During each of my pregnancies I long to sew baby clothes on a treadle sewing machine. In my pregnant bipolar mind, somehow, baby clothes sewn on a treadle machine were softer than baby clothes sewn on an electric machine.
It didn't have to make sense. One day I won a treadle table for a mere $10. I brought it home, cleaned it up, and it sat waiting for a machine. It had to be the *right* machine. So one day, tired of scanning craigslist and gazing at machines I could never afford I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down what I needed. I wrote...
I need a sewing machine that...
Can be used as a treadle machine.
Has a built in zig zag stitch
Is compatible with Singer accessories
Has multiple needle positions
Has multiple stitch length
Costs less than $30
Preferably powder blue
The very next day someone listed a Fiatelli sewing machine on the local auction where I had won the treadle table. I bounced through the week on pins and needles. Stylish; It was designed at a time when people thought we would be driving flying cars and vacationing on the moon by now. They listed it as "unknown condition" which we all know means "can't get it to work", but in my experience people often give up when things aren't easy so I was unconcerned. The day finally came and I won the coveted machine for a mere $5. We picked up the machine and brought it home.
The poor machine did not even come with it's foot pedal, but as I planned to convert it for treadle use I was undaunted. I unscrewed the machine's motor from it's back and took a good, hard look at it. It was filthy. It's condition was absolutely deplorable. It had been neglected and outright abused. The wheel would not turn. The needle barely moved. I opened the machine and proceeded to clean. The scent of WD40 filled the room and cleaning clothes littered the floor as I hunched over the machine for the next 12 hours without stop. I dismantled every section of the machine, cleaned it, and refitted it. There was not a single section of the machine that worked as it should. Several sections showed where previous work had been done, only the technician had dismantled parts and reassembled them incorrectly. No wonder the machine did not work.
The poor machine cried, and I cried with it, as I wrestled with gears that did not remember how they were supposed to fit together. Such a disservice to such a piece of vintage art. The light switch disintegrated when I touched it, so it had to be replaced. It came with a turn switch, but when I searched for a new one all I could find in a low profile chrome switch was a push switch. I wired it all up with a new, longer cord. The deck had spots where the enamel had been ....damaged and rust had set in, bubbling up into nuggets. The bobbin plate showed ... gouging O.O I sanded the plate and deck spots down to protect the fabric which would be passing over them. Before I was done I spend 20 hours taking apart, cleaning, correcting, reassembling, regreasing, rewiring. The moment finally came when I lowered it into the treadle table, laced the leather belt over the Fiatelli's wheel, around the table's wheel, slowly rocked the pedal and held my breath. The wheel turned, the fabric moved, and the needle went up and down. All of this with only a whisper to tell that it was working. The sheer quiet startled me. Never before had I been able to sew on a machine without the NOISE that accompanies electric sewing machines. I could sew on this one while my infant and toddler slept!!! Something I had NEVER been able to do before without fear of waking them.
I was elated. I can sew forward and backward. Straight stitches are no problem. It has a zig zag stitch, but I am still learning the tension to make the machine happy. That is my struggle, not the machine's. There is no manual available for this machine. I have been able to find only one other Fiatelli mentioned online in the U.S, and it is not of this model. I intend to study machines of other makes which have similar working in other to learn to use this one. I am so happy I was able to save, and breath life into a BEAUTIFUL machine that other's had given up as garbage.