A New Old Sewing Machine

I had this crazy idea. As my crazy ideas go, this one's pretty good. On Lasqueti, there is a Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. It's a great time to pick up wonderful fresh produce, bread, chocolate and other edible treats, as well as the work of island artists. There is usually live music and chair massage, and there used to be a hairdresser.

So, I thought it would be cool to bring a treadle sewing machine down to the market and offer mending services while people shopped and chatted with their friends.

Like most things on Lasqueti, this one fell into place like magic (and the help and generosity of a few wonderful people).

One friend, Sheila, had a machine and was willing to lend it, but it was being stored at the home of Swiss Dave. Need I mention that Swiss Dave lives at the end of a trail, deep in the forest? Another Dave, the one who plays a great clawhammer banjo, volunteered not only to pick up the machine but also to wrangle the cast iron beast down the trail.

Once it was delivered to its temporary home on my porch, I gave it a good cleaning and oiling. The drive belt also needed to be mended. Singer has a fabulous website where I was able to find that my machine (a 127) was manufactured in 1936, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. I was also able to download the manual!

The 127 has a "vibrating shuttle" type bobbin. It works beautifully, somewhat to my surprise. An odd little device. The machine is quite lovely to sew on. I would agree with several treadle users (there's quite an online community) who say that the treadling action is very peaceful. It's much like spinning, soothing and meditative.

I'm down to the Market on Saturday, weather permitting. More pictures then, but in the meantime here's a happy snap of me and Gracie at Jodi Beth's birthday picnic at Boot Point. The fellow next to me is sharpening alder sticks to cook campfire bannock on.

Gee, you'd think the last century never happened!


  1. i am after a treadle machine, this is a beauty!

  2. Thanks so much Heather for visiting my blog. Your comment means a lot to me. I'm a very environmental friendly person. Recycled is the way of life where I originally came from. It's beautiful and creative things to do.

    I love your service to the community. I will keep that idea in mind and might take that up after I retired -

  3. That machine is awesome! My grandmother had an old treadle machine like this and I loved to play with the treadle when I was a child. Those machines are magical!

  4. What a lovely idea. The Singer 127 is gorgeous and I love that shuttle/bobbin. Glad you could find out a bit about her too.

  5. What a lovely idea taking your machine to market, I have heard of the little piggy went to market but never the singer sewing machine. I learned to sew on a machine similar to the one in your picture and never forgot the soothing sound it made.
    Beverley x

  6. Anonymous10:34 PM

    Wonderful post. Things that have been well made and work well inevitably last a long time, like your Singer. These are the things that we will remember the last century for, and hopefully, carry us into the future. The rest will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.


  7. Vanessa9:59 AM

    Hi Heather,
    I have my grandmother's 1950's era Singer and I am determined to sew some hems on a square of cotton for a baby blanket ( remember the CD case fund raiser in Regina I made one called "My grandmother's sewing machine" Peter bought it). I have all the attachments too - no idea how to use them!!
    Give me a call some time!!


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