Why would anyone choose to use a treadle or hand crank sewing machine these days for quilting or sewing? The reasons are many and I’ll share just a few.
After acquiring a treadle sewing machine I looked for things to sew. It was really quite relaxing and predictable. When you use a treadle or hand crank YOU are the control, so you can go exactly how fast or slow you need or want to. If you need to do precise machine appliqué, you can sew a stitch at a time to go around tight corners or curves. You can also go just as quickly as an electric one if you are on a long straight seam.
They are simple and straightforward to use with a very small learning curve. You don’t need special classes to learn how to operate them; anyone can sew with one, even a child. Hand cranks are in fact actually a great way to teach a child to sew.
A treadle can sew through a great number of layers, making it excellent for piecing quilts and doing the actual quilting over intricate patterns with many seams, secondary to the heavy-duty parts they are created with. You can also sew heavy-duty garments without the machine complaining one bit!
The other major incentive to use one of these old beauties is that you can maintenance your own machine with just sewing machine oil, a screwdriver, a small brush, and some soft cloths. You keep it well oiled and it will sew smoothly for you with minimal effort.
Let me tell you, you won’t get exercise using these “people powered” sewing machines. Once they are oiled it is only as much work as rocking in a rocking chair or turning a crank with one finger.
Last but not least, if the power goes out you can keep right on sewing, providing you have candles, a lantern, or day light. 🙂
There is something to be said for using a real piece of history too, solid and beautifully crafted with high quality parts that just won’t wear out. No matter how old, if you find one that has been well taken care of you, will be able to sew with it for the rest of your life.