How to Replace the Belt on a Treadle Machine

Things You'll Need

  • New treadle machine belt (see link in Resources)
  • Pliers
  • Ice pick, awl or nail
  • Sharp knife or scissors
  • Pen or marker

Treadle sewing machines are a beautiful display piece, but they are also efficient, effective and functional sewing machines. These antique sewing machines were made to last and many need little, save a new belt or cord. It is easy to replace the cord on a treadle sewing machine, and it requires only a few supplies. This simple step, along with a cleaning and oiling, can make your old treadle sewing machine work like new.

Remove the old cord or belt from your treadle machine. It can be made of leather or heavy cord, but leather is most common. Use scissors or a knife to cut the cord.

Fold the new belt in the middle and place it over the sewing machine's hand wheel. There should be one hole directly under the hand wheel and another hole to the right of the machine base. Thread half the belt into each opening.

Work the belt around the hand wheel and into the belt groove. Depending upon the treadle sewing machine, you may have to work the belt under the bobbin winder.

Crawl under the treadle sewing machine. You will see both ends of the belt protruding from the top of the sewing machine cabinet. The back end needs to go over the pulley on the treadle. Thread the belt through any guide loops. Singer treadles typically have a single guide, but other treadle sewing machines may have more.

Line up the ends of the treadle sewing machine cord, pulling the belt snugly into position. Overlap the ends and mark the side that does not have a metal staple.

Cut the excess off the treadle sewing machine belt. Note how the staple goes in on the other end and punch a hole in the corresponding spot on the other side of the belt using an awl or nail. Open the staple with pliers, insert into your newly punched hole in the treadle sewing machine cord and close with pliers.


  • You may need to repeat this process after a few months of regular use.