How can I reduce the speed of a sewing machine?

Is there an easy way to reduce the speed of a sewing machine?  I'm teaching a young girl to sew, and every machine just goes too fast.   I don't have room for a traditional treadle, but something foot driven would be great.  I need something easy, compact and portable.  At least one machine has an external motor = an external belt.  Any ideas?

My wife has a small collection of sewing machines, including a "hand crank" machine from the 1920s.

What do you consider portable? Many of the mid to high range machines have adjustable pressure foot pressure control. Basically variable speed through the foot pedal. But those tend to be full size models which can be a bit heavy.

mole1 (author)  mpilchfamily4 years ago

Thanks for thinking about it, mpilchfamily. I have the kinds of machines you describe (and, yes, they are heavy), but the slowest constant speed is too fast. I'm hoping for either a way to gear down the motor or a 'light weight' (not cast iron) form of foot / leg power... treadle, push pedal or something. Ideally, I would be able to use the same system on different machines (one at a time).

The speed problem is not a matter of poor contacts in the pedals or dirty commutators. Taking the oldest foot pedal apart this evening to see if there were dead spots, it became clear that out of seven contacts only the first one was getting used - the lowest power.