Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bernard Stoewer Treadle Sewing Machine - threading the shuttle bobbin

taylamist said...
Hi Tammy, Can you help me, my hand crank turns smoothly, but doesn't pick up the bobbin thread to complete the stitch. I have replaced the needle but I'm concerned about the shuttle the spring piece is a little bent out as if someone has grabbed it to pull the shuttle out. Do you know of any that will fit. Sorry to trouble you but info is very scarce on these. PS I'm in Australia.
My experience with all sewing machines is that if either the upper needle or the bobbin is not threaded correctly, the machine will not sew period. This is what the shuttle bobbin looks like threaded in my treadle.
My finger is pointing at the lever to raise the shuttle to remove it from the machine.
The lever raises the shuttle from the top end of the bobbin casing.
I hope you can see from these photos that the wire spring device is bent.  There is quite a gap between the bobbin case and the metal spring.
The gap is at least as wide as a sewing machine needle is thick.
First fill the bobbin. Load the bobbin into the shuttle with the hole side of the rod bobbin first.  If there is no hole in your rod bobbin load the rod so that the thread comes off the bobbin counter clockwise.
Draw the thread from top down the slot in the bobbin shuttle.
Follow the thread path up, through and under the spring.
Put the bobbin shuttle into the shuttle track.
With the needle threaded, hold the end of the needle thread and turn the wheel towards you, the needle thread will pull up the bobbin thread.
Next, slide something (seam ripper) between the presser foot and the throad plate to separate the upper and lower threads and completely pull up the lower bobbin thread end.
 Check to ensure the upper needle thread is threaded correctly.
On this machine the needle must be threaded from left to right.  When replacing the needle the flat part of the needle faces the right.  Always test your stitches before sewing anything.
Top side. 
 Loaded bobbin.
Treadle in action.  For this blog post I was multitasking by running the sewing machine and camera at the same time.
I do not have a manual.  However, my Bernard Stoewer treadle is almost identical to the Singer 127, with the exceptions being the little hole on one side of the rod bobbin as well as Stoewer has a stitch length lever with a reverse, whereas the Singer has a screw to regulate stitch length and no reverse.  The Singer 127/128 manual is available as a pdf for free from ISMACS (International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society).  Page 8 and 9 of this manual provide excellent written instructions with illustrations on how to thread the bobbin shuttle.  Hope this helps!  Enjoy and have fun sewing.


  1. Thank you so much for the detail you have gone too. I had made a threading error on the top and even though I had retried a couple of times it wasn't obvious until I saw your photo. IT SEWS!!! Needs a little fine tuning but we will get that I'm sure. I'm so excited and thanks again.

  2. What an angel you are for helping Taylamist. Good illustrations. I enjoyed seeing the pictures. I will have to look. I don't think any of my machines have a lever to pop up the bobbin.

  3. Hi Taylamist,
    It sews! Most excellent, I'm so delighted for you and pleased that I helped.

  4. That's exactly how I would have done it. Now where were you when I was trying to figure it out without a manual? Great post. lane

  5. I have the instructions and all accessories to this machine. mine is called raven.. haha

    1. Hello Jadie, Do you actually sew with your treadle?

  6. Hi can u leave the know if this gets to u please?? It's about your sewing machine. I just bought one. Is it rare? ? €

    1. Yes, I get the comments, I was very busy this weekend sewing a baby quilt, it had to be finished by January 18 as I am doing a presentation on it at a local Nifty Needlers meeting.

  7. I have seen all the pics etc of the Bernard stoewer and mine is pretty great condition the lady I just bought it from brought it over from England to Australia 16 years ago. Your reply will be much appreciated. Thanks tammy

    1. A Bernard Stoewer treadle is an awesome sewing machine. In Canada where I live they are quite rare. I'm the only person I know who has one. Through Needlebar which is an international sewing machine group I knew of one person in France who had one. Mine was manufactured in Germany in April 1910. It has a reverse which is different from the Singers of that age. I do not have a manual for mine. It sews gorgeous precise stitches and it fun to use.


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