Solar Powered Sewing Machine

I grew up around a variety of sewing machines with my Grandmother a professional tailor and my father in the fabric industry. My grandmother had a singer treadle machine which we liked to play with when we weren’t diving into her huge remnants bags and dressing up. I proudly thought that Singer machines were Scottish having taken their name from a local Clyde based town but I later learned they were in fact American and the Singer site was actually their third factory  in Scotland.

Opening in 1884 it employed 5,000 workers and was the largest sewing machine factory in the world. I love facts that the building used around 20 Million bricks and if laid out and to end would stretch from Clydebank across the bed of the Atlantic and take you out past further New York! Portable sewing machines made such a difference in woman’s lives as I remember my Grandmother telling me – that was probably as a human on average sews 40 stitches a minutes where a machine can stitch 900! It also gave women an outlet in selling clothes and doing repairs.

We have an old treadle machine rusting away in my parents garden which flips over to form a table but the majority of my Singer experience was with a Singer Genie produced in the 1970’s with it’s floral pattern and ever so cute carry case. It wasn’t until I moved to the States (and sadly my baggage allowance didn’t quite stretch to bringing a sewing machine) and started using a Brother did I realize just how VERY temperamental the Genie is!

Although we are hooked up to electricity on the bus Dan lived for many years off Grid and it’s always good to reduce our consumption so I began looking at diagrams of how to convert electric machines into treadle human powered ones – but my head began to ache very quickly!

Then Dan suggested hooking it up to Solar Panel which has been sitting soaking up this very warm Carolinian spring. I plugged the machine cord into the inverter which plugs into the battery attached to the solar panel and within minutes I was off grid and stitching away!

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17 thoughts on “Solar Powered Sewing Machine

  1. You are amazing. I never would have thought of it. My husband wants to retire “Off the Grid” we have 40 acres in the western woods of WI. Thanks for Blogging found you on Kari-Po.

  2. Thanks Lisa for stopping by.

    Hey Denise – it’s a pretty easy set up. if you have a decent enough of a battery then you can take it indoors and you’ve probably got days of grid free sewing energy!

    Jude X

  3. I am very interested in how to convert a sewing machine to solar power for a project in South Sudan. Can you shed any light on this?

  4. I founded a private carrer training school in Nigeria,where I train youth to be self emplyed and create wealth through fashion and other vocational skills and am currently trying to find solar powered sewing machines for a project to empower girls and women in Nigeria. I would be so happy if you can help me by sharing more infomation. I want to build a factory where production can be done., we have bad electric supply in Nigeria, the cost of running a generator is too high and makes the clothes too expensive to compete in the local and international market

    • You would really need advice if your setting up a factory – as it would be an entire different system, the wiring and batteries. I only use a single panel and it’s a very simple set up. Maybe an engineer could help you sign the system you need? Good luck.

  5. I have recently become addicted to sewing and am possibly moving to an off the grid yurt- how much energy does a sewing machine take, I mean how many panels would it take to run a sewing machine for a few hours a day? Thanks, Lisa

  6. Could you share the specific solar panel, battery and inverter set up you use. I want to take my machine on the road and be able to sew anywhere, anytime.

  7. Yes I’d like to know the specifics of your solar panel etc too. We are building a home in Mexico that us completely off grid and want to do some sewing. Thank you

    • Hey – thanks for getting in touch. I’m currently writing a little ebook on solar panel sewing – I’ll add your name to the list and let you know when it’s ready. Many thanks, Jude.

  8. Pingback: 50 Must Have Items For Doomsday - If You Plan On Remaining Stationary

  9. Pingback: A Solar-Powered Sewing Machine -- Works Fine! | 100 under $100

  10. We are in the process of converting a bus into a home on wheels. I will definitely be bringing my sewing machine… so your solar idea really inspired me! Fun fun fun!

  11. WowI am an avid quilter. And I’m going to be traveling in a small RV. I’m very very interested in your solar powered sewing machine. Please elaborate to me how big of panels you need and just exactly how this works. Thank you so much. Patzy

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