Friday, October 14, 2011

Tips for winding a VS bobbin

VS stands for vibrating shuttle.  This is the type of sewing machine that has a long bobbin.  An essential part of the mechanism is the silver, bullet shapped shuttle.  It hold the bobbin, and tensions the bobbin thread.  In the past, shuttles were sold anywhere that sewing supplies were.  When a machine started behaving baddly, skipping stitches or such, a new shuttle was bought for a nominal sum and the machine ran like new again.

The old Singers were designed to be maintained by the household that owned them.  All the oiling points were clearly marked in the instructions, the shuttle  was replaceable, and the machines could run forever. I wonder if the move for women's rights was not in some small part helped along by the widespread use of the sewing machine.

The machine came with screwdrivers and an oil can- things I think most women didn't normally use.  The directions in the manuals, when a hand is shown holding a part, that hand is clearly a woman's.  It was, I think the first machine that was run by and maintained by women.  It must have been very empowering.

ANyway, back to sewing.  Many people struggle with winding the long narrow bobbins used in a VS machine.  The top photo shows a bit of blue painters tape.  That tape is holding the end of the thread.  I do this because it is hard to start the bobbin winding.  Painters tape leaves no sticky behind. You will note that the thread guide is in the center of the bobbin.  That's where I like to start it, so I treadle the machine until the thread guide is in that position.

After the thread has wound around a few times, I stop treadling grasp the bobbin overhand, like the picture, and ease the tape out of  place it was sandwiched. I just tip it slightly to the right, letting the edge of the bobbin keep the spring for closing all the way. The end of the thread generally stays attache to the tape.  As soon as I have the tape thread end out, I lower the bobbin back into the winder.  I cut the end as close to the bobbin as I can, and continue winding.  This winder does not stop when it is full- you have to keep an eye on it.  I have less trouble with the sewing if the bobbin is not completely full.

I don't know if this is anything like the correct way, but it works for me and thought it might be helpful to someone else.


Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I have 3 VS machines, but, I haven't sewn on them yet. My friend just purchased a 127VS that she is going to hand crank. I told her to keep the motor for winding the bobbins. I sent her a link. Now I'll have to find time to try this myself. Thanks.

Rosalyn Manesse said...

My grandma had a machine like that. I sewed on it occasionally. It was umpteen years old. I think she got it as a wedding present --about 1900.such fun to treddle