What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seamstress Rotary Treadle Sewing Machine in Working Condition

About a year before selling our first house, I found this wonderful treadle sewing machine in need of restoration that would be perfect for my then country decorating style.  I am no stranger to sewing having learned on an old portable Singer machine from an aunt who was a seamstress with Hudson's.  By thirteen I was an accomplished enough seamstress to make a lot of my own clothes so my Mom gifted me with my much beloved Brother Festival 461.  This beautiful shocking pink sewing machine is still in regular use.  I reasoned that I knew enough about the care and maintenance of a sewing machine that I could get the treadle machine to work.  The treadle machine is a Seamstress Rotary sewing machine manufactured by the National Sewing Machine Co. in Belvidere, Illinois.  It was distribute by the T. Eaton Co in Canada according to the information I found.

Seamstress Rotary refinished cabinet
The Seamstress Rotary machine sits in a beautiful oak cabinet.  It was a bit on the rough side but cleaned up nicely.  The six drawers have ornate trim.  The two top drawers on each side lock and I have the original key.  There was matching trim on the bottom edge of the swing door covering the machine when not in use.  Unfortunately all but about an inch of this trim was missing when I got the machine.  I have always hoped to get lucky and find the decorative trim in an antique store.  Also missing is the side cabinet trim that would cover the gears when closed.  I'm on the look-out for that as well. 

The iron legs, gears and treadle are in excellent condition.  I cleaned them good and painted them.  The only downside is the treadle and fancy legs tend to be a bit of dust collectors.  One problem with restoring a treadle sewing machine is finding the parts especially for the cabinets.  The legs tended to outlast the cabinet so frugal folks have been using the legs as a base for end tables, desks and even dismantling them to make shelving and garden decorations.  Small pieces like decorative trim tends to get tossed out if they break

the Seamstress Rotary in perfect working condition
The Seamstress Rotary sewing machine was in rather good condition.  The machine is attached to a wood base that automatically rises when the lid is opened.  That's even a bit more advanced than the cabinet I have my Brother in as I have to lift the machine up manually.  The seamstress had obviously been well used as the decals are worn away in spots.  I found a leather belt for the gears, oiled the machine then threaded it for a test run.  The machine sews quite nicely!

Of interest, when I bought the machine for $25 I did not realize how nicely it would clean up.  There was an instruction book for the Expert B T electric sewing machine so that's likely what the owner replaced this one with.  One of these days when I get a bit of time, I will go through some of the T. Eaton & Company catalogues at Archives Ontario. 

Garden Gnome


Natalie Lobo said...

I have this exact machine. It was my great grandmother's. Unfortunately it is rather rusted, but I still have all the attachments and the cabinet is in quite good shape! Glad to hear you have restored it...gives me hope :)