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  1. #1
    Senior Member FishBone's Avatar
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    HELP: Needle size with 2.2 oz coated taffeta

    I'm making a tarp out of 2.2 oz/yd coated taffeta (got it cheap) and I'm having trouble sewing the four layers needed to sew a felled seam. I'm using a 90 guage needle and it skips stiches badly and seems to "bounce" off the fabric.

    What size needle works most effectively for multiple layers of 2.2 coated material? Will I need an even larger needle to attach webbing tie-outs?

    I'm thinking of going to a general -use / 100 guage needle for the felled seams and maybe a 110 to attach the nylon webbing tie-out. I tried a much heavier needle made for sewing bluejean material and this jus bounced around also.

    Any help from experienced DIY'ers will be most appreciated.
    thanks.
    "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

  2. #2
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Make sure the needle is sharp. I mean _sharp_! Try not to get the "universal" point but instead get a "Denim" needle or a heavy duty "Sharp" point and change it often. If the bluejean needle had been used before, replace it with a brand new one and try again. IMO 90 is small for this. But that's only an opinion. I like big needles.

    Make sure your presser foot pressure is set fairly high. You need a fair amount of pressure to compress that stuff.
    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."
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  3. #3
    Senior Member FishBone's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rev.

    I'll give your ideas a try. BTW: the jeans needle that I used was brand new/ 100 guage. Wierd

    I may try to find a 100 or a 110 in a sharp; the store I went to only had 90's.
    "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

  4. #4
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    90 is a 14, which is a pretty heavy needle for nylon, even mult layers. I use a 12 or 14 to stitch webbing with no problem.

    I use a 16 for light sail repair, mult layers of 6oz+ Dacron. 18 and 20 for upholstery and heavy canvas.

    Is it possible the coating is very sticky like PVC and that is causing the problem. Try a little silicone or Teflon on the needle. Also make sure your technique is correct. Also a sticky coating leads to feed problems which causes needle problems. Play with your pressed foot tension as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member FishBone's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ideas, Nacra.

    I'll have to see if the coating is sticking on the presser foot and then releasing, causing the skipping. Might use tissue for increased slippage, better feed, or decrease the pressure on the foot. Further experimentation will ensue
    "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

  6. #6
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    What I am not understanding is the "bouncing". That's a new description for me. If you can get a little more descriptive with it it might help me figure what is going on. Brand new needles, especially denim needles should not "bounce"!
    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

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    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  7. #7
    Senior Member FishBone's Avatar
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    Rev -
    when the heavy denim needles struck the fabric, the machine was obviously laboring with a "clunk" when attempting to pierce the multi-layers. It appeared that the skipped stiches were due to the needle not penetrating the fabric and picking up the thread from the bobbin. it seemed to be a timing issue due to the delay in penetration. "bouncing" was the best way I have to describe the problem.
    "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

  8. #8
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Ahhh... ok... your coating is causing hob with the needle. Is it older fabric? Does it have a stink to it? Rottten eggs stench? If it stinks.. even a little bit, don't bother with it any more. The coating will fail and you will have invested a lot of time and effort into junk.
    If the coating is at all sticky you will gum up the needle and the thread will stick to the needle instead of forming the nice loop underneath it is supposed to. That will cause stitcfhes to skip. Make sure you have the needles in properly. There is usually a small small groove ion one side of the needle where the thread exits the needle. It is not always very noticable, but in the case of coated fabric and thick thread it can be an issue. The groove is supposwed to help keep the thread from sticking to the needle. Use a regular weight thread. You don't need heavy duty thick industrial thread. That only makes things worse.

    It sounds to me like the coating on the fabric is creating problems. You might want to rethink the project especially if the fabric is old/stinky/sticky.
    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

  9. #9
    Senior Member FishBone's Avatar
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    Rev -
    I'm familiar with the effects of old, delaminating, stinky coatings; not an issue here; new tarp from Campmor. Also familiar with the proper orientation of the needle groove; aligned properly.

    I tried an 80 and a 100 guage needle last night. same problems with the 100 on the 2.2 coated fabric - lack of penetration. Just to cover all bases, I tried the 80 needle on cotton and 1.1 ripstop fabric; ok on the cotton, skipped stiches on the 1.1. the machine is going in for service and I have the name of a seamstress with an industrial machine. I think I'll farm out the project and go for a hike!!!

    And, yes, I could have bought a tarp for less than I'm investing in this project; but it's the journey, right?
    "A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

  10. #10
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    Skipped stitches could indicate timing, but it could be many things.

    sticky coating not feeding properly
    presser foot tension not properly stet.
    Both allow fabric to move and deflect needle, which can result in skipped stitches and broken needles.

    Too big of a needle and too small of thread will not allow the loop to form that the bobbin hook needs to catch. If your using Guttermans or Mettlers,you are proably somewhere around a 40-46 wt thread. #12/80, #14/90 needles should work ok with this. If you're using a fine thread embroidery or 30 wt, your needle may be too large.

    Before carrying it in for service.
    -Completely re-thread
    change needle to match the thread size
    -change bobbin if you have a spare
    -back you presser foot tension all the way off and then put some back on
    -Adjust machine thread tension to something in the middle
    -Test sew in something simple like cotton or even a folded over paper towell. Nothing stretchy like a t shirt and nothing slippery like nylon or sticky like coated nylon.

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