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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Once Upon A Time





Once upon a time there was a lady who had an 1896 Singer 27 bonnet top treadle. It was passed down within her family, but after almost 120 years no one in the family wanted it any more.  She was going to throw it away but fortunately another lady rescued it because it looked JUST like HER grandmother's treadle.  She put it in her storage shed.

Sherri's 27 cabinet
And there it sat for years until she needed the space in the shed more than she needed the treadle.  We will call this lady "Sherri" because that is her name, lol.  She and I belong to the same quilt guild and they all know that I am more than slightly unhinged on the subject of antique sewing machines.  So Sherri gave it to me.

Singer 27, long bobbin machine
Once upon a time I helped my friend Myra with restoration and repairs to one of her antique sewing machines.  She wanted to pay me.  She always wants to pay me, but I never let her.  I keep telling her that this is what I do for fun.  So she looked around my house and offered to restore the finish on the bonnet top treadle that Sherri had given me.  Deal!

Myra and Dexter did a nice job on the cabinet

And I held on to this one for years because after all that generosity and love there was no way I was going to turn around and sell it.  I knew it had a higher calling and that its ultimate purpose in the universe would eventually be revealed to me.

OK, that IS just a bit over the top, but you get the general idea.

Once upon a time a lady called Janet (again, because that IS her name) bought a Singer treadle with a 66 Red Eye in order to turn it into a plant table.  Do not judge her, vintage sewing machine crazy people.  There are a bazillion unwanted Singer treadles languishing in attics, basements, and barns all across this great land.

So Janet, also a fellow guild member, kept the treadle base and donated the cabinet and machine to me.  The drawers are now in my work room usefully holding parts, the cabinet top is in the studio usefully serving as the base for a rolling stand of plastic drawers, and the machine got the full spa treatment.

Janet's Singer 66 Red Eye


I used this machine to demonstrate treadling at a couple of guild events.  The colorful decorations on a Red Eye attract a lot of attention and EVERYONE wants to tell me about their mother or grandmother's treadle.

Once upon a time there was a lovely lady named Helen who decided not to take her modern Janome with her when she went to live in assisted living.  She didn't want to take up space in her room with a sewing machine, but ended up missing it for hemming and other alterations.  She is my mother-in-law, and my whole "career" as crazed sewing machine restorer began when she gave me her mother's Singer 66 Red Eye treadle.  That machine lives at my daughter's house now.

I suggested either a hand crank or treadle for the activities room.  The activity director was enthusiastic about this idea, and decided on the treadle.

The machine finds a home at Mebane Ridge Assisted Living


So a successful marriage between the bonnet top cabinet (without the bonnet) and the Singer 66 was born.  I prefer sewing on that type of cabinet because the surface is flat.  On the cabinets where the machine folds down inside, the machine sits about 3/4" above the cabinet surface.  The extension leaf on the left hand side is another plus to this style cabinet.

Helen tries out the machine
The Singer 66 with its easy to load drop in bobbin was the perfect choice.  Most modern sewing machines have drop in bobbins these days, so more people would be familiar with it, and there is no bobbin case to load--or to get lost.  And the beautiful decorations are a real plus.

Helen with Susan, Mebane Ridge's activities director

Susan asked me to give instructions to other residents at Mebane Ridge and of course I will.  Because I LOVE talking about and working with sewing machines.