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New Treadle Sewing Machine

You know how, in the olden days, people used to sew on those sewing machines where you pumped a petal to get the machine going?  They’re called treadle sewing machines. Did you know they’re still around and you can buy one new!?  You can!  In fact my mom just bought one, being the sewing nut she is. She didn’t want to be stuck in an emergency situation (such as a power outage) without a sewing machine.

Here’s my mom’s machine.  It’s a Janome, so if you wanted to get one… Janome makes a good treadle machine. My mom also recommends Janome if you want an electric machine.

You probably noticed that it’s in a gorgeous antique treadle cabinet.  I have mixed feelings about this, just look at what my parents did to get it to fit in the cabinet.

They cut the opening and made it bigger, and drilled bigger holes into the lovely antique cabinet. *cringe*.  My mom said that, as far as she knows, you can’t buy a new treadle cabinet. This seems a little strange, you can buy a new machine… but not a new cabinet? Perhaps she didn’t look hard enough.  So please, before you go drilling holes into an antique, see if there’s a new one!

How does the treadle work? splendidly! I even tested it out myself. It wasn’t hard at all to pump the pedal and didn’t require much concentration. It’s really not much different from pressing the pedal on an electric machine.


You might have noticed, in the top picture, the original old sewing machine sitting on the floor. Here’s a close up of that.

*sigh* they just don’t make sewing machines beautiful anymore. This guy will probably sit on a shelf to look pretty since it doesn’t work.

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  1. Laurel

    What model number is the Janome? It must do zig zag etc stitches?

    FYI. If you’re going to use thread on a cone as opposed to spools, you’ll need to change your thread path off the cone. The one in your photo will cause irregular stitching tension. Thread must go straight verticle off cone and then u can angle it any way u want after that. I’ll send u a photo if my description isn’t clear.

    It’s a great machine setup. I’ve got a treadle and want to purchase a machine like your mom’s. Thanks in advance for your help in locating the model number.
    801 971 9671

    1. Alissa

      Sorry I didn’t answer sooner.

      The model is Janome 712T machine, and it was $199.00. It does all kinds of stitches, including back tack, just like other modern machines.

      It’s not a cone of thread, it’s just a regular spool. The spool is a little hidden in the picture, it’s behind a wooden cone that covers the thread holder when its not in use. The machine didn’t come with a thread holder so my mom uses the thread holder my grandpa made for my grandma. It works well.

  2. Carrie

    I have on original one of these in my basement. I don’t know if it works or not. I don’t sew. We keep it folded up and use as an end table. Sad, but true. Not sure where I got it. I’ve had it for years!

  3. chance

    you can get a the treadle and cabinet from cottage craft works they sell amish and american made things. the cabinet is a little pricy but it is hand made by amish and fits the janome 712T sewing machine you can get from them aswell. It can take a while to get it but they tell you that upfront. they make them by hand so it takes awhile. The cheapest way is to do what you did get a old treadle and fit the Janome to it.
    I have ordered one from them and excitively wait for it. please post more about sewing on a treadle if you can. I have never had one before and would love any tips.

  4. Andi

    Thank you for this post! I didn’t know there was a “modern” treadle sewing machine! I have been blessed with a beautiful White brand treadle cabinet and stand and would love to use it to sew with instead of just as a great antique piece in my living room. I have a friend who is just as happy using the antique machine to sew with, but I am too used to the zig zags and other stitches to go back to the basics.
    Have a great week and love your blog!

  5. Jessica C

    I have a table. No sewing machine it it though. It was my great grandmothers. I love it and want to put in a new sewing machine like yours :) I also need to teach myself to sew. LOL.

  6. chance

    The Janome 712T does do a zigzag stitch for the person that asked. I got my new Treadle Janome sewing machine and my Amish cabnet. I have sewn two tops and an apron with it. I like it it is cool…. And so am I… the Janome folds into the table perfectly you can also get a treadle janome and cabnet from Lehmans.com I dont know if it is cheaper but nothing is cheaper than getting an old cabnet and fitting the Janome to it.

  7. Kitty

    I have been thinking about a “modern” treadle machine, but there are so many great vintage all metal sewing machines the have the external motor that can come off and a belt can be fixed to turn the hand wheel that for me it makes little sense to spend money on a machine that is mostly plastic. I’ve got 4 antique treadles 2 Singers, one which is 113 years old and one 99 years. 2 White Rotary’s and an Electric White rotary. I’m looking for a mid 40 -50s zig zag, probably a White or Singer, but there are other older great machines out there,
    Made before “Planned obsolescence and the built in date of deterioration ;)” All I’m needing is a good basic zz for simple over casting.
    But the Janome treadle machine does look nice, but as you say NOT beautiful, I’ll take the looks of your Standard sitting there on the floor,
    And why doesn’t it work, froze up? those machines are darn near indestructible, unless it’s rusted tight or something is major missing all it might need is a good cleaning, oiling and a treadle stand with a belt!

    But Enjoy learning to treadle, people powered sewing connects you better to your work, to my mind.

  8. Ann Mills

    I learned how to sew on a machine like the old one on the bottom, just simple stitches, but I was little and it was enough. Later my mom got an electric one. this pic really brings back memories :)

  9. Arrow

    I love how you made the new machine work with the old cabinet. I’ve been given an old Necchi sewing machine I think is from the 50s. It’s in a treadle, and came so originally. I didn’t know they made treadles that late. It’s a bit sad to see the old machine discarded though, they usually come to life again with a little care and attention. The old one is much more durable that the brand new Janome, it has all metal parts and no plastic gears. Can it still be put back in the treadle after the alterations?

    Regards :- )

  10. Catrina Haider

    I have a newer sewing table from the late 60s or early 70s that was probably ordered from the Sears & Roebuck catalog when they still had one. It was my Grandmother’s and I got it when she died. It still has her Singer machine in it. I assume she bought the machine at the same time she bought the table. I have a really old Singer machine she bought me when I was about 12 yrs. old. I think it is from somewhere between the 30s to the late 50s. I’ve never really looked it up. It looks a lot like the one you have on the floor in your pic. It only goes forward and backward and I have an attachment to make buttonholes. It’s a real basic machine. I also have a White brand machine I bought in the 90s. I really wish it had more bells and whistles like yours does. It does more than my old Singer machine at least. I would love to put my White machine in my sewing table, but it needs a different piece of wood to make it fit. I saw a place that sells new sewing cabinets in a sewing machine store so you might talk to someone about your sewing table or a new one at a sewing machine store. My sewing table is different than yours. I wish it had drawers like yours. Mine has the machine fold down inside like yours. The difference is that where yours has the side table that flips up and down so you can work on your pattern, mine has a table that flips over the top and covers the hole where the machine is and covers the whole top of the table so it then looks like a desk. Mine is not a treadle table either. I could easily take the motor off my old Singer and put it in your treadle so it would work. I had a different Grandmother that had a treadle machine, but I don’t know what happened to it or what machine was in it. Well, one of these days I’m going to go back to that sewing machine store and try to find a piece to fit my table so I can use my machine in it. I may wait until I get a new machine though. The White brand machine went through a tornado without a case so it’s a little tweeted and needs some work and cleaning. It is all metal except for some of the outer case so it was mostly just scuffed up. I would love a machine with a lot more bells and whistles and different pressure feet. I could buy them for mine, but it would cost a fortune. Anyway, if you want help with your sewing table or to talk to someone about a new one then I would call or go to a sewing machine store. If you would like to see my sewing table just let me know and I will post some pictures of it. Hope this helped. Sorry about the rambling. I don’t get out much.

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