Tuesday, January 18, 2011

{the red eye}

About a year ago I  shared on my blog this little classic that proudly sits in my sewing room. Recently, one of my online sewing friends that I communicate regularly with on Twitter, wrote a blog post about the "red eye" that she got for Christmas. No, it wasn't a late night flight, known as "the red eye", it was a Singer treadle machine that her husband surprised her with. I was amazed at how much her machine looked like mine, and it inspired me to open up my treadle, take some pictures and share it on my Sewing Journal. Thank you Rebekah for inspiring me!
There is something about vintage sewing machines that just fascinates me!  One of the most fascinating things about these machines is that they're utterly gorgeous, and really well made. Many vintage machines, like mine, have the most interesting and ornate artwork on them! This Singer machine is known as a "red eye" due to the red ornamentation on it.

I love the decorative paint on this machine!
 Singer emblem
gorgeous faceplate!

I was too lazy to pull this away from the wall,
but the sewing table part does fold all
the way down.

I bought this gem in an antique store in my town, called "Steeley's Corner". It's an "interesting" antique shop where often times you have to literally dig to find the prize! This machine was packed under and behind a lot of junk stuff. Once I dug it out and saw the amazing shape it was in, I knew I had to have it! I think I paid around $85 for it, which was at least 12-15 years ago.
Based on the serial number on it, I know that this particular model started into production in 1908. I believe it's a Singer Model 66-16, and it's really in amazing condition for being over 100 years old. It needs a new belt and is in desperate need of cleaning, oiling and adjusting. I would love to get this back in working condition and do some test stitches on it.
Knowing how to use a treadle sewing machine is on it's way to becoming a lost art. Many people think that the treadle, or manually powered, sewing machine is a thing of the past but that is not true. These old singers are well sought after machines especially for quilters. We live very close to an Amish community, and I know the Amish use machines like this, to make all their quilts. Treadle sewing machines are especially good for quilting projects because of the increased control and quality of the stitches.
I love the spool tray that pulls out!
These simple sewing machines last an incredibly long time because they are built to last. There are no computer chips to fry, electric wires to cross, or intricate programs to go haywire. Best of all, they can be used when there is no electricity available, which is why the Amish use them. Now, you can't do fancy stitches with a treadle but the straight stitch will allow you to make about anything your heart desires and as an added benefit you will be burning calories as you go!


Sew Shine said...

Love your machine! It does look so much like mine! You should check out the sites that I referenced in my blog if you are interested in cleaning your up. They are awesome! I put the belt on mine and set the tension this weekend. PERFECT STITCHES! There is something so relaxing about hearing the soft sound of a treadle while you are stitching. I'm planning on piecing a quilt VERY SOON!

Thank you so much for sharing. I love vintage sewing machines and garments and quilts and and and....


Anonymous said...

I don't know if you're aware of this but Bernina has a treadle machine for the Amish. Just thought I would let you know.

Susan said...

Your machine is beautiful. I so wish I had kept my mothers old singer treddle machine. I don't know what happened to it!!

Sue said...

Okay, I love this post because I too own a treadle machine and it just needs the belt! Mine is a Singer also and 120 years old and in pretty good shape for its age. I have thought a lot about getting it going just because I think it could be fun to sew on.
I have a link on my blog...top right corner of a gal in Charlotte, Michigan who has some hand crank sewing machines that are gorgeous!! You should check out her site under the link 'gallery'. She's quite proud of them and while we there a few weeks ago she let us try one out. So cool.

Thanks for this post!

Rettabug said...

I've always wanted one of those!! I remember sewing on my grandmother's. I could cry to think that they just gave it away to Goodwill when she died. :(
Lots of the quilters in the FL guild that I belonged to carried in Featherweights to use in class. Perfectly straight stitches every single time!
Thanks for sharing this treasure, Laurie. I hope you get it in working order so future generations can appreciate & perhaps use it someday. Hey, you could continue to sew even if the power went out!! LOL


BTW, my white dishes are American Antelier, Bianca pattern. Found them at T. J. Maxx last year.


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