A Treadle and a Quilt

Singer 127

After my recent sewing area re-arrangement to accommodate my new Singer 401A, my antique Singer 127 treadle sewing machine is now accessible instead of being buried behind my main sewing machine. I haven’t sewn much on this machine, since the stitches were uneven and the tension went from tight to loose every few stitches.

I decided to try to fix it up some more. I polished the rust off of the tension disks, cleaned some bits of ancient thread from under the spring in the shuttle, and replaced the missing oil wick. I also switched out the tension dial and worn feed dogs with the ones from my parts machine. After a good oiling, this 99 year old sewing machine works almost as good as new. The tension is a bit fiddly, but it’s making pretty decent stitches now.

Unlike modern home sewing machines with plastic gears that choke on thick fabric, this machine will happily sew through anything that I can fit under the presser foot. It doesn’t like topstitching thread, though, so I won’t be using it to make jeans.

After fixing up this sewing machine, I wanted to sew something with it. I decided to sew a baby quilt for my niece-to-be, which has been on my to-do list, and it’s a project that only requires straight stitches.

Surprisingly, my modern snap-on quarter inch foot works perfectly with this machine. It works even better than the original presser foot, which tends pull the fabric to the side when I sew near the edge of the fabric. My walking foot works with this machine, too.

Singer 127 with quilting foot

I love looking at those patent dates on the slide plate (the slide plate came off of an older machine).

Singer 27 slide plate patent dates

I’ve never been a huge fan of quilting, but this time I added an ingredient that made it so much easier and more accurate – cornstarch. I used one teaspoon of cornstarch per cup of water, sprayed it on the fabric, let it soak in for a few minutes, then pressed the fabric dry before cutting out the pieces. I highly recommend starching when quilting – it is so worth the extra time.

Here’s the finished rainbow heart quilt, sewn entirely on my antique treadle sewing machine:



Posted in Sewing, Vintage Sewing Machines
5 comments on “A Treadle and a Quilt
  1. Beautiful machine. They sure made them to last!


  2. Alissa says:

    What brand is your walking foot? I’m trying to find one to fit my Singer treadle machine.


  3. CD Thayer says:

    I love the sound of the old long-bobbin machines, and the way that the needle bar makes a little bob up and down to provide enough slack in the thread loop for the shuttle to complete each stitch. My wife has a 1901 Singer 27K2 treadle machine. It’s the convertible one that can be operated by either hand crank or treadle. The bobbin winder tire runs on the wheel rim, instead of on the belt (model 27) or the wheel shoulder (model 127). The head can be lifted out of the treadle (without tools) and set on a flat surface to operate as a hand crank machine.

    She doesn’t use the machine much (prefers her Singer 301A and Singer 401A electric machines), but did get to enjoy piecing a large quilt back together last winter during the 5-day ice storm outage that we had (her electric machines were useless). It was a quilt project that she wanted to have a pieced back instead of a solid back on, and the down time on her many other quilt projects was a good use of her outage time. Power outages are boring unless you can keep sewing to kill some waiting time.

    CD in Oklahoma


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