Servicing my White Treadle Machine!

I finally got around to servicing my new-to-me treadle sewing machine I had gotten last fall. I had been dragging my feet for a while because I was afraid of tackling the project and potentially breaking something.

I didn't know anything about antique sewing machines and didn't know anyone who does. So, I kind of felt like I was at a dead end. Luckily there is a site that was able to help me out. Treadle On is a site dedicated to antique sewing machines and everything you could ever want to know about certain models, how to clean them, how to identify them and they even have a forum to check for your specific questions.You should definitely check them out! LOADS of information on the site and I don't think I read a single thing that didn't help me.

The Cleaning Your Machine Page was exactly what I needed to start my process of servicing the treadle. I read through the instructions about a gazillion times then got my hands dirty.

First time out of the cabinet!
My weapons of choice were Liquid Wrench, paper towels, Q-tips, a rag, and tweezers. I do want to point out that you want to do this in a well ventilated area. I did not and I had to stop and take breaks because of the fumes. I also smelled and looked like a mechanic by the end! My hands, arms, face and hair were all dirty from the decades of dust and lint she's been carrying around!

Basically, you take her apart and scrub her down with Liquid Wrench until she works. :)

Underbelly! The mechanism is so interesting
Thread jams, dust bunnies and lint balls, oh my!
 There was a lot of clearing thread jams, dust bunnies and lint balls. Again, very dirty business. The thread jam in the above picture is kind of interesting. The machine must have not been used since then, because this thread jam bound up everything AND there's a bobbin with the same thread in one of the drawers of the cabinet. I would have loved to know who this belonged to and when it was last used, etc

This is what she looks like without the head below!
Naked and dirty :(
All oiled up and ready to go!
Other than the cabinet cleaning, the above was the dirtiest part of the machine and didn't work very smoothly. Liquid Wrench did the trick and she makes not a sound!

Oil stain!
 This was the tin plate before I cleaned it, I just thought the oil stain on the back was cool.

One thing I found interesting was the condition of the decals. On the side that everyone sees, i.e. the side that faces upward when stored in a closed cabinet, the decals are dull and faded. The cast iron weathered and crackely, certainly weathered. But the back of her, the side that faces down, the one that no one sees unless she's set up in the middle of a room, is beautiful. 

This is the back of the machine
Versus the front of the machine
 There is a stark difference between the two. I thought it was kinda sad since I would like my machine to be all brilliant and stirking, but I'm not of the type to restore it back to its original state. I prefer to leave it as is, for more historical reasons, rather than to change it and possibly ruin it simply because it doesn't look "new". The decals themselves are pretty fragile and with too much rubbing they can scratch right off. I think she looks pretty good at 100 years old and plan to keep her this way.

This was the first wipe of the inside.
Words cannot describe...

This is the inside of the cabinet after I had first wiped about a fourth
of the inside.
 The next and grossest part of the process was the cabinet. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned that sucker and really, she's still not clean. I did, however, manage to wipe out a ton of dust. A ridiculous amount of dust. Now, do you know what dust is??? If you do not, let me enlighten you:
 Dust is "...human and animal hairs, paper fiber, components of soil, skin cells, pollen, clothing fibers, food particles and smaller amounts of many other materials..."  (emphasis added by me)   
So, basically I was wiping, inhaling, scrubbing and dispersing in the air, decades and decades of skin cells, fibers, whatever else and had it all over me. Bleeeeehhhhhhhhhh. I am so glad that part is over with!

A belt with the infamous Staple.
Finally, all I had to do was put the belt on the machine and start treadling! I was so excited to have the girl up and running...But first... a funny story on the belt.... though I have no pictures to share of my terrible plight, the amount of stress and "WHY DID I DO THAT?!?!!?" had because of this belt was stupid. Simply. Stupid. I had bought the belt off ebay right after I bought the machine. I read the instructions it came with numerous times, read the TreadleOn page on Installing a Treadle Belt and thought I understood the warning: Do not lose the staple. Well, in my haste of trying to get it done, I managed to lose the staple. Devin and I searched the house and our front steps (I was hammering holes in the leather out there) for the long gone staple and it was nowhere. I ended up making due with the only finishing nail in the entire house, that we could find. It worked out okay, but that wee staple cost me 1.5 hours and quite a few grey hairs.

A clean and serviced treadle! Hooray me!
 But anywho, after an afternoon/evening's worth of work, she glides really wonderfully and smooth. With just a few minutes practice I've been able to ease between backwards and forwards and can control my speed within reason. I've not tried any crazy curves or any of the attachments yet but soon I hope to try them and figure out what they do!

I also want to give a quick shout out to the people at TreadleOn because without them, I would not have been able to do this! Thanks for all your time spent putting such great information online for people like me to use! The information was invaluable and I learned so very much! Thanks again!!!!!

A new life for my couch!

After being married and moving into a new place, we took in a lot of free stuff. Everyone seems to have stuff they don't need in their home so many people gave us their old things to furnish our house with. This is great! Especially for an extremely frugal me, who hates to spend money on anything unless it's a necessity.... well unless it's fabric or yarn or antique.

