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Nov 13, 2014

Treadling a Shirt VIDEO + Live From the Coffee Bar!



Readers, tragedy struck yesterday: an explosion in the West Village knocked out RCN Cable service to the entire West Side of Manhattan.  I have been without Internet for nearly 36 hours.  I feel, frankly, a little desperate and Michael is worse.  I'm writing this from a local coffee bar, so please excuse all food stains.

Realizing I'd have a lot of time on my hands with no bloggy distractions, I decided to sew.  And not just sew, readers, treadle.  I'd sewn a shirt on my treadle three years ago when I first purchased it, but since then had never made an entire garment on it.  Until now, that is!

Do you remember the wild wool challis print (up top and below) I purchased last summer and didn't know what to do with?  Well, it was time to bite the bullet and use it (de-stashing is FUN!).  I decided to make a shirt -- yes, my third shirt in a row.





I cut everything out yesterday morning and got to work.





The challis was shifty and prone to fraying but was otherwise easy to work with; I tried to handle it as little as possible.  The only challenge that treadling presented was when I needed both hands free to ease one piece into another but also needed a hand free to give the handwheel a turn to get the treadle started -- it doesn't just start on its own. 

I felt a little rusty at the beginning but by this afternoon was much more confident.  I am proud to say that, with the exception of the buttonholes, I sewed the entire shirt on my Singer 66 treadle (without even a reverse lever).









Here's a short video of me treadling the shirt; sorry, no show tunes!  (If you're on a portable device you can view it here.)



Maybe the topstitching isn't quite as good as on my Singer 201 or 15-91, but it's not the kind of thing anyone would notice unless you were doing a side-by-side comparison (and even then).

The nearly-completed shirt has an undeniable 70's vibe (remember this blog post?).  Thankfully it's not nylon or -- shiver -- Qiana.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the Big Reveal.

Readers, have you ever lost internet service and discovered you've become totally dependent on it?

Have a great day, everybody!

23 comments:

  1. No internet, eeek! I would have to talk to my family. As for the treadle machine, I recently learned that the costume designer Adrian had Dorothy's dress from the Wizard of Oz made on a treadle machine, so it would look like Aunt Em had home sewn it. So if the internet goes out again, Surrender Dorothy!

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  2. Oooohhhhhh, Quiana. I bought lots of lingerie made of that.....back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

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  3. I hope no one was hurt or worse in the explosion. That would indeed be a tragedy.

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    1. No casualties, just a lot of pissed off New Yorkers! ;)

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  4. Curious mind wants to know what you did for backstitching. I just picked up an old machine with no reverse. I think I will sew to edge and pivot backards. What did you do?

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    1. What I do is the following: if I think there's a need to backstitch, I stitch one or two stitches, then, with the needle up, I gently drag the fabric back to the beginning and stitch over those first few stitches and then keep stitching as normal. I do the same kind of thing at the end.

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    2. I have a 1920 66K that I use, and any place that requires a backstitch, I just shorten the stitch length quite a bit so it doesn't pull out and then lengthen it again after the first few stitches.

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    3. I hardly ever backstitch, even on machines with a reverse. I got in the habit of tying off the threads when I didn't want a backstitch to show, and it sort of just stuck. Plus it makes it easier pulling out stitches after a mistake... and boy do I make mistakes.

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  5. lovely post; and thanks for making the trip to the coffee bar to write for us all :D

    Your post was a timely reminder for me to sew on my treadle...it's been a while! I have a 1938 201 treadle; she's a doll :D

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    1. Oh wow, I have a 1938 201 treadle too. Ha. So silly to get all worked up over a few sewing machines.

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  6. To backstitch: leave the needle in, lift the presser foot, swing the fabric back to opposite way, and sew forward back over your stitches. By the way, this works well for bust darts.
    Jeannie in Seattle

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    1. Jeannie, I like this method, but sometimes, due to the size of what I'm sewing, I can't easily turn my work 180 degrees and back again.

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  7. There's something so hypnotically relaxing about the sound of a machine being treadled. You have inspired me to get my belt on mine and get it going. Nice shirt, btw. You can pull off that fabric! :-)

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  8. Love your video, I've never seen a treadle 'in action' before.

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  9. I don't backstitch at all anymore, which has been interesting as I have to on the hems I'm doing (need the longest stitch possible for future rehem job, backstitching keeps them from undoing themselves). Most of the seams I ever sew cross another, and I do so much fiddling around at those crosses, I'd be unpicking them more than sewing them.

    Eh, YMMV.

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  10. Hello,
    I inherited a treadle (Pfaff 30) from my grandma. The sound reminds me of my grandma repairing grandpas trousers. What I like about the machine is the big space on the sewing table such as your singer has. It is built in a little cabinet like yours. I like it especially for stitching in the ditch for my quilts. The table makes the blanket lie nice and flat.

    Enjoy sewing!
    Rubina

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  11. Love the treadle video as always. I have a handcrank and a treadle in the vintage mix just for off the grid entertainment. I think back about all I accomplished sewing wise and every thing wise before internet existed and have lately been staying off line more than usual for me. I really do enjoy internet as do most people and would be lost with out at least some of it.

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  12. Ack, no internet?! Tragedy of tragedies! Mine was out for 9 or 10 days after Sandy and I really didn't know what to do with all my time! :) Glad this fabric is a shirt now- it's great!

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  13. Explosion in the west village? Not my fault. I wasn't there any more ��

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  14. How wonderful to hear the nice smooth running of a treadle machine. We are all too much in a rush and tied to technology. Zuwena

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  15. Love. Angel. Music.Baby. are the words that come to mind with the arty challis shirt! You'll stun some folks when they see just how groovy this garment is. Suggest a gallery or museum outing to see the effect on others. Commend you for determining which shirt sections to place on which areas of the fabric! Warm fabric too-just mind plastic furnishings, or you'll zap yourself. Maybe a silk blend undershirt might help to prevent static.

    No internet-ice storm last Dec-day one was mostly about getting warm, reading, and even a bit of radio. Day two-clock watching became the rage along with another day of clearing up branches/shovelling snow. Day three, when power came back on, INTERNET!! The books stood a chance at my attention during the power outage.

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  16. Can't wait until I get my treadle back together. Love it. I also enjoyed the piano music in the background. Beautiful. Is it Michael?

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  17. I made an evening dress with Quianna back in the early 70's I thought it was pretty fab at the time! This is a great shirt Peter. Wild and crazy!

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