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The Raupp Museum Online Database

Making Your Clothes

It Took Hours...

In the 1860s, the only place in Buffalo Grove to buy clothes was the Weidner General Store and there was a limited inventory. Women would often buy different fabrics from the store to sew unique clothes for their families.

The sewing machine was an important invention for women in Buffalo Grove. A dress that would take ten hours to make by hand would take only an hour to make using a sewing machine. As a result, the time allocated to sewing at home reduced significantly. This gave women more time to pursue other tasks or interests.


Sewing Machines

This treadle Singer sewing machine was made May 23rd, 1919. This machine, serial number G7054676, was a popular model during the time. There were approximately 50,000 machines of this model made!

Issac M. Singer was the inventor of the Singer Sewing Machine, the first rigid-arm sewing machine. He made the mechanical machine popular around the United States from the 1860s to 1950s. Singer machines in the early 1900s cost between $40 and $75. After the 1950s, Japanese made machines started to become popular.

A treadle machine is a sewing machine that is powered using your foot. You push the metal grated pedal (called the treadle) back and forth. This turns the metal wheel and leather belt, turning the stop motion wheel that powers the mechanisms inside the sewing machine to move the needle up and down.

The sewing machine can be stored inside the wooden case – a wood flap lifts up and the machine collapses into the top. This makes the machine easy to store and you can use the case as a table top for other projects.

Check out how the sewing machine works below!