Perhaps you didn’t know that Janome makes a treadle sewing machine. Yes, it’s 2015, and you probably have a sewing machine with a motor, light, and maybe even a computer in it. Is there a place for treadle sewing machines in this modern age? There are actually a few reasons why people are buying treadles, so you’ll have to decide for yourself if one is worth having. We think they are really nice. If you’re a collector of sewing machines, we think you need at least one treadle.
Who Wants A Treadle?
If you really want to sew and the power goes out, you’re going to really appreciate the ability to sew with a treadle machine. It does take practice, and you’ll probably need to position yourself outside or in a well lit room, but if you have a treadle machine, you’ll still be able to sew.
While searching around for information about treadles, it was obvious that there are a lot of prepers with treadles. If you’re not familiar with prepers, these are people who stock up on supplies in preparation for a major catastrophe. They’re expecting the worst, and if that big day ever comes, they’ll be able to sew. They’ll be able to fix things, create things, and tailor garments. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to want to do.
Since you are reading this blog post, I’m going to assume you live in a modern country with techno-gadgets like computers and smart phones. Believe it or not, there are still a lot of people on Earth that don’t have electricity. In a place like that, a treadle machine gives a person a chance to start a tailoring business. There are even websites that you can go to that allow you do donate treadle sewing machines.
Treadle Cabinets Are Easy to Find
A quick search for “treadle” on Craigslist in your local area will almost certainly return some results. We were able to find a beautiful Singer treadle cabinet with a Singer Class 66 sewing machine in it, and only paid $200.00 for it. We bought the cabinet with the intention that we would take the machine out, and put the Janome 712T in it, but the machine and cabinet were in such great condition, we decided to use an older cabinet that we already had.
Creating a Table Top for an Old Cabinet
If you have some woodworking skills, you can probably create your own custom table top for an old treadle cabinet base. In our case, we used the base of a Singer treadle cabinet from 1892. We carefully removed the existing sewing machine and cabinet, and then created the table top from new wood we purchased on the internet.
Wood is not cheap. We searched for a while to find the best deal, and ended up buying an 18″ x 36″ x 1.5″ thick piece of walnut. It was nearly $200.00 after shipping! You don’t want to just start cutting into a piece like that without doing a test run on something else, so we also bought some 3/4″ thick plywood to practice on.
It took a while to come up with a plan for exactly how to cut the wood. Our initial process was revised 3 times before we had a plan that worked. After we had the plan, we went through 3 or 4 revisions on measurements to make a well fitting cut-out so the machine would fit nicely in the table top.
We drilled, sawed, routed, and sanded our way to the end, and then finally cut our walnut using the same method. Three coats of polyurethane on the walnut and we were finished with our first table top.
The Sewing Experience
I will say, the sewing experience on this Janome 712T is great! The machine runs very smoothly, and the stitches come out perfect. Rocking the foot pedal to make the treadle run takes some practice, but I think just about anybody can do it.