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    sewing 1.1 sil vs ripstop

    Hello all, I have been working quite a bit with 1.9 riptop and have had great luck. I ordered some 1.1 sil to make a tarp and I cannot for the life of me get a good stitch. Does anyone have any tips or tricks? When I run it thru the machine the top and bottom don't stay even. I've tried pinning it with no luck. It just gets bunched up and the stitches just turn into a rats nest. Although I can't use 1.1 rip stop for a tarp I have some other projects in mind. Is it as hard to sew as the sil ? Thanks in advance!

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    dangerous's Avatar
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    check the machine tension and make sure you didn't miss a point on thread routing (especially the one on the needle arm before you thread the needle). Other than that just try your best to use both hands to guide the fabric through the machine.
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    EDIT: I think I mis-understood the 'top and bottom' idea! Sorry!
    If the fabric is not feeding evenly (top and bottom layer), make sure your presser foot is clean and polished. Some folks even put a bit of wax or polish on the presser foot. A roller presser foot can help, also.
    A dull needle (or a needle with a burr) can drive the lower fabric down through the needle hole in the plate and cause all kinds of problems. Make sure you are using a 'Sharp' needle like a Microtek, not a 'Ball Point' or 'Universal' needle.
    *************************
    Original reply - probably off-topic.... ;-)
    ***************************
    What size needle are you using (and what thread)?

    I'd been working with some 1.9 coated ripstop and when I started a new project with 30D silnylon (same thread)I found I wasn't getting enough tension (threads on the bottom were too loose- the upper thread wasn't pulling the stitches tight). After experimenting with changing the tension(s) to no avail, I switched to a larger needle (Schmetz Microtek 90/14) and the problem disappeared. I think the smaller needle wasn't punching a big enough hole, and the fabric was gripping the thread and not allowing the upper thread take-up (arm) to pull the stitch tight.

    With very thin fabric, you won't get the 'knot' buried in the fabric, so the stitches on one side or the other will look a bit unusual (also the line of stitches will not look 'straight', but like a bunch of diagonals) - so don't worry about that. You do want the stitches to be tight without puckering the fabric, though, IMO.

    When this happens to me, I grab my cotton scrap for checking stitches and make sure the machine is still working properly on that (easy) fabric. It can help to eliminate some possibilities.
    If you post some pics of your problem stitching, it will help to get better advice.
    Last edited by VictoriaGuy; 09-13-2013 at 20:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eviscerate3 View Post
    Although I can't use 1.1 rip stop for a tarp I have some other projects in mind. Is it as hard to sew as the sil ?
    I may have bad news for you.

    I find the coated fabrics easier to sew than uncoated, in the lighter weights, as they have more 'body'. Very light uncoated nylon is a challenge for me..

    You should be able to get your sil tarp stitched up with a bit of work with your machine.
    Just stop your sil project and work on scraps till things are 'right'..

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    What sewing machine are you using?
    Does it have adjustable pressure on the presser foot bar?

    Also, are your feed dogs clean?

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    Silnyl is a bear at the best of times. I pin very close together. Every 3-4". Place the pins perpendicular to the seam line but do NOT run over them with the presser foot. Hitting a pin with the needle is not good for the needle and if it breaks you can end up with needle fragments in your eyes. OSHA requires needle guards and work glasses in part for this reason. A pin perpendicular keeps the fabric from moving quite as much.

    Coated fabrics can be easier to handle but sil is not truely a "coated fabric". In many cases it is "impregnated" although this is beginning to change as technology changes.

    It is important to grasp the fabric securely on both sides of the presser foot but _do not_ pull the fabric through. Work in short intervals and let the machine do the work. Once you get the hang of it it is easier to work with but there is a significant learning curve to it.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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    Needs more Hang time Catavarie's Avatar
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    After dealing with silnylon, every other fabric seems easy in my opinion. I made an 11ft ridgeline tarp and pinned the tops bottom together every hand width along the entire thing. Even then with my cheap machine I had to hand feed the fabric as the dogs couldn't grasp it. Was a slow and trying process, but I eventually finished.
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    Member Brad's Avatar
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    sewing 1.1 sil vs ripstop

    And when it comes to the rolled hem, I found that paper clips worked really well to hold the material on the floor while I use my fingers for the material near the presser foot.

    I found the paper clips a little easier than pins on the slick material. So try different techniques to see what works for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catavarie View Post
    Even then with my cheap machine I had to hand feed the fabric as the dogs couldn't grasp it.
    What machine are you using?

    Do you mean that the dogs couldn't lift the work off the floor (normal) or the dogs wouldn't feed fabric that was 'presented' to them by holding the fabric in front of the machine?

    I've never had a problem with the dogs not grabbing the fabric and feeding it to the needle, though I often have to hold/gently stretch the fabric to prevent puckering when the fabric is light (unless using the top feed dog in the Pfaff)

    A machine needs a lot of miles on it in order to have the teeth on the dogs get worn. I know some of you guys like antique machines, so perhaps that's an issue...

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    Quote Originally Posted by VictoriaGuy View Post
    I may have bad news for you.

    I find the coated fabrics easier to sew than uncoated, in the lighter weights, as they have more 'body'. Very light uncoated nylon is a challenge for me..

    You should be able to get your sil tarp stitched up with a bit of work with your machine.
    Just stop your sil project and work on scraps till things are 'right'..
    I find the uncoated not too bad to work with, however I have been making clothing for many years, so I have sewn on a lot of very delicate fabric.

    Silnylon, for the tarp I am making is driving me crazy. I have used three different thread injectors. A few days ago, I did a lot of injecting. My hands were slippery. Hmm, I grabbed some Alcohol and some gauze surgical squares, I cleaned my needle, I pulled out the thread I had used last injecting session, the races, everything that touched the Silnylon. Guess what my sewing machine sewed like a champ. I think there was some residue left from the last injecting session, that gummed up the machine. Every other time, I have to go through, clean everything, put a new needle in, re thread the bobbin, adjust the pressure foot, maybe even the tension. This time when I finished I cleaned all the external parts with alcohol (not the drinking kind). Everything worked great when I tried it a week later.

    So get some gauze surgical squares, they are a little abrasive, not enough to hurt your injector, just enough to get any residue off the surfaces you clean. I like the squares to clean wounds and other things around the house such as a phone I let someone else use. I pull about 18 inces of thread out of the bobbin, and tread from the spool that is threaded into the machine also goes.
    Now, sewing that silnylon is almost finished.

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