What kind and how much???

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Okay, I'm going to buy a bolt or two of muslin (cheap & strong) and a bolt or two of cheese cloth.

What else? Oh, maybe some burlap?

What kind of thread should I stock up on? Quilting thread, is it stronger or is it more like basting thread?

And does anyone know how to thread the bobbin on a reeeaaally old Singer treadle machine? The bobbin is oblong... I can't even figure out how to remove it. I found a site that had the instructions for every single attachment for this machine, but not a thing on how

There are a lot of lists of basics to stock up on, but what I'd like to see is a list that includes Best Brands to buy or maybe types of items.

What do you think?

-- Arewyn (nordic@northnet.net), December 10, 1998


What are you going to use it for? Basting thread is not a very strong thread. It is used mainly to thread something koosley that you want to keep together while you sew it together by machine or by hand. Quilting thread is tough and strong because it keeps two or more layers of material together forever. I have some quilts that are over 100 years old and not a thread is unraveled or worn. Are you planning to make goat cheese with the cheese cloth? Go to a sewing store where they sell sewing supplies and buy the best thread. My mother who is 75 is now going to explain how to get the bobbin out of the machine and how to wind it: Turn the wheel on the right hand side of the machine until the bobbin is lined up with the cloth guide (make sure needle is all the way up to the top). Reach under and pull the bobbin up which is encased in a shuttle. It should slip out easily. On top of the machine on the right hand side there is spindle. Remove the bobbin from the shuttle and place onto the bobbin rewind spindle. Take a spool of thread and place on the left hand side spindle, then draw the thread over to the bobbin and wrap around bobbin several times. In the middle of the wheel on the right hand side of the machine there is a knob which you must loosen. Now, holding your right hand on the wheel, start pushing the peddle and it will start winding the thread onto the bobbin. As soon as it's full, cut the thread and your ready to go. Make sure that the thread is tight onto the bobbin and not loose. By some cheap thread and keep practicing until you get the hang of it. "Coates" makes an excellent thread. If there are any quilters in your area ask them which brand they use. Always use the best for long lasting wear. Jean patches, thread, material, needles are a must. Good clothing will be hard to get and you will be patching what you already have. Go to thrift stores and start stocking up on jeans, sweat shirts, long johns, etc. These will not only make for good barter items, but will keep you clothed and warm. I bought two beautiful sweat shirts with the store tags still on them today at a thrift store for $2.50 each. Good Luck!

-- bardou (bardou@baloney.com), December 10, 1998.

Wash the muslin after you buy it to preshrink it; same for any other fabric you purchase that will be made into garments or anything that will eventually need washing. Cheese cloth is fine cotton, not that loose garbage they sell in grocery stores that they call 'cheese cloth'. Get a copy of the catalog that Cheesemaking of New England [?] puts out if you want real cheesecloth, as well as cheese making supplies.

On thread; quilting thread is fine for most purposes. If you are planning on making clothing, it's very all purpose. You should get some beeswax to draw your thread through; it helps keep it from knotting up on you. You should have some hand sewing needles as well; can't do fasteners on a treadle, and some seams may need different stitches (like buttonhole) that you can't do on a treadle. I prefer regular sewing thread for most purposes, and buttonhole thread for heavy duty projects.

When you are winding the bobbin, you may find that the thread piles up at one end. If so, unwind it and manually guide the thread back and forth on the bobbin spindle.

You should purchase an extra leather treadle belt, spare needles, and get some good grease.

Grab a book on sewing and practice flat felled seams as well as your normal seams. Flat felled seams take a bit more time and a wee bit more fabric, but when you are done, your seam edges are inside the seam and you have a stronger seam and less worry about ravelling.

Check out Threads magazine for ads on catalogs of simple clothing patterns, btw.

Burlap isn't too practical for much unless you plan on sacking potatoes or apples. As a working cloth it doesn't have the same tensile strengh in the fibers that something like denim might have. If you want to have a variety of cloth, I'd suggest that you look at muslin or crinkle cloth for shirts and such and denim for pants, maybe canvas if you plan on making wood carriers or using it for other similar projects.

If you are making clothing, you will need fasteners. Snaps or hooks and eyes are easy, unless you want to get into buttons and do button loops or bound buttonholes.

-- Karen Cook (browsercat@hotmail.com), December 11, 1998.

Cut and paste, cut and paste. Sure love all the info I'm getting from you all. also enjoy the fact that there is very little "flaming" here.

-- Floridagirl (Fran44@aol.com), December 11, 1998.

God, you Cooks are an incredibly practical and resourceful bunch. I'm impressed.

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), December 11, 1998.

Hey Arewyn,

I purchased a Singer treadle machine for $2 at an auction a couple of months ago. Could you please post that Web site URL for the instructions? Thanks.

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), December 11, 1998.


how about denim, canvas, and any camoflage fabric you can find - the last as a barter item if nothing else. Oh and also for barter several yards of silk in different colors...

just my 2 cents' worth, Arlin

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), December 11, 1998.

Thanks, everybody!!! I knew I'd get the scoop from you guys!

