Sitting on hidden treasure

Hello friends! Long time no chat. The truth is I’m bored with sewing dresses. Gasp! I’m sure the inspiration will come back — I do like the swing and swish of a dress all my own. But for now, any mojo I have going is going in another direction. And as my buddy Collyn says, you get to be who you are. Right now, I’m a patchwork of ideas.

My creativity got restarted with a little antiquing. We found this lovely 1924 Singer 127 treadle machine in its original cabinet at my friend Linda Jones’ shop, Carters Creek Station Antiques. I’ve always wanted a treadle machine and I’m determined to teach myself to use it! With a little cleaning and oiling, I got her running pretty well (the machine, not Linda -she’s always on the move!).


Now she deserved a chair with some style. It would need to be smaller than a modern desk chair, and without wheels! Maybe it’s just me and my novice abilities, but when I use my vintage desk chair, I can’t seem to keep the machine’s wheels turning in the right direction without finding myself rolling away! Great for a laugh, but not for sewing a straight line.

Then I remembered an old favorite. This Victorian piece, with carved swans and arrows, has made me smile for a dozen years in our dining room or patio. I’d recovered and painted her a few times. Now she has a new role to play so I’m taking her back to her original complexion. It took me a few days to strip the paint and get the sanding, sealing and staining done.


What to use for her new clothes? I have plenty of fabric. Surely I can find something that will work. As I went through my neatly folded stacks and bundled heaps of scraps, I found remnants I’d saved from other home dec projects. Why not put some together?

I’ve never done any quilting. But hey, I can sew a straight line. What could go wrong? I used the color pallet of the sewing room drapes as a starting point – mostly coral and chartreuse, with bits of teal, blue and lavender. I added different scale prints and geometrics in those colors for contrast and balance. I love all these fabrics. The orange dot is left from some pillows and the big sketchy floral is our dining room drapes. The watercolor print in green, blue and grey is left from our bedroom drapes. The white linen embroidered with green vines and the knobby plaid (which reminds me of 1960s tablecloths) were remnant table finds.

What I learned along the way (or, don’t do what I did):

TIP#1 : Don’t trust your eyes when cutting! Use a T-square or a carpenter’s square. It’s tough to eyeball a perfect 90 degree corner every time. If some are off, the whole picture gets skewed. This is where it comes in handy to be good with a seam ripper.

Tip #2: When laying out your design, think about how much will wrap under the cushion and be out of sight forever. Position key elements of your design where they’ll be seen. If you don’t think of this in time, you can always make little patches like I did and stitch them on top. Busy, but fun!

Tip #3: Use mid or lighter weight fabric in the corners. With stiffer fabrics, it’s tough for your upholstery guy to get a crisp neat fold. But he did! Thanks, Roger!


It took ten minutes to buy the sewing machine and a week to get a chair I’d had for a dozen years ready for her! Ha! But now I’m good to go treadling in comfort and style. Next up, more stash busting ideas. Maybe I’ll even make one with my new baby!



2 thoughts on “Sitting on hidden treasure

  1. Wow, that is drop dead gorgeous! I love it! So cool that you can turn your sewing mojo toward something so artistic but useful.

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