. They are asking $75 for it and all it needs is a belt. DOes that sound like a good price? It's in a nice cabinet.
Hope you don't mind the highjack, OP!
I have a model 15 like that one only in electric. Excellent machines, what PP said about treadles all applies. It's a straight stitch only machine but it's easy to take care of and oil and such. Needles, also easy to find since it uses the same ones as everyone else. The manual for model 15s is free on the singer site.

I'm sort of cheap where machines are concerned and I hate how the FW have this cult following which makes people think that they're better than the older machines. Any of the old singers, in my experience, are *excellent* machines. One of those 'really can't do much to break it' kinds. I see machines like mine on craigslist for $50 and the treadles for up to $100. But some of that will be the location and how badly the person wants to get rid of it. Sometimes they've not been taken care of at all so they're rusty and such and there's a yahoo group of poeple who fix old machines where I've learned a lot. It's called wefixit.

If you don't want to get a salvage machine and want one in good working order, you can always get a dealer to give it a onceover. It'll be spendier than doing it yourself though.

They are excellent to learn on because they only do the one thing. There just aren't dials and screens and such to keep you distracted. And there aren't any 'touchy pedal' issues.

*sigh* I really want a treadle.
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#9 of 11 Old 10-30-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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thanks for the reply.
it appears to be in perfect working order other than the belt. I was able to run it with the wheel on the side and it comes with extra needles, a ruffler foot, a hemming foot and some other feet I can't identify.
Hopefully someone I know has a truck and I'll take some pics when I get it home
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#10 of 11 Old 10-30-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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Unidentifiable Singer feet! Fantastic!

I have an electric 319K which is a swing needle machine and a 127 handcrank. Both will sew through anything and I barely touch my 8 year old Frister and Rossman!

My nan had a treadle 15 and sewed her whole wardrobe including overcoats on it. My cousin inherited it from her and now uses it as a place to pile books and have cats sit on
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#11 of 11 Old 10-30-2008, 05:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
My nan had a treadle 15 and sewed her whole wardrobe including overcoats on it. My cousin inherited it from her and now uses it as a place to pile books and have cats sit on
can you make a deal with your cousin? Maybe she'd like a newer machine?

Regarding feet, when you get your manual, there are pictures of the feet in it. Unless you have some of the non-standard ones...

I've been wanting to use the ruffler for the longest time.. I just can't seem to get time to myself to do it. Toddlers!
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