Convertible Treadle Sewing Machine Table

What are you to do when you have lots of orphaned treadle heads?  You make a convertible treadle sewing table!!  The bonus of this table is it is as portable as most of the vintage machines in my collection are.  Not that I plan on dragging a treadle sewing machine to quilt class but, it will be nice to be able to set up for a demo.  It's also nice to get to sew on some sewing machines we had but didn't have a table that they worked in.

convertible treadle sewing machine table

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This project is fairly easy if you are a woodworker.  If you aren't feel free to share this with your favorite handy person and bargain to get one made for you.  I'm not a woodworker but my husband works cheaply.  It's a set of treadle irons, a coffee table top, 1x1 boards, and 2x4 boards.  Plus a base to fit your machine, the machine we have in it now already had box, he hasn't built any for the other heads but I'll update you on that process.


He started by putting the 2x4s where the base of the machine would attach.  He needed a way to attach the new top.  The top is removable as you can see it leaning against the freezer in the back of this photo.  He's going to use small gate hooks to attach the top but allow to come off for moving and storage.



He measured the largest machine we have and that's the size he cut the opening out of the old table top.  He took 2x4s on edge to make the opening deep enough to hold the machine.  He braced that with 1x1.  The 1x1 on the outside is where the table top nestles into the treadle irons.  This is where small gate hooks will hook to the irons as well.


He's not a man who wastes anything so he used the piece from the top to make the bottom of the opening.  Be sure to leave room for your belt to come up.  Ask me how we know this.


Here you can see how the new top fits onto the irons.  It's fairly sturdy at this point even without the gate hooks.  The top isn't going to come off right now.  Since the top is so large if you set something heavy on the work area though it might pop off.


Here you can see the treadle head in it's box.  It's ready to be set inside.  All the other boxes will be built pretty similarly.  The top that the head is on is actually from the original treadle cabinet.  Somewhere in it's life someone cut that portion out and kept it and the machine.  Who knows what happened to the rest of it.


And there she is, ready to sew once again.  My husband did have to cut a larger opening for the belt in the base, you can see the fresh wood by the belt.  This is the first time since we bought this machine that it has been treadled.  It had a DIY hand crank on it, it did 1 stitch per revolution.  It's much more efficient now.



The two oldest grandkids popped in just as grandpa was finishing up.  Of course they wanted to sew when they saw grandma at the machine.  The oldest one is a sewist in the making, the middle one just wanted lap time.

convertible treadle sewing table.


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About Melissa Shields

Mel is a 30 something year old quilter, attempting to balance her old school roots with today's trends. When not sewing or shopping for a new sewing machine Mel enjoys reading, reality TV, and Nascar.

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