Singer 31K20 Treadle – Free Motion Quilting

Singer 31K20 Treadle – Free Motion Quilting

Recently I found this machine.  It’s an industrial treadle. I purchased it amid much fun and hilarity.  A good time was had by all.

Singer 31K20 Industrial Treadle

After I brought the machine home and cleaned and oiled it, of course it was missing the bobbin case.  Last week I managed to find a shop called Elizabeth Machines, who deal in industrial machines.  I was advised that parts are still available for old industrial machines.  Lucky for me I was able to purchase a new bobbin case and bobbin.  The new treadle belt was fitted.

I can only image judging by the depth of the dust, that this Singer has not been used for decades.  The original treadle belt was perished and the missing bobbin case sure is a show stopper.  Given that it belonged to the hospital, and then a museum, it would not be unreasonable to assume that this machine, being a treadle would have been superseeded decades ago.  So today it’s making its first real stitches in a very long time.

Now for the challenge!  Can I get it to free motion quilt?  I had a little test of straight sewing and made these mini flying geese blocks.


That’s enough.  It’s stitching beautifully.  So can it quilt?  I tried out the different stitch lengths.  I can’t see any way of lowering the feed dogs, so I’m not going to worry.  Gloves of course are essential, and a free motion quilting foot. This machine takes high shank feet.   I remembered that I had a high shank quitting foot from my old original Pfaff 1222E.  So I used this foot.  As the depth of the quilting foot fitting is quite narrow, I used a hex screw nut  to add a bit of depth to the attachment.  And here we go…..


You may notice I’m using a dark thread underneath, just using up some old thread as this is a practice piece.  I might need to loosen the upper tension a little.  I’m happy with how it’s turning out!  Not as difficult as I thought.  Certainly keeps the legs moving, that’s for sure.   Free Mtion Treadle Quilting.  First attempt.




3 thoughts on “Singer 31K20 Treadle – Free Motion Quilting”

  1. I have enjoyed your blog, especially the treadle posts. Although it’s not really necessary, Singer made a “blank” darning needle plate for this machine (#12422) that was used with the feed dog removed from the machine if you want to look into getting one. The plate has only a needle hole in it. They’re still available today. I have one on my Singer 96-40 (same plate fits several models) that I hope to set up for FMQ in a Singer Industrial Treadle complete with end and rear extensions some day. Right now, my wife is using her Singer 301A for FMQ, and with all of our other treadle, electric, and power stand machines in our small house, there’s no room to set it up right now. She pieced together a quilt back on her 1901 Singer 27 treadle during a power outage last December, and really kind of likes treadling, but she’s gotten used to doing her FMQ on her electric 301A.
    CD in Oklahoma

    1. Dear CD. Thanks again. I have started free motion quilting my first quilt on this machine. I love it. I have a feeling your wife will love yours too. I’ll look out for the needle plate!

      1. Hi Suzie. Have you tried turning the stitch length to zero so that the feed dogs don’t move the fabric. I saw this mentioned on a free motion quilting video to overcome the type of machine with no dropping of the feed fogs availability. Just an idea!

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