Creativity Begins with Singer Treadle

Singer treadle sewing machine full

Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

Betty historic appalachiaI grew up in rural Tennessee in a time when we cooked meals and heated our bath water on our pot belly stove. I guess you could say I grew up poor,  but I never knew it.  I felt like I always had everything I needed.  And for the few things I did not have, I got creative and used my imagination!  That’s when I started sewing on a Singer Treadle sewing machine.


It was my Momma’s sewing machine that Daddy bought from a traveling peddler sometime in the 1920s.  A “treadle” machine is manually operated by moving your foot back and forth on the treadle to make the needle go up and down. Yep, no electric on this sewing machine!  If the power goes out, guess what?  On these sewing machines you could keep sewing!



The early Singer sewing machines were beautiful works of art in their own right.  singer treadle sewing machine closeDecorated with floral patterns; usually all gold; against a black base made them visually striking!  The machines were offered with a solid wood cabinet with an iron base. Which were equally lovely.  I see many now as home decorative furniture. My eldest daughter Suzanne has one in her house for decoration.


The sewing machines needed very little maintenance or repairs. They just kept sewing!  My eldest sister;  Sis;  sewed on our family sewing machine until the 1980s.  Talk about built to last!   If you want to learn more about the history of Singer Treadles, click here.


I grew up in Appalachia Tennessee in a time when everyone sewed as much for fun as necessity.   It was a time when we all kept EVERYTHING.  The fabric scraps and our worn out clothes were quilted into beautiful pieces of functional (and warm!) art.  A time when we sat on our front porch every night with family and friends; Uncle Bill on  fiddle and sister Toots on guitar; playing until the cows came home – literally!  In the morning I would wake up to the wackedy wack of the water pump as my sister Toots drew well water for breakfast…and mmmm…the smell of beans and cornbread.

I love my Appalachian heritage. I love where I came from. I also love where am today –  quilting on my wonderful Platinum 16, by Husqvarna Viking!  More on this amazing sewing machine in another post.

Keep sewing and being creative!   ~ Betty