When the lights go out....

I guess they didn't have 6'3" men in mind when they designed these?
Boston didn't get hit with hurricane Sandy nearly as bad as other parts but many of our neighborhoods did loose power and still have not had service return. Most of the damage was from high winds, luckily it did not rain enough for the widespread flooding that could have been a very real possibility.

I grew up in the country side of Northern California and it was routine to loose power for days or even a week at a time in the winter. Mom still lives in the house I grew up in. She has the monitor heater and electric baseboard units but she will never give up her wood stove. When the lights go out she knows that at the very least she will have the fundamental comfort of heat and that makes her feel safe.

One of the things that bothers me most when the lights go out is not being able to sew. Just the idea that I can't sew anytime I want makes me anxious. In my head I consider the possibility that the power may never come back on and then what? I'd have a huge collection of useless machines and equipment and in that case a HUGE need to be sewing as a necessity.

Last year I purchased an old treadle sewing machine from the early 1900s for $40. The iron base and wooden top with drawers was in great shape, the machine attached, not so much. I removed the machine and replaced it with a newer Necchi BU with chipped paint from the 1950s with zigzag and reverse stitch capabilities. I had to remove the middle drawer so my knees don't hit when I treadle. Now I have a very functional and "modern" non-electric treadle sewing machine.

Now when the power fails I know that somehow it's all going to work out. Even if I don't do any sewing by candlelight I still know that I can and somehow that makes all the difference.

What brings you comfort when the lights go out?

20 comments :: When the lights go out....

  1. Gah. Am now regretting getting rid of my old Necchi BU. Hmmm. Perhaps this could still work with my other machine.

  2. Most vintage machines can't be dropped into a treadle base. The hand wheel has to extend beyond the base of the machine. It's my theory that some manufacturers built their machines to allow for this very thing as an upgrade for the straight stitch (often without reverse)machine. Treadle prices very greatly depending on what part of the country you're in. Much more common here on the East Coast than in CA.

  3. I was thinking about you and also Peter with your treadles when the power went out! I cut out my first jeans fit muslin on Monday night--by flashlight!!

  4. Thank you for giving me the courage to redrill the holes on my BU Mira to fit a Singer treadle base. I was lucky that I had an extra loose Singer hinge that I could measure the size and length of the redrilled holes. Now to shortend the drive belt. The nice thing about treadling a Necchi is they have the counterbalance in the handwheel. If I was to treadle my Pfaff I would have to buy the spoked handwheel for that extra bit of umph! Great Video using the Necchi.

  5. I have a Singer 237 in a treadle base. I simply love it. We lose power here (Central NY) at times when the wind blows just right. It's never out for long. I treadle even when we have power because I so love the rhythm. I am prepared, though, should we have a long time without power. But I need an iron when I sew.

  6. Hi Brian,

    As you may know, I have the very same concern about the power going out, temporarily, for an extended period of time, or even permanently.

    So, this past spring I bought a Singer Featherweight 221 from 1948 on ebay for a very good price. I then bought a hand crank for it from an ebay vendor. I also bought a battery powered led light and a battery powered Simplicity bobbin winder. Having these devices as backups has given me a little peace of mind.

    Take care,


  7. Donde vendeb resouesgos originales de la maquina pfaff modelo 138, sou de Ecuador

  8. Estimados donde venden respuestos originales de maquinas pfaff modelo 138, soy de Ecuador

  9. Hello , I am writing to u ..and I am hoping you may be able to help me with an older brother sewing machine ,, It was working and now it is skipping stitches on me here and no matter what I do it will not stop it ,, My e-mail address is the following karenrichards43@hotmail.com I am so depressed for help here

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