Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Treadle Sewing Machine Belt Fix

I was on a forum boo hoo’in that I have a treadle sewing machine but have not been able to use it because the belt snapped. Being that my Great Aunt died at 96, I can understand that oiling, polishing and general upkeep of the sewing machine was not, had not, and should not, have been high on her priorities. Bless her, I certainly wish she were still here.

Great Aunt EW 2004

Well, it had been sitting for some time without any love. Completely my own fault! I decided it was high time to quit the boo hooin’ and start doin’! The first thing I wanted to do was see if I could make a belt instead of waiting for money to buy one.

What I did:

I had some leather lacing, I have no clue where, when, or why I had it, but I do and I figured that would be my best bet, because really, back in the day, they didn’t wait and wait and wait to fix something, without trying for themselves first.

This is all the info I know on it - if you can decipher it, PLEASE let me know too!

So I had the leather lacing, and I used the old belt to get an idea of the length I would need and cut the leather about 8 inches longer. Then I threaded the leather through all the little holes and guides and marked it where it felt there was enough tension.

Cut longer (by the way - that is not dust - it is from the leather lacing)
Do you see the two marks right above my thumb?

Then I took a deep breath and trimmed it, not straight across, but diagonally… and promptly dropped the leather…

Trimmed diagonally

So after rethreading the leather through all the holes again I realized I had not gotten my sewing needle ready… so had to set the leather strip down again, where gravity does what it always does, and it fell through the holes again. I left it this time and went and got my needle and thread, which was upholstery thread and a small needle. So small my metal needle threader didn’t fit. So I had to go get my eyes.

I think this is a jeweler's visor, a gift from a friend, it is wonderful and enables me to continue with crafts - THANK YOU MS K!

So needle is now threaded, leather is cut, I am ready to go. I rethread the leather through everything again, when it occurred to me that it might be better to thread from the top, at least then if I drop it all I have to do is guide the leather for the bottom fly wheel and not have to try to get my fingers through the small holes!

Go down through BOTH holes instead of down one and up through the other... It takes me a while but I do eventually catch on!

Got all ready to go when I remembered about the guide hole that guides the belt around the fly wheel… nope, I hadn’t threaded it. This is behind the wheel and in the back. I could not get under there to take the picture so I just angled the camera till I got it – I think I have the picture right side up!

Don't forget this, like I did!

Finally I sewed it together

I Pushed the needle through both pieces (realized I needed my thimble!) and then wrapped some, pushed it through again and wrapped some more, then pushed the needle through and tied it off.

I wasn't going for pretty - and blue shows up well for the picture!


Please ignore the dirty floor...

Though I know in a bit it will start slipping, that’s ok, I need to go through and clean everything anyway (you learn a LOT when you take pictures!) and next time I will wet the leather and THEN sew it on – leather will shrink when it dries J


PS: just a side note... treadle sewing machines and office chairs with wheels, DO NOT MIX! Wheee - I went wheeling backwards the first time!!! hehe


  1. Hehe I can see you wheeling backwards after pressing the sewing pedal :P
    -your daughter

  2. Very cool that you were able to repair it by yourself. Feels good to do things on your own!

    1. yes it does Sandy :) Thank you for commenting!

  3. Fantastic!! I have a Singer that looks just like yours. Been in my family since the late 1880's according to a letter I found in the old farm house stating they just had bought it!! :) But like yours, mine is not usable due to the belt being broken and now I can fix it myself. Awesome!

    Thanks for figuring this out and posting it for us!

  4. no problem Ms M! Thanks for the tip about cleaning with Murphey's Oil Soap!


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