Life In A Plain Amish Home: Converted Sewing Machine, Basement Canning & Quilt-in-Progress (15 Photos)

Let’s have a look inside a plain Amish home at the family sewing machine, basement canning, and quiltmaking. Previously we saw how the most conservative Amish heat water and use wringer washers. The reader who sent those images in, Maxwell Hodgkins, has some more interesting shots from inside the home of a conservative Amish family. Let’s have a look.

Converted Sewing Machine

First of all we’ve got a nice example of what looks to be an “Amishization” of more modern tech to fit the restrictions of church Ordnung. The reader describes this as a “Modern sewing machine conversion”. The stand looks authentically old.

But while still having a quite dated appearance, the actual machine part appears to be of a more modern type than what you see on these Singer treadle stands.

See this photo for comparison:

Or this one (by Jerry in PA):

I’m not a Singer treadle sewing machine expert, but going by what our reader says I’m assuming that’s the case, that this top was not necessarily meant to go with this bottom. It looks like it has been fitted – somehow – to work with an old Singer treadle stand. I don’t think it’s rocket science, but don’t ask me how it all works 🙂 .

We’ve actually seen something similar here before, in a more progressive Amish home in Missouri (photo by Don Burke). This one you can see is a completely different maker (Necchi):

Basement Canned Goods

Now a look at the basement where we’ve got what looks like quite a nice stock of canned meat.

I don’t know exactly what type of meat this is. But Amish do can a wide variety of meats including pork, chicken, turkey, beef, and venison.

Over here we see a lot of empty jars waiting for the next canning session. And something in the background, maybe tomato sauce or some sort of soup.

While we’re at it, here’s one more shot from this home. Double-decker oven:


Finally, our reader includes some shots of a quilt being made.

The book on the bench is titled Stories Worth Remembering, by David Wagler.

And here’s a second, which appears to be a bit further along.

Hope you enjoyed these little slices of life in a plain Amish home.

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    1. Ann Morrill

      those are two kinds of quilts

      The first quilt has the three layers put together with yarn ties. The second one is a true quilt, as we can see the quilting in progress along the top of the photo. The advantage of quilting is that it makes the final product much sturdier since the batting can’t shift and bunch up and there isn’t friction on the pieced top to cause the stitches to come loose. Tied quilts are good for being made quickly if many are needed or there simply isn’t time or arthritis prevents the fine stitching. Fine quilting is 7 or 8 stitches per inch and requires a great deal of skill (which I don’t have).

      1. Thanks for the insight for this non-quilter!

    2. milene

      i wonder what kind of yarn is being used (can’t see the brand name).

      1. Ann Morrill

        Worsted weight acrylic

        The yarn appears to be a worsted weight 100% acrylic, I think that is what part of the label says that we can see. Looks like “100% acrylic” and it is worsted weight, judging by the look of it.

        1. I zoomed in on the photo and it does say “100% Acrylic”. It is Mainstays brand yarn. It also says “Little Ridge Crochet Cowl” on the label.

    3. Sewing machine

      The large, outdoor machine looks to be a leather working machine/commercial type, certainly not an ‘in home’ one 🙂
      My mother had a treadle machine, that was converted to motorised. It was a Jubilee model Singer, and one of the few models well enough built to cope with the motor. She even had a buttonhole attachment for it – it was a straight sewer only!! It was amazing what she turned out on it, and it was the only sewing machine she ever owned

    4. Sunflower

      Sewing machines

      That unusual machine is a cobbler’s sewing machine. My great-grandfather was a cobbler and had this machine. I wish I had that machine. I do have my great-grandmother’s treadle machine. They are definitely built to last. They both used their machines daily for work and personal use. My great grandmother made all their clothes, dozens of quilts, recovered furniture, and had a sail repair business. My son’s first job was at a small company that makes sails for sailboats. They are still using antique Singer machines. The machines are bolted to the floor. You step down into the floor to sit at the machine. Amazing to see.

    5. Nadege


      Thank you for sharing everyday Amish life with us. The book next to the quilt looks interesting. Unfortunately cannot find this book anywhere. I wonder if it is published by and for the Amish?

      1. Central Virginian


        Here is a link to some more info about the book:
        The publisher cited is Wagler Books, but there doesn’t seem to be any internet presence for this publisher.

    6. Central Virginian

      Sewing Machine

      The one in the photo is most likely this electric model – Perhaps it’s been fitted to work with the treadle, or perhaps it’s powered by battery or compressor?

    7. Ken Pack


      “Stories Worth Remembering”, and other books by David Wagler, is available from:

      43632 CR 390
      Bloomingdale, MI. 49026