Yes! You Can Machine Quilt on a Treadle Sewing Machine!

Good Morning, Quilters!

What is the BEST machine for free motion quilting?  My friend, Christa Watson has a few pointers —Six Features You’ll Want for FMQ at The Craftsy Blog...

But really…features like automatic needle down and feed dogs that lower are only “nice-to-haves”.

I always say, the BEST machine for free motion quilting, is the one YOU are using right now, because you are the most comfortable with all of the sounds and idiosyncracies of that machine. Vintage Sewing Machine


I recently discovered an amazing quilter, Jamala,  from the Czech Republic who uses a treadle sewing machine for free motion quilting.  I saw her quilts on Instagram and asked her to look at the tutorials from The Inbox Jaunt.  Within a few days, she created several quilts using The Square Flower and other motifs using her treadle sewing machine!

See the quilts HERE

Watch her quilting on a treadle machine here

(I like the second video best…)

Jamala, Treadle QuiltingPhoto via Jamala

While you are there, be sure to say “Nazdar! (hello).    I know she will love to hear from all of us.

BTW–There is a “translate” option on the right sidebar–The translation is rather choppy, but the photos speak for themselves!


So…if you’ve been waiting to learn free motion quilting until you get that fabulous machine with all the bells and whistles…

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Happy Quilting!


PS…If you like these motifs and tips, be sure to check out my book, Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 or any of my Craftsy Videos!

PS…All tutorials, images (unless specified) and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!









41 thoughts on “Yes! You Can Machine Quilt on a Treadle Sewing Machine!

    • There was a Czechoslovakia. The combined Czech-Slovak country existed from 1918 until 1992. It was a communist country behind the Iron Curtain. Then the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), also known as the Soviet Union, fell and the Iron Curtain came down. The country then split into the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Zakapattia Oblast.

      Melania Trump was born in Czechoslovakia. Her father, as a memory piece, still has his communist party card.

  1. That’s amazing! I don’t think I’ll show my husband though, he’ll be putting a new belt on his Grandmother’s treadle sewing machine for me, as a way to exercise while quilting!

    • Using a treadle machine isn’t hard work as long as everything is oiled like it should be. I’ve been sewing with 3 of my treadle machines since 2007.

  2. I have been following Tim Latimer’s blog for some time now. He buys and renovates old sewing machines and he is a master in machine quilting on treadle machines. I love his videos and the way he shows us that you indeed don’t specifically need a top of the bill sewing machine!

  3. Her sewing room is so NEAT! No wall units full off fabric bins or hanging thread holders, or ruler carriers. Just machines on tables. Amazing. It would make it way easier to dust. Minimalist thinker perhaps, or perhaps the jumble is in another room? I particularly enjoyed the side view where you see her rhythm on the treadle. Takes me back many a moon.

    • I love my treadle. These machines sew the softest silks to the heaviest denim. Plus it is a piece of history. On sewn gifts, I add a note, “This was sewn on a Singer treadle, made in Edison, New Jersey the last week of November, 1884.”

      You can trace the history of your machine with the serial number, located on the right front base. You can even get a copy of the original manual.

      Remove the sewing machine from the treadle table. Start by opening the staple on the leather belt, that connects to the pulley. The machine can now tip up. There will be push-pull bolts on each side of the machine. Pushing or pulling the bolts releases the machine. Take your machine to a sewing repair center that repairs all models. The shop will clean, repair, set tension, replace the spool felt and make adjustments. Be sure to purchase a new leather belt, for your treadle.

      Have fun!

  4. Thanks for sharing your research and network with us. I’m once again inspired to dust of both of my treadle machines and learn how to use them.

  5. I can FMQ on my Singer 15 treadle. The stitching is beautiful. I used to FMQ on my SInger 301 until I bought a longarm. I still FMQ small projects on it. I think the older machines make better straight stitches and are incredibly precise. I love to fix old machines and get them going for people. There is a yahoo group, Treadleon, that is dedicated to sewing on treadles. Lots of ideas there.

  6. I keep saying that I’ll try FM on one of my treadles. I’m not very good at it on my electric. So far, I’ve just done straight line quilting on both. I did take a ruler class last summer (and need to practice again).

  7. Thanks for sharing this! I will start my FMQ adventure with my great-gram’s 1905 Minnesota D treadle next month. The accessories include a large open-toe foot and a guide for straight-line grid quilting. (Other accessories that intrique me are rufflers and tuck attachments for several sizes). I’d heard of foreign sewists who use treadles to do amazing FMQ and “thread painting” work plus many raves about Tim Latimer’s stitching, but I haven’t yet viewed their videos nor searched youtube for many more examples which I’m told are available.

  8. one of my friends went to a workshop with a teacher here in the UK and this person told her she would never be able to quilt on her piece of junk. This put her off even trying. Last summer I ran a small workshop and when she said she would not be able to FMQ because of what she had been told, I said you can quilt on any machine. Long story short, she is now FMQ well and loves it.

  9. As you say – where there’s a will there’s a way. I have pieced a top on my 1904 treadle – must give this a try. Thanks so much for posting this, Lori.

  10. Lovely quilting. I have been learning on a 15K Singer treadle which lives downstairs, but I have a 201K in my sewing room – the feed dogs can be dropped on that and it’s also a treadle. I’ve been watching Lizzie Lennard’s vintage sewing with her fmc quilting. They are all very inspiring. Something I’d like to try most definitely.

  11. Very kool, and beautiful work. Watching the 2nd video, especially, it seems like stopping to reposition hands is a little more challenging that with a e-powered machine. Sewing at the same speed and changing the speed of the fabric moving under the needle seems to be the strategy.

  12. I do all my piecing on a Singer 15-88 treadle and have also free motion quilted on it…but haven’t done that for awhile. Thanks for the reminder! I’m doing a bunch of table runners, so should set my treadle up for free motion quilting again (this one is from 1951 and can drop the feed dogs so easy peasy :-).

  13. I do my piecing and quilting on my Brother VQ2400, bought for this purpose. It has wonderful features, an 11 1/4” throat. I love it – WHEN IT WORKS. I have had it 16 months, and it has been in for repairs 5 times, average of 2 weeks per time. It is all warranty, but still…

    When it works, it is amazing.

  14. I have really enjoyed exploring the pictures on Jamala’s blog, but cannot for the life of me find that “Translation” button! I do find two archival sidebars on the left–one by subject and the other chronological–but on my screen there are no buttons or sidebars on the right of her page, top, bottom, or middle.
    Can someone tell me what they are seeing that I am not? From the English language comments, I feel sure I’m missing out on some really valuable pointers in sewing on my 1916 White Family Rotary Treadle, and I love the work she’s doing.
    Thank you very much in advance!

      • Hi, Jana, I completely understand, and thank you for your response. My problem is that when I view your blog, there is NO right bar, so no translation button. I am not sure what I can do about that. 🙁
        However, I am really enjoying the photos, and the beautiful things you make. Your skill and artistry are very evident, and I find that very inspiring. Even without a translation, I hope to visit your blog often. Barb

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