Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Angels Looking Over My Shoulder

Quilts contain a certain magic for me. They cover you with the love and work put into them by their creators. A handmade quilt can help your memory live on long after departing this earth. I doubt my two grandmothers ever thought I would be interested in quilting or sewing machines or that their memories would live on through those venues.

After reading this post by Denise at Mountain Quilter, I got to thinking about the antique treadle sewing machine I have had in storage for over 30 years. This machine belonged to my paternal grandmother, "Ma Ma", and to this day I'm not sure why I ended up with it, except that none of the other cousins were interested in sewing. And, lets face it, the machine and the cabinet as they are, are no prize!

You will need to use your imagination to envision how beautiful my machine was at one time and hopefully will be again some day.

I came into possession of it in 1976. I never had room for it, but wanted to keep it, so its been stored for these past 34 years. I do remember that it worked pretty well in 1976.

Even though the machine and the cabinet it is built into are both in very bad condition, when I turned the wheel it turned very smoothly. The belt still felt soft and not brittle like I thought it would be. They don't make em like that anymore! I'm sure if it was oiled and given a little TLC, I could actually sew with it!

All this time I thought it was a Singer sewing machine, but it was actually made by National Sewing Machine Company. I've been doing a little research on the history of these machines and how to clean and restore them. So far my research has revealed that the National Sewing Machine Company made this type machine for Montgomery Ward in the early 1900s.

In my research I found a couple of websites that have inspired me to restore the machine. I don't know when this will happen, but its on my Bucket List! As if I didn't already have enough sewing planned, now I've got a sewing machine to work on too!

There are some pictures on the Antique Quilt Dating site that show really beautiful antique treadle machines that the owner uses for quilt making! She received a National Sewing Machine brand treadle machine, in mint condition, as a gift from her husband, and now uses People Powered Machines (PPM) for most of her sewing.

I bet the designs on the machine were very beautiful when it was new! Another great internet site that gives great information for cleaning up and refurbishing antique sewing machines is found here. at YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S SEWING MACHINE.

With a little elbow grease the dust and cobwebs can be cleaned off the legs of the sewing table.

Wouldn't it be special if this machine were in good enough condition to use for finishing up my maternal grandmother's vintage quilt top that I am currently handquilting? I would be using my feeble quilt making skills, Grandma's quilt top and Ma Ma's old machine to create an heirloom. There are bound to be angels looking over my shoulder as I work on it....

For more sewing machine stories read my prior post HERE.


Denise said...

Glad to hear that you decided to pull that beauty out of storage and add it to your already long to do list, LOL. What shape is the rest of the cabinent, I couldn't tell from the photos, the machine itself looks okay just a little dusty. It might be as simple as a little elbow grease and some of the Howard's Restor, of course I would test a small area first. I know I was amazed at what that stuff did for the old wooden box that I found! I plan on using some on the cabinent for my old machine. Have a great day!

Granny J said...

I'll bet that machine will be beautiful when it's cleaned and polished. I can't wait to see it when it's finished. I learned to sew on a treadle machine and would love to have one. Yours is even more special because it is from MaMa.

Pen Pen said...

Oh what a treasure! Debbie, it is a beautiful machine and I hope you restore it soon. Even if you can't sew on it, it would make a nice table somewhere in your house. Love it!

Anonymous said...

So, you had a Ma Ma, too. I am sure that you know all of Mother's grandchildren called her Ma Ma.
That is why Bryan wanted her to call me that.

Wonderful post today! I loved reading about how to restore old machines. Yours will be beautiful, I bet.


Sibyl said...

Debbie There are quite a few of us that use our vintage machines. If you need info on restoring it. please go to Dick has loads of info on that site. He also has a e-mail list that talks about treadles and hand cranks (mostly). People there can help you get it up and running by asking questions. That looks like it just needs a good cleaning---the best thing to use is sewing machine oil. To clean it up. Hope to see it up and running soon.


Debbie J said...

Sibyl, Thanks so much for the information! I will definitely go to the site you mentioned! I would love to be able to sew with this machine. I believe I could control it better than I can my electric Singer.

Vicki in UT said...

I'm interested in checking out these links. I have a treadle sewing machine I bought when I ws in high school for $14. An elderly man was selling it on a classified radio program. I used to sew all my kids clothes on it. It currently is a "table" in my bedroom, but still works if I need to sew in a power outage.

Terri said...

My mother had one of those with the pedal that you pumped back and forth. It was beautiful! That will be lovely when it's all cleaned up, Debbie.

Anonymous said...

I love your vintage sewing machine!

My dad gave me my mother's a couple of months ago. The sewing maching was gone. I have no idea what she had done with that! But I love the cabinet never-the-less.

I remember her letting me sew some on her tredle. I hope you can find the time to restore it. It is beautiful!


Sibyl said...

I hope you get the info you need. If not send me a note and I'll see what I can find out for you. That goes for any of you ladies. I have been using one for about 10 years now. I really love it. I am using a 1899 Singer that has been in my husband's family since it was originally purchased. Kinda neat to know that a piece of history has been in our family all of those years.


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