Gretchen the Singer

This weekend was a 3 day mighty cleaning adventure.

27 top singer clean

I got non pumice Goop waterless hand cleaner on a whim…and it worked!  Used up almost an entire box of Q-tips but after some time I clean what I thought was a mostly black machine only to discover she is covered with beautiful enamel.

27 back left clean27 back pillar clean

A wee snake lives on the back of the pillar with many flower and plants.

27 top pillar dirty27 top pillar clean27 fendor clean

The fender (at least what I am calling a fender) has a lovely vine of flowers.

27 pillar front dirty27 pillar sphynx dirty27 pillar front clean

The front of the pillar cleaned up lovely as did the Sphinx.

27 base totally silver27 back base

Sadly the base was quite silver before I even started.

27 mega dirty

Once I got her exterior tidied up and shining I delved into her inner workings… About a well fed mousie’s worth of dust and dirt were living in there.

27 serial number27 patents

Serial number and the patents…

27 shuttle with spool27 shuttle

The shuttle complete with thread so old it actually shattered when I was removing it from the spool.

accessory kit 1accessory kit 2

The accessory kit isn’t complete but it is still quite fabulous in its special box.  Even have the manual for the kit and a box of quite old thread. Something to be said of the good old days…they made everything so lovely, the script, art work, wee details you just don’t see any more!

27 Gretchen Ragna

Clean up and gorgeous, oiled to perfection, Jim installed the belt… wow! Quite the work out to get the speed going just right.  May need to install a Schnauzer guard however as Shamus feels he needs to catch and stop the wheel by the treadle…with his face…

27 Singer Gretchen Ragna

Now to figure out how to wind the thread onto the shuttle, adjust tensions, thread her and start practicing!


new old machine

Now 40 years after learning to sew on a machine I am the proud owner of a Singer treadle machine.


The new machine is lovely and in dire need of some loving attention.  We have belts on order as hers was in pieces.  The owner’s manual as well as the manual for the attachments was in one of the many over flowing drawers. I have them flattening under some heavy books at the moment so I can scan them in to our computer so I can read them without damaging them further.  I think everything I need to get her functional is there but I really have no idea.

1898 singer 1 10-26-14

I watched this treadle for more than a year, living on the porch of a local antique shop.  I would lift the lid and look at the machine, but again I had no idea what I should be looking for.  Finally my wedding anniversary was coming up and my husband start browsing craigslist in our area for a treadle for me.  He found one that had everything included and was functional but when he finally got ahold of the lady she decided she didn’t want to part with it after all… totally understandable!  I browsed a bit at the ads and had a good giggle at a guy selling one for $45… ‘looks like it should work but needs an electrical cord’ it was an unaltered treadle… but it would have been quite a trip to get that one.  I brought my husband and the grandkids since they were along to the antique shop, under the guise of grocery shopping and thankfully the treadle was still there.  He bought it on the spot.  PERFECT anniversary gift!

1898 singer 2 10-26-14

My grandson (9) is fascinated with all the exposed workings.  I will really enjoy teaching him to sew on it once it’s ready to go.  I have a few electric sewing machines as well as a Serger, but as I found out there is no speed control, for some reason he feels he needs to floor the pedal… a bit terrifying. Working the machine with his own power will be a kinder gentler way of learning to sew and become a self-sufficient young man.

1898 singer 10-26-14

hoping to scan the manuals soon and put them here as well for anyone needing or wanting to browse a really old sewing machine manual.  There are is a pile of really old goodies in the drawers as well I will be documenting!