*This is how it looks so far...
One of these freebies was a couch. A very comfy couch. And I recovered it! Same comfort, Better style. For $100 I transformed my blah couch into a pseudo-antique looking one!

This particular couch came from my in-laws and happens to be one of Devin's favorites. It's seriously one of the most comfortable couches I've had the pleasure of sitting on. It was just so, well, ugly. I wanted to recover the couch but I do not have the money to put out for upholstery fabric because of course, I only want the most prettiest, expensive, light tone-on-tone upholstery fabrics that cost a gazillion dollars per yard. So I had conceded that I would have to put that idea out of my mind. But, having found a brand new addiction for Pinterest (if you would like to follow my boards, click the link!), I started seeing all these pictures of people using drop cloth as a sofa cover! What a wonderful idea! I thought, but I realized... making a slipcover is a LOT of work and I greatly dislike working with piping. Blech. Luckily though, another pinner had posted her own adventures in upholstering with a drop cloth and the results were great! I read her post, watched a couple of videos and decided to attempt it on my own.

With the help of my mom, we decided on what was gonna happen with the couch and we bought our supplies:

12'x15' Canvas Drop Cloth
1 roll King size Quilt Batting
2 rolls Upholstery/cushion foam
1 bag Polyester Stuffing
Heavy Duty Staple Gun/Ammo (Long staples)
2 pkg Cut Tacks
1-2 Cans Scotch-Guard

The biggest drop cloth I could find

First, I washed the drop cloth 3 times and dried it with softener... it took FOREVER. But I'm glad I decided to soften it, because boy it was not comfy before. After that I analyzed my couch and figured out what I wanted to do with it. I wanted a "camel back" or "hump back" to my couch, so I used a lump of the polyester stuffing material and stapled it in place with some quilt batting. This part was interesting because we had to pack the stuffing so tightly. Also, finding the wood support beams took a little trial and error.... and frustration.

We trimmed the excess batting, just fyi

After the hump was made, we then stapled the upholstery foam to the back of the couch to smooth everything out and to make the back a little cushier. More quilt batting was added atop this and cut to size, then we laid the batting out to use as a pattern to cut the canvas (being extra sure to add lots of seam allowance to the sides) Then the batting was stapled into place.

Again, excess was cut off
After the back had been padded with foam, we added the canvas, stretched, stapled and pleated to fit.

^We used the cut batting as a pattern for the canvas^
Notice the HUGE blotch on the back? I didn't notice it until I had
taken a picture of the couch. If you choose to do a project with
drop cloth, be sure to inspect your fabric and cut accordingly,
to avoid my mistake!

 The front lip of the sofa proved to be far more challenging than I anticipated. All of the support beams were covered in springs and knots, leaving me completely helpless as to what to do next. I had figured I would just staple the fabric to the support beams and be done with that process, but ended up taking another route. I laid batting on the "decorative fabric" of the lip, so as to cover up the weird pattern, then laid a strip of the canvas atop; stapled and tacked the fabric to the bottom, then whip-stitched the canvas to the original upholstery. This took me 2 hours and my pointer finger is still somewhat numb after 2 weeks.

I used 6 fibers from the canvas for the thread and a giant tapestry needle.

Finished sewing. Phew
 A similar process as the back was used for the arms of the sofa, apart from adding "stuffing" to the arms. Foam was added directly to the top of the arms and the process followed how we went about the back.

Upholstery Foam added and stapled...
Batting to the right arm, so you can see the difference.

Next step I did the underside of the arms. Using batting for a pattern, then cutting the canvas. The hardest part of this was making sure the staples and cut tacks wouldn't be seen. I stapled the fabric and batting, right side to couch, underneath the crest of the armrest then folded the piece down, to cover the staples and tacks. The fabric was then stretched and attached to the underside, back and front of the armrests.

The last, and hardest non-sewing part, was the final back piece. Like the under-sides for the armrest, the staples and tacks shouldn't be seen, but one also wants the line to be completely straight. The only way to achieve this ( the sturdiest, longest lasting way) is to make a tack strip with finishing nails and a cheap piece of trim, nail it to the back of the couch, then fold the fabric and batting over the strip to conceal it. Tacking and Stapling is done to the bottom of the couch like normal.

Yay tack strips
Now.... THE hardest part was making the cushions. Ugh. I HATE making square cushions. So here's a good tutorial for those of you who would like to know :)

I made two more cushions for the back, using the original cushions as patterns and the original zippers for thriftiness. All in all, I think it turned out well and is just as comfortable as before!

Last step before using is Scotch-Gard-ing, make sure all your windows are open and do as much as you can outside. Our house got fumey really quickly.

Since the couch is practically done that ends this post. But know, that because I like to make everything harder than it should be so of course I have decided I'm going to do another, unnecessary step... adding wood to look like it is, or kind of is, an antique. But that shall be a post for another day!