David, the URL for the sewing info is:


I tried it a minute ago and couldn't get through. If you want, I will send you the copies of the files I downloaded. Post your request here, okay? Also, do you have winzip?

I haven't really been thinking about making cheese as much as straining juice for jelly, etc. I was wandering around with my 'gotta get' list in my hand, and the thoughts of muslin & cheesecloth and burlap popped in. I was thinking that burlap might have some handy uses; used to be able to count on getting lots of bags. Same with muslin, from flour sacks. Thanks again for the advice. (I'm also glad I never threw out any pantyhose. Hubby kidded me about keeping them all, even the really ratty ones, but now I can think of lots of good uses for them, too!

-- Arewyn (nordic@northnet.net), December 11, 1998.

Complement the young lady about Y2K compliant sewing, not me.

My ideal of sewing is simpler thatn my ideal of cooking. It relies heavily on an iron-on patch kit and a hole. (The hole is in the thing to be fixed, most of the time.) There's also some sewing "tape" stuff too that you can place between two pieces of fabric and "glue" them together - that works pretty good until you can get somebody else to stitch the thing together.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 11, 1998.

Get some black corduroy (about $5/yd). In setting up a darkroom I have been using this material and it has some great insulation properties as well as blackout material. For blackout curtains use two layers. As a curtain it keeps the room much cooler in the day and warmer at night (this is So. Calif. where it actually dips below 50 on some nights in the winter). At dusk the curtains radiate so much accumulated heat they are like just coming out of a hot dryer. It would likewise make good shirts, blankets. etc. And Robert, for patching holes, you can use a stapler with cloth too.

-- Jon (jonmiles@pacbell.net), December 11, 1998.

About the jelly-straining cloth: I use a wine-making bag from Boots, the British "chemists" (druggists) which I happened to have; it's about the size of a small handbag and is virtually indestructible. I've made tons of blackberry jelly with it. It is MUCH EASIER than using cheesecloth as it has a drawstring on top. Any good winemaking place should have one; it's made of some tightly woven synthetic. Or, you could call Boots, maybe they have a web site?

-- jharan (wednesdayschild@hotmail.com), December 12, 1998.

For hand sewing, lay in a supply of dental floss. It hold up really well.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), December 12, 1998.

Arewyn, We just bought our treadle today (we were ready to pay the sticker price at $60 when the owner said she would take $35 it will take some work to clean it up though)Bobbin is inside shuttle that lifts out of base it sits in. I kept telling my husband - I just need to know how to thread the bobbin!?! Finally the owner showed us and then he understood my anxiousness! Good directions to thread already given. Anyway, I would appreciate copies of the files you were sending to David as I am unable to pull up the URL (locked out it appears) Thank you! Diana

-- Diana (familybible@iol14.com), December 12, 1998.

I added many yards of Velcro tape in my sewing kit. I've found more use for it than for duck tape.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), December 12, 1998.

Could someone provide me with a few ideas of where to look for these sewing machines? I am very interested in obtaining one - but haven't a clue...

-- Christine A. Newbie (vaganti01@aol.com), December 13, 1998.

Christine, We found ours driving by an antique store. It was outside and closed up but I recognized the treadle part at the base of the cabinet. The brand name is worn away but they are basic machines and all the parts were with it (different feet!) Lehman's sells them (Singer brand - new for $299.00 The picture is on the back of their catalog. I will need to redo the cabinet but I'm not complaining at $35.00. Also you can order parts belts, needles and bobbins from Lehman's as well. Diana

-- Diana (count@383.day), December 13, 1998.

Diana - thanks. After posting, I purchased a local "classfieds" type paper. There are several sewing machines for sell. Thanks for the Lehman's info too. I was wondering where I would purchase the necessary amennities (sp?) for the machine.

-- Christine A. Newbie (vaganti01@aol.com), December 13, 1998.

Arewyn: I have a treadle. I have the original instruction book. I will be happy to scan the instructions for threading the bobbin and any others you need if you like. Just email me privately and I will do so for you. Is it the shuttle-type of bobbin (that's what mine is) or the round "modern" type?

Sewing sites relating to treadle sewing machines and parts, etc -

http://www.captndick.com/ Very good site all about treadle sewing machines with many links.

http://www.wordsetc.com/treadle.htm Good site for obtaining treadle parts that can sometimes be hard to find. They have online ordering too but I don't think it's "secure" for credit card orders.

I have sewn on a treadle quite a bit. When we lived in our camp off the grid, that was all I had! I used it for almost three years. They sew really well (generall speaking) and I like the stitch better. They seem to make a tougher, more substantial stitch than some of the new ones do. My treadle is worth it's weight in gold! I recently got a new one - a Singer circa 1897, in excellent condition that works great! I paid $150 for it. A find.

Anyway, hope this helps some. If anyone needs any additional help with treadle sewing etc, give a holler. I used to be quite profficient at it!

Bobbi (re-honing those old skills) Check out the newly revamped Y2k information site! http://www.buzzbyte.com/

-- Bobbi (volfnat@northweb.com), December 13, 1998.

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