How to Restore My Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

treadle sewing machine image by DSL from

Anyone with a passion for antiques has probably come across a forlorn Singer treadle sewing machine sitting in the corner of a shop. Sturdy and durable, they are prized by modern sewers. With a little tender loving care, old treadle machines can regain a new life.

Cleaning off layers of old grease and dirt must be undertaken with care in order to preserve the iconic Singer decals of yesteryear. Replacing a worn treadle belt is perhaps the most challenging part of the restoration process.

Take the machine out of its case or table. Remove bright metal trim, feet and plates and clean them with 409 cleaner diluted with water. Use canned air to blow out dust and lint inside the machine head.

Squirt a small amount of Liquid Wrench into the numerous small holes found on the machine. Give special attention to the bobbin area. Wait a few minutes and wipe off the excess with a rag. Apply Singer machine oil to all moving parts.

Wash the metal machine body with the diluted dish detergent, testing first on an area without decals. Wipe off with a rag dampened with plain water. Apply a light coat of car wax and buff it to a shine.

Repeat these same steps with the treadle mechanism, being careful not to allow any oil or other lubricant to get on the belt or the grooves into which it fits.

Replace the belt if necessary. Remove the metal staple on the old belt and lift it off the pulley wheels.

Take the new belt and place it around the pulley wheels where the old one came from. Make it snug but not overly tight. Mark the correct size and cut off any excess with a sturdy knife. Use the ice pick and block of wood to punch a hole in the new belt to accept the staple that will hold it in place. Reposition the belt on the treadle mechanism.