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!


  1. I have the exact same machine except the name is "Royal Ruby". Beautiful machine, happy birthday, and congratulations on a lovely gift!

    1. Hi Mouse
      Thank you for the birthday greetings. It is a lovely gift. I really need a little project to put it through its paces. I'd love to see a picture of your "Royal Ruby" which, with all respect to you and your machine, is quite a ridiculous bit of branding.

    2. Ridiculous is more than apt, although with my non-existent sewing skills, I think "The Hope Diamond" would be more appropriate. Here it is:

  2. What a wonderful team you work with to made you such a thoughtful present. Beautiful machine may it bring you much happiness. Happy belated birthday.

    1. Hi Uppereast74
      Thanks for the comment. I do have a fantastic team and the machine is a beauty. I think I see a tumbler patchwork quilt in the not too distant future­čśÄ
      Hugs G

  3. You are so fortunate! The team values you and, happy birthday.

  4. She is beautiful and also lays down a gorgeous stitch. Wonderful boss/co-worker too!

    1. Thank you. I'm very fond of this machine. I think I may need to get it out and make something with it very soon.