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Going on Sewing

Because Violet suffers from severe osteoporosis, her mobility is considerably limited and she doesn’t often leave the house. Sewing for her grandsons provides a relaxing and useful hobby which she is reluctant to give up. However, she no longer has the strength in her leg to operate the foot pedal.

Because Violet suffers from severe osteoporosis, her mobility is considerably limited and she doesn’t often leave the house. Sewing for her grandsons provides a relaxing and useful hobby which she is reluctant to give up. However, she no longer has the strength in her leg to operate the foot pedal.

Violet had previously worked as an administrative volunteer with TAD, so she knew who would be able to help. TAD advised her that she could get a device made by TAD Engineer Jack Koina, who had developed this from an original design by TAD’s Alan Every.

Jack’s device houses the foot pedal in a wooden box. The operator blows into a tube, inflating a rubber bag inside the box – a type of bellows, which presses down onto the pedal and operates the sewing machine.

More air makes the machine go faster, and less air makes it goes slower. Constant speed can be maintained by holding the tongue over the end of the mouthpiece. To stop the machine, the operator sucks in.

The alternative is a hand-operated pedal, but this only leaves one hand free to guide the fabric through the machine. And as every sewer knows, that can only lead to disaster!

Violet acquired one of Jack’s devices, but when she tried to use it a small modification was still required as the box was depressing the foot pedal on assembly. TAD volunteer Bryan Hufton reduced the height of the base plate beneath the foot pedal by 4mm and also added a neck loop to the mouth tube so it sits comfortably near Violet’s mouth, ready for use.

Violet was so delighted with the way she could now use her sewing machine that she asked TAD to adapt her overlocker as well. She said, ‘I always did dressmaking for myself and others but could not any more because of the pain and discomfort. Thanks to TAD now I can use my machine as much as I like.’ Her current project is a pair of colourful pyjamas for her youngest grandson.

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.