Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1922 Singer "Red Eye" Treadle

Some time ago my mother-in-law gave me her mother's 1922 Singer "Red Eye" treadle sewing machine.  I did some basic cleaning, then replaced the belt.  For a couple of months I puttered around with cleaning it up a little bit at a time, then discovered the site, which has a wealth of information about all things treadle-y, including very specific and useful info about what to do (and even more importantly what NOT to do) when cleaning them up.  Thanks to all the onions who have contributed to the site!

I kept quiet about this project, wanting to surprise Helen when it was finished.  About a month before Mother's Day my friend Jan asked me if I was planning to have it done for Mother's Day, and a useful deadline was born! I moved this project to the front burner, but miraculously still managed to hold on to the no-stress-I'm-just-puttering frame of mind.

Here's what I did:
  • Replaced the belt and the bobbin winder tire
  • Opened up the access ports and bobbin housing and cleaned 88 years of lint from the interior
  • Oiled it thoroughly several times, each oiling probably removing more of the accumulated crud inside the moving parts
  • Cleaned the irons (the cast iron bottom part), revealing the gold paint that I thought was gone!
  • Cleaned the head (the sewing machine part).  This took the longest time as I removed one molecular layer at a time with Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover.  It had to be done slowly so that there would be no additional damage to the beautiful decals.
  • Cleaned the chrome parts with metal polish
  • Waxed the head with auto wax
  • Reglued the loose veneer
  • Restored the finish of the oak cabinet.  This isn't as dramatic a process as stripping the old finish, it just removes a bit of the old finish and removes the water rings.  I had to chip off some paint also.  This all worked much better than I expected.  You can still see the age of the finish and where some of the old problem areas were, but it is now a uniform color and looks great, but retains the look of age.  I didn't want to strip it to make it look new.
  • Waxed the cabinet.

Before and after on the top of the cabinet

Once it was finished I used it to make a tote bag for Helen for Mother's Day.  She loves my "Lush Life" luggage and has been borrowing it when she and her friends travel together.  I had enough of the tapestry fabric left to make a tote bag.  Except for the embroidered monogram I made the whole thing on the treadle.  I would NOT recommend a tote bag with multiple layers of upholstery, quilted lining, and trims as a learning exercise for a new machine ;)   But I managed to keep the un-sewing to a minimum.

I did get everything finished for Mother's Day.  Helen was happy to see the restoration of the sewing machine, happy that it still works, and happy with the tote bag.  She told stories about her mother and the machine, and about learning to sew on it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Painting, dyeing, and some dragon t-shirts

I've been taking more fabric painting and dyeing classes from Quilt University.  These photos are from Lyric Kinard's Playing With Paint class.  The class included more techniques for getting paint onto fabric than I had time to complete, and here are some of the results.  Lots of fun!

Right now I am taking the second in a series of fabric dyeing classes from Marjie McWilliams.  I'll post the results after the end of the class, which is called Quilter's Palette.

I used some of what I learned in the painting class to stencil dragons on to some t-shirts.  The black and maroon shirts were done with a Clorox bleach pen, and the red one with black Jacquard textile paint.

Don't worry, apron fans, more aprons are on the way!  But the next post will reveal a secret project that I DID complete in time for Mother's Day....