Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Hammock
    DIY dbl 1.1
    Tarp
    DIY hex
    Insulation
    DIY 3 season tq+uq
    Suspension
    webbing, again
    Posts
    585
    Images
    26

    Sewing Comments and Tips

    First of all, WOW. Lot's of new folks since I've spent anytime here. In reading through some recent posts, lots of sewing questions. I thought I would add to or consolidate the great info in the posts based on my experience.

    Pin vs fold and sew.
    -Fold and sew. Pinning takes too long. You'll be glad you developed this skill. The tricky part for new folks is keeping the fabric even. Just pay attention and fold it over and sew it instead of stretching it where the ends come out uneven.
    -Don't watch the needle, watch the material at the front of the machine (or at a minimum, at the front of the needle plate). Once it's lined up there, it will line up at the needle with a little minor steering.
    -Learn to sew fast. Most find it easier to sew a straight line while sewing faster rather than slower.
    -Don't worry about not having perfect seams. Only you will notice and people that photograph their recent "creation" for posting, usually don't photograph the bad spots.

    Binders, hemmer attachments, hemmer feet.
    I use them all and love them.
    -Binders work like a champ almost always. Worth the money for a cheap one if you make tarps. Next time I bind a tarp, I'll post a video. You'll buy one instead of trying hem silnylon or bind freehand.
    -Clean finish hemmer attachments (double fold, roll hem or whatever) take practice but work pretty well on nylon. I typically do a 10' seam with a hemmer in 45 sec to 1 minute. I usually have one or two screw ups per hammock that I might fix, but still pretty fast and I don't have to worry about the ends coming out even.
    Here is a quick video I just shot with my left hand and trying to steer the fabric with my right while watching the screen on the camera. This is in nylon taffeta. It works about the same in 1.7 ripstop and worse in 1.1 sil. Don't judge the hemmer solely by this because I could not control how much fabric was going into the hemmer. But even 1 handed and not looking, it did pretty good until the very end when I let too much fabric into it. The machine is my "newish" Bernina 217N-8. Sweet.

    Hemmer Attachment

    -Hemmer feet. These work better than the hemmer attachements for small hems (1/8"). Not quite as finicky, especially in zigzag and letting the hem roll up into a rolled/round hem. Usually once it's started, I "floor it" with the pedal and run about 4500 stitches per minute. Comments on hem size below.

    Hem size
    Most use about 1/2" because it's easy to fold. I don't believe there is any real magic. I don't see why a 1/16" or 1/8" hem would not be just as strong, just WAY harder to fold. I say that to say if you have a small hemmer foot, try it out.

    Sewing machine problems.
    -When you have a problem, change the needle and rethread. While your rethreading, take a minute to check the tension disks and bobbin case (if you can see them) for lint.
    -I believe 90% of sewing problems are needle or tension related. Many tension problems are incorrectly threading the machine or lint that holds tension disks open.
    -The normal tension check is the location of the knot in each stitch (should be centered in the fabric, knot not visible from top or bottom). Knot on top, reduce top tension. Knot on bottom, increase top tension.
    -Adjust ONE thing at a time.
    -Occassional loops up top mixed in with good stitches indicates too little bobbin tension.
    -Lots of loops on the bottom leads to thread breakage. This usually means your tension disks up top are not working at all. Machine is threaded incorrectly, lint in top disks, or you forgot to put the foot down.
    -Thread breakage as speed increases usually indicates a needle problem. Possibly several others. Change needles first, then try changing to a bigger size if it keeps happening. Check for too much top tension next.
    -Needle Breakage - lots of reasons for this, but usually its too small of a needle. Another common cause is the fabric is moving while the needle is engaged in the fabric. Either you need to stop pulling the fabric (common) or increase presser foot pressure.
    -I wouldn't start suspecting timing unless the machine has never worked correctly or you've done something to change the timing. Sewing too heavy a material (denim seams or larger) or needle strikes can knock the timing out, but it's uncommon.
    -Another problem with poor stitch quality is presser foot tension. You only need enough to move the fabric, but slippery fabrics like sil are very tricky. Too little and it slips ->uneven stitch lengths. Too much and the bottom feeds more than the top->ends don't match and you get odd humps of fabric.
    If you have a tension problem, start with the top tension in the middle and sew something easier to sew than ripstop or sil. Think old shorts or dress shirts. Nothing stretchy like a t shirt.

