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  1. #1

    stitches needle etc...

    Ok, guys I hope this time, I have time to get this project done. But I may have to deploy for this hurricane. This is my curse with sewing every time I get ready to start. I get called for work then I am gone for weeks and months. I have to start over learning wise every time. I need some quick advice. I have two projects a tarp for myself and a tent for my neighbor. Both will be made out of membrane silpoly. Suggestions on thread I already have mara 70 and size 14 needles. But what do you guys use needle wise been seeing guys use number 10 on utube.

    What stitch length do you suggest? Currently I have my singer 4423 set at 3 and seem to be getting around 8 stitches per inch should I go to 10 stitches per inch? Tarp? Tent? I am also having difficulty in getting things smooth. I am still getting just a very slight pucker along the seam line when stitching but it smooths out when I tension the material. Is this normal or should I have a smooth fabric with smooth seams. I have been adjusting everything with no joy? I did adjust my presser foot/feed dog tension. I loosen it by complete four turns of the knob and that really helped feeding the fabric. On the factory setting it was eating my fabric no matter what I did. I also have tried the tissue paper idea but honestly at my point that does nothing either way. I am sorta on the fence about the tissue paper.

    The bobbin tension what a goat F that was. seems my bobbin screw came out and the tension thing fell off. I got that fixed and being new when I put it back I tighten all the screws including the bobbin tension screw. UMMM so that took forever and alot of utube videos to figure out what was going on. For now I have it set the way rayray suggests with the bobbin just barley falling when held up. Should I go a little lighter would that smooth things up? It isnt bad but the tension wheel does nothing good in either direction.

    The metal foot seems ok or should I order a telfon foot?

    This 4423 seems to be like a Ninja liter bike it only wants to race. I love the machine but it just doesnt seem to want to sew at my skill level. Sorta wish I went with the janome mod 15 or 19. This may sound stupid but I find if I go bare foot it helps with the speed control some.

    Any input on using this machine and this fabric would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member
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    I often sew barefoot or at very least with no slipper or shoe and just thin socks. Helps with the control so you aren't alone there.

    Regarding the slight pucker that's pretty normal on these ultra light fabrics. The thread can be thicker than the fabric so the normally buried loop of top and bottom thread lies closer to the surface. Results in the stitches looking ever so slightly off. Instead of a perfect line they can come out with a slight angle look. Then when you apply a bit of tension they all line back up and the slight fabric pucker goes away. Messing with the tension can help to an extent but I don't generally bother too much. Practice helps, it can some times be a feeding issue but unless it's really bad it's mostly a cosmetic issue.

    Mara 70 and 14 needles are the usual rule of thumb. That works across the widest number of machines. Personally I go down a needle size but that's me. Stitch setting of 3 is the usual. I believe most people here sew at 2.5 - 3.0 setting. It all works.

    Ultralight fabrics often get eaten just a bit at the start and end points like you've noticed. Not too much you can do. You could see if there's a lightweight needle plate you can get. Comes with a smaller needle hole so there's less space for fabric to get pushed down. A teflon or roller foot might help. I have both but don't change out the foot and just sew on the general purpose metal foot.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Mara 70 is fine for sewing but I found that the thinner Sewall thread works just as well and makes smaller holes.

    When you are trying to match a needle with a thread, check the manufacturer's site because they will give you their best recommendations. For example, the Mara 70 recommendation is 14-16 (https://industry.guetermann.com/en/p...finder/mara-70) so you're fine.

    I use 2.5 to 3 mm stitch length. Most sewing machines have a dial that goes from 0 to 5 or so. This is the stitch length in mm. The average for sewing is 2.5 which is a good place to start. Small stitches are not always better because they can weaken the material and are a pain to rip out if you make a mistake.

    Nylon and polyester materials will often pucker a bit but it's nothing to worry about as long as the fabric isn't overly stressed. This is especially true with the ultralight fabrics.

    It's more important that your top and bottom threads tension is balanced. If one is tighter than the other you will have awkward stitches and in extreme cases you will see the loop on the other side of the fabric. It's worth the time and effort to get this right. I change my bobbin tension every time I switch to a different type of thread. The amount I need to move the screw is miniscule but I want to get it right. The bobbin thread tension should be sufficient that when you hold the loose thread the bobbin is hanging it is supported but if you give it a little flick the bobbin should take a bit of a drop and then stop.

    Using or buying a walking foot can make it much easier to sew fabrics, especially the lightweight ones.

    The materials are generally slippery enough that a teflon foot is just redundant.

    I sew barefoot because it give me more control so that's not an unusual thing to do.

    Hope this helps and please continue to ask questions and advice because there are a bunch of us on the forum that love to sew and want to see new people experience the same joy we feel. We were all beginners at one point. Good luck and let us see what you are making. You can also post pictures if you have a specific problem you are trying to solve.

  4. #4
    Crazytown3's Avatar
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    Speaking for myself, I went through all those same issues when I first started sewing UL materials. I thought I was going to go mad, and my dear, long suffering wife quietly closed the family room door (pseudo sewing room) a few times to keep my 'colorful mumbling' contained.

    I think your setup is just fine the way it is. As you get into it more and get some experience with these fabrics, you may find you want to tweak a few things like tension, but some of this stuff also just depends on your machine and your technique. You will get a feel for it and then you can go from there.

    I sew in my socks. Barefoot makes my feet too cold.

  5. #5
    Senior Member P-Dub's Avatar
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    Long stitches are better. I sew with the longest my machine will go. (As someone said, smaller stitches will weaken the thin fabric by punching far more holes in it.)

    Barefoot (or sock foot) is the best way to sew -- I have the 4423 also, and read another trick somewhere that also helps -- turn the foot pedal around. Yup, backward, with the high side toward you. Try sewing with it that way -- I found it helps!

    If you haven't yet, watch jellyfish's videos on sewing with these technical fabrics. Not only does she provide calm, careful advice and clear demonstrations, she also discusses potential problems and how to handle them. See her vids [here]

    I believe she's also got some basic sewing info vids there, including the nifty trick of how to size your needle by threading it and then seeing if the needle will slide down the thread by its own weight...

  6. #6
    jellyfish's Avatar
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    Use one of those white (nylon) feet instead of a steel foot. That will make it smoother. A walking foot may be hard to sew with if you canít control your speed. I should make a video about the white foot.

    A 14 needle seems big to me. Check your needle size this way:

    https://youtu.be/XwynEzDwDoM

    I use the smallest needle that I can for the thread.

    Sew barefoot. Or in socks. Your machine may never allow you to go slow enough, though.

    https://youtu.be/BM_LukSV35s

    Good luck!
    I sew things on youtube.
    My interview on HYOH Podcast.
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    Find me on Instagram.

  7. #7
    XJ35S's Avatar
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    The only thing I can add not yet said is tape. I put a piece of wide scotch transparent tape on the bottom of my foot and trimmed the notch for the needle away. It super slick and saves the cost of a white foot.

  8. #8
    I ordered a white foot, rolled hem feet 4mm and 6mm, walking foot, and a hem width foot I think that is what it is called. It looked cool so I ordered it.LOL Today I did some tinkering. I adjusted the bobbin thread just a little and that made things even better. I also made the stitches longer to 6 per inch and with all these changes, I think I maybe close to perfect I can get. The tissue paper thing does nothing either way for me. SOme how I really lucked outon setting the presser foot tension.feed dog. Making the stitches bigger really helped the most I think. But I still think Ill go with 8 to 10 for the ridge line.

    I think I will do at least a 12 needle. I do think the 14 maybe a little big.

    Jelly fish love to see some videos with other seams that we use the most. Your videos on the rolled hem were nice. Between your videos and a couple other utubers I was really able to figure this out fairly quickly. BUt this machine is fast and it does it best sewing at warp speed. I may have to get another machine.

    I really liked the janome mod 19 but a few months ago these were around $180 I noticed yesterday they are down down to $130. Sews much slower and the one I tested wow it was smooth. But I got the singer at a smoking deal on amazon.

  9. #9
    jellyfish's Avatar
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    I like to sew slow. I see real advantages to it.

    A while ago some folks here on the forum were talking about the possibility of outfitting their machine with a motor speed control. I am not sure if anyone got it to work, but I like the idea.

    Good luck. Keep us posted.
    I sew things on youtube.
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  10. #10
    Ok thanks to all. I have done several prototypes for the tent. Havent started on the hammock yet since it is mine. I figured why not learn on the tent.LOL The roll hem is still giving me fits. Need more practice on that. But the first two prototypes turned out ok spec wise just need to change the measurements a little. On the second one I use the cheap tarps from harbor freight. Way easier to work with. Turned out so well I think I may make one to keep.

    Another thing I got in Terra 80 thread, 70/10 needles, telefon foot and used those on my test silpoly fabric today. WOW!!! what a difference almost perfect the puckers while they were not too bad to begin with just about disappeared. I really like this thread!!!!

    Ok what sealant would you use on those cheap blue tarps from harbor freight? Any idea how they hold up to use? I suspect not long I use them to cover kayaks and have to change them every year but that is with them in full sun yr round.

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