Showing posts with label Long Bobbins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Long Bobbins. Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Sewing Machine Surprise!

A warm, sunny, afternoon near the end of May I had just nipped out of the office to buy some milk and a sandwich.  Next to the supermarket in the village where I work there is a charity shop and I can never resist a quick look.  Out on the pavement was the unmistakeable shape, black japanning and gold decals of a vintage sewing machine.  I had to crouch down and have a little look.  All seemed to be there (always check for a shuttle and a couple of bobbins if you see a vibrating shuttle machine for sale) and not in bad condition.  Take a deep breath, consider the cupboard space to sewing machine ratio of one's domicile, exhale with relief because there is no visible price tag and walk away from the vintage sewing machine.  When I returned to the office I told the team all about the sweet little sewing machine I had seen and how very proud I was of myself for not buying it, for not even asking the price.

A few days later it was my birthday and, prior to my arrival at work, my colleagues placed a large parcel covered in floral furnishing fabric on my desk.  Under the cloth was the machine from the charity shop.  My boss had gone out that very afternoon and bought it.  She had hidden it at her home for about a week before surprising me with it!  She is, needless to say, a very good boss.  A brilliant birthday present because the machine needed the usual cleaning and tinkering with as a project so hours of fun before I even got sewing - the gift that keeps on giving right?

Jones Family Cylinder Shuttle Sewing Machine badged Victoria
Victoria Sewing Machine
The Victoria is obviously one of the many 'badged' variants of the Jones' Family Cylinder Shuttle sewing machine.  The story that wholesale machines were badged with whatever a retailer fancied is pretty well known.  The most common is probably 'Federation' for the Co-operative Wholesale Society and, my secret favourite, 'The Lee' for G H Lee of Liverpool.  There are a handful of Victorias pictured on the Internet, so they're obviously not that rare, but not much in the way of information about them.  I would love to know more about the Victoria brand and where they were sold if anyone out there has and information.

Plain polished face plate, note the thumb tab needed to manually release upper tension when removing work and the planned absence of a thread check spring on this model
Hand crank, spoked balance wheel, inspection plate in rear of the pillar.  The base is slotted for a treadle belt and has a lidded compartment for accessories.

Victoria badged Jones sewing machine: pivot screw
The large screw in the top of the machine's arm is a good indicator of Jones' manufacture.

Floral decal on the rear of the pillar

Detail of delightful decals

Just don't mention Kilbowie!

Bobbin winder with new pulley rubber from 'Sewing Down Memory Lane' fitted.  Serial number roughly dates this machine to the late nineteen-teens

Missing original rear shuttle race cover was replaced by one sourced from 'Sewing Down Memory Lane'

Jones Family CS sewing machine; detail of shuttle, shuttle race and shuttle carrier
It came with a worn-in, rather than worn-out shuttle which is marked 'Jones'

Well what can she do?  She can sew forwards only with a maximum stitch length of about eight stitches per inch right down to one tiny stitch on top of another.  Or, to put it another way, she'll do anything that Singer 28K can do.

12 SPI or 2.5mm should be good for general sewing and patchwork.  I feel a test project coming on!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Long Bobbins New vs Old

The shuttle and bobbin that came with my Singer 28K

My experience - When my Singer 28K arrived I was relieved, after the cursory research I had carried out by that time, to discover that it came with one bullet-shaped shuttle (shiny and free of rust) and one bobbin (wound with oil-soaked thread).  I became quite excited when I found that new bobbins to fit Singers 27,127, 28 and 128 were offered for sale cheaply all over the Internet and thought a good starter would be to get hold of five so that I could sew with more than one colour.

Original bobbin (top) and shorter modern replacement (below) 

When they arrived I found that they are a few millimetres shorter than the bobbin that came with the machine and that the tips were a good deal less pointy.  The upshot of this was that the bobbin winder on my 28K really didn't get on well with them.  The blunt ends don't sit well in the winder and tend to slip. As they are on the short side the arm of the thread guide travels past the end of the bobbins taking the thread with it and causing a tangle.

Note that the thread guide travels past the end of reproduction bobbins

More Internet based research threw up a couple of workarounds.  The first is to bypass the thread guide and use your finger and thumb the second is to build up one end of the bobbin with blue tack.  I am not keen on either but by using the former I managed to get one of the new (short) bobbins loaded with thread.  If you can get this far then you will find that the thing fits inside the shuttle and the machine will sew happily without further incident.

A little while later I saw some more new bobbins advertised as being longer than most available and to fit Singer 27/127 and 28/128.  I thought I would try them.  This next batch are longer than the first ones I bought but they are still a shade shorter than the original part.  They sit better and do not seem prone to slippage.  Again if you can get them filled (I simply stop when the thread guide gets to the left hand end of the bobbin, lift the thread out, wind the bobbin past the high spot on the heart shaped cam, put the thread back in guide and continue repeating the step as many times as required) they fit inside the shuttle and the machine will sew well.

During the last couple of weeks I have been lucky enough get hold of some old [original?] long bobbins.  I have two basic patterns.  The first looks a lot like the one that came with my machine some have a hole in one end and others dont.  The second are domed, rather than pointed, at one end.  Being second hand bobbins each one came prewound with several colours of old cotton and silk thread.  The thread had attracted moisture which has caused light surface rust on the spool of the bobbins but this can be smoothed off with metal polish and the brass ends shine up a treat!  Best of all, as they are original parts, they have a great original fit in the bobbin winder.  This really does speed things up.

Original bobbins pointed without holes (left), domed with hole (centre) pointed with hole (right)

My advice - Go to the effort of sourcing some original old style bobbins they will make using a VS sewing machine a much more pleasant experience.  From what I can gather most Singer Vibrating Shuttle machines were supplied with a bobbin and four spares when new.  Millions of VS machines were manufactured so there must be tens of millions of old long bobbins kicking around the world even to this day!  I bet most of them are in the drawers of treadle bases or old tobacco and shortbread tins.

My question - Who is making these other bobbins and why, if one is going to go to the trouble of manufacturing obsolete parts, don't they make them to the right spec?