    Sewing Machines
    -Buy older vs newer.
    -The more metal the better. All metal gears are the best. Avoid electronic, if your buying one new for just gear.
    -If you think you'll do this for a while and have a little $$, buy an true industrial sewing machine off craigslist or yard sales, mounted in a table with the motor underneath. Plenty of great machines for $200-$300.
    -Another industrial type machine may have the term "Artisan", "Professional", or "Commerical". Not true industrial, but VERY good. Just do your research. Singer 20U, Bernina 217, Pfaff 138 are all good Artisan grade zigzag machines.
    -"Industrial strength" is a sales term used on ebay. Ignore it, but it might indicate a metal gear machine. Most true industrial machines are usually very, very fast and do one thing only. They are made to run 24/7 at high speed. Industrial does not neccessarily mean strong. Strong machines are sometimes called upholstery machines.
    -Learn how to fix them, especially the older ones. Remember, we're men (most of us), doing manly things, like making gear so that we can go make fire. If you're not afraid to pop the hood on your truck, don't be afraid to take apart a sewing machine and at least look inside, clean it and oil it. There are a lot of free or inexpensive tuning manuals available online.


    Sorry for the long post. Hope it helps.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kthompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    N/A
    Hammock
    Hennessey
    Insulation
    UQ
    Posts
    141
    Wow! Another awesome post full of excellent advice. First with the nacrabiners and now a succinct sewing tutorial. Keep up the good work.

  3. #3
    gargoyle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Middleville, Mi
    Hammock
    G-Bird II
    Tarp
    Ogee tarp
    Insulation
    AHE TQ DIY Down UQ
    Suspension
    whoop dutch!
    Posts
    6,091
    Images
    46
    Thank you Nacra.
    Always a joy to hear your advice.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  4. #4
    Running Feather's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Hendersonville, NC
    Hammock
    DIY of the Day
    Tarp
    DIY of the Day
    Insulation
    DIY PLoft/IX-UQ/TQ
    Suspension
    WS or Spyder Line
    Posts
    2,211
    Images
    1
    Nice post. Thanks
    "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is STOP DIGGING "

  5. #5
    HappyCamper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    WV
    Hammock
    Warbonnet BB, 1.1 single
    Tarp
    JRB11x10 Z-P cuben
    Insulation
    Yeti JRB WestMtg
    Suspension
    webbing, Dutchclip
    Posts
    3,523
    Images
    47
    No need to be sorry! Great tips. Appreciate it, even if I'm not a guy!
    I intend to live forever, or die trying. -- Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Taos, Missouri
    Hammock
    DIY CamoHammo
    Tarp
    DIY Catcut
    Insulation
    Body fat!
    Suspension
    Whoopies
    Posts
    333
    Thanks for that hemming attachment video. I like the looks of that. Do you need one specific to your machine or are they all the same?

  7. #7
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hartwell, GA
    Hammock
    DIY dbl 1.1
    Tarp
    DIY hex
    Insulation
    DIY 3 season tq+uq
    Suspension
    webbing, again
    Posts
    585
    Images
    26

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim Mac View Post
    Thanks for that hemming attachment video. I like the looks of that. Do you need one specific to your machine or are they all the same?
    "Real" ones are specific to the material and the process. Usually custom made and expensive ($200 and up). The cheap ones on eBay are generic and fit most machines that have the screw holes to the right of the needle. On my Bernina and my Singer 20U, I have some attachments that only 1 screw fits and the other does not but it still works with one screw. The hemmed works best with a narrow foot and narrow feed dogs but still works with a zig zag foot and 9mm feed dogs.

    I purchased several attacments off eBay from "amindustrialsupply" and been satisfied with it for the price. They also appear to be a real company and I have called them for tips. Good service. Their non eBay website is amapparelsupply.com.

  8. #8
    Senior Member GvilleDave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Greenville SC
    Hammock
    DIY Camo Cocoon
    Tarp
    Tricked out SWT
    Insulation
    DIY 4 layer IX
    Suspension
    straps & buckles
    Posts
    528
    Images
    185
    Nacra - Thanks for the fantastic information! I am still a novice gear maker and had no idea that there were such things as hemming attachements, etc... I agree with you though - for the most part I stopped pinning my work in advance. I only pin now where the seam gets tricky or changes direction etc...

    Again - great post.

  9. #9
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Milton, PA
    Hammock
    Hennessey Explorer Ultralight
    Tarp
    Hennessey Hex
    Insulation
    HH Super Shelter
    Suspension
    ring buckle
    Posts
    7,299
    Images
    101
    Hemming feet are a strange beastie. I have _never_ gotten one to work for me. This is only to say if you want to try them go ahead. But if they don't work for you, you are not alone. Don't spend too much time agonizing over it. My professional seamstress wife doesn't like them either.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  10. #10
    Senior Member pedro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, DE
    Hammock
    DIY Speer-type
    Tarp
    modded SG 12' x12'
    Insulation
    CCF and DAM
    Suspension
    whoopie slings
    Posts
    828
    Images
    2
    Good post, Nacra! I couldn't agree more.

    Big Jim Mac- I don't know from brands other than Singer, but on The Singers you basically have straight shank, slant shank, and short shank. Presser feet are specific to those three different types. So if you have a Singer, you can easily find out what type of shank it has and then buy the correct attachment the first time.
    "Interesting! No, wait, the other thing.....tedious!"- Bender Bending Rodriques

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •