Devil in a Black Dress

This is a treadle sewing machine.  It’s non-electric and foot-powered, meaning you have to pump your legs and feet in exactly the right rhythm to get the foot pedal going and the machine moving.  It’s instruction manual is written in Chinese, with a roughly translated English section.  And by “roughly,” I mean instead of the word “thumb” it has “thun!b.”  The manual also includes what are intended to be helpful diagrams that actually look more like xeroxed copies of xerox copies of ink smudges slightly resembling a sewing machine. 

This treadle machine and 3 of his buddies are bad dudes and have been eating my lunch all week.  As I’ve been familiarizing myself with how they work and trying to teach the girls, the treadles have earned several good cussings and numerous nicknames from me…

Sewing Assassinator

The Stitcher of Death

Pedaler of Doom

Devil in a Black Dress

No-Power Sour


Neverending Needle Knotter


It’s been a rough time.  By the end of this past week, the treadles and I were getting along somewhat better, but we still have some major making up to do.  A repairman is coming by on Monday to see about making a couple of them a bit less ornery.

On a related note, don’t get your finger anywhere near a sewing machine needle when a Rwandan has her foot on the treadle pedal.  I almost lost a fingertip a couple of times!   

Libby GiffordComment