Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Body parts, seats, dash, headlining, windows and stuff!

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rbgosling
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Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by rbgosling »

Hi - Heather (my wife) is attempting to sew new seat covers for me - but her machine isn’t behaving. She is a very competent sewer (she’s been making scrubs for the NHS this week), but has only sewed clothes before, not upholstery.

At the moment she is trying to sew a nylon fabric with a thin foam backing incorporated to the original backing fabric from the old seat cover. The top thread simply isn’t catching and tying to the bottom thread.

Any advice or suggestions? Settings we should change, and in what direction?

I watched a video on Skill Shack (the site made by Practical Classics magazine), which advised the following, all of which we are doing:
  • heavy duty thread
  • size 100 needle (new)
  • less foot pressure, since the fabric is thick
  • they said to adjust thread tension depending if you got loops on the top or bottom of the fabric, but not what to do if you got no tie at all
"Farmer" Richard

1990 Lotus Excel SE (Lilith)
2004 Jaguar X-Type Estate

Pete Boole
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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Pete Boole »

Does it work OK on thinner material using the same thread/needle/settings? Did you try the dry silicone spray on the material?

Pete

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rbgosling
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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by rbgosling »

We sprayed the needle before starting - the trick is to spray the material then?
"Farmer" Richard

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Pete Boole »

Spray the line where the stitching will be - that way the needle get an easier time and is "re-coated" at each stitch. Ideally you need a walking-foot machine as someone mentioned in a previous post. I bought an industrial machine quite cheaply some years ago when I did some work on thick materials (since sold it or you could have borrowed it).

Pete

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Alan_M »

Hi Richard, as I suggested previously, ideally you need a walking foot for the machine. These are available for most decent domestic sewing machines. This is designed to work with thicker materials. I used one when I did the quilting on my headlining and when experimenting with different thicknesses I was able to easily sew headlining material and 12mm of foam backing. Without the walking foot it was almost impossible to sew just the single headlining thickness.
What make machine do you have?

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rbgosling
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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by rbgosling »

Heather has two machines - a Singer 1507 and an Elna 3005. No walking foot on either. I assume this is some aftermarket accessory that can be acquired? Not something that is built into the machine?
"Farmer" Richard

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Alan_M »

rbgosling wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 18:27
Heather has two machines - a Singer 1507 and an Elna 3005. No walking foot on either. I assume this is some aftermarket accessory that can be acquired? Not something that is built into the machine?
I believe they come with some machines and are optional accessories for others, but I’m no expert, so don’t know if you can get for all machines.

A quick search and this appears to be one that would fit the Elna - https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/walki ... _id=282020

I guess a call to a UK supplier such as these guys would confirm - https://www.uksewing.com/pages/janome-walking-foot

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by rbgosling »

Gonna try getting a more serious industrial machine. Got a local one finishing on eBay in 3 days - fingers crossed!
This look any good? - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/264715402082
"Farmer" Richard

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by MetBlue »

Hands Off. I'd got my eyes on that. :lol: :lol: :lol:
No seriously, I'd be happy to team resources with you. Your need is a lot more critical than mine so I won't enter the bidding if your serious about it. PM me if you choose not to bid on it.
If / when you get a more industrial machine I'd certainly be happy to come to some arrangement with you regards it's use for my car.
BTW, I did notice the seller says it is set up to stitch on a slant. You can see this also in the pictures. I was going to message him and ask for him to reset it to straight. All he says in the posting is that it SHOULD be capable of changing back and instructions are supplied.

Tony
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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Pete Boole »

That's pretty much what I had - it was great.

Pete

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by MetBlue »

Pete Boole wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 22:10
That's pretty much what I had - it was great.
Did you do foam backed materials with it, or just leather?

Tony
What goes together.... Must come apart.

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Pete Boole »

It was leather/foam/fabric sandwich. Worked great - it was my skill level that was lacking :lol:

Pete

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by MetBlue »

It was leather/foam/fabric sandwich
Interesting. I asked seller of the machine on ebay about walking feet, the referred to slant stitch and machines ability to handle foam backed materials. He was extremely helpful with his replies, but was hardly trying to sell this machine based on the questions I'd asked, although he did suggest he was open to a trial.
Reading between the lines of the ebay replies, it seams these machines are great for leather, but foamed back materials would be a lot easier to get quality with by using a walking foot ( He say's machine will handle it, but the skill of the user will be needed to assist the material to feed through at a consistent rate). Inference was that a walking foot essentially helps with speed control ( and therefore presumably stitch length?). Problem is that a walking foot industrial machine seems to be at least 3 times the price. :(
But then maybe for non leather materials, a good household sewing machine with a walking foot is perfectly acceptable - Just don't try leather !!
Thoughts of anyone experienced in this black art appreciated ???

Tony
What goes together.... Must come apart.

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by Pete Boole »

My machine definitely had a walking foot - that's why I bought it so it would work with pretty much anything. I didn't read the fleabay ad - just looked at the picture :roll:.

Pete

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Re: Seat sewing machine advice needed!

Post by rbgosling »

Well, that sewing machine went for £257 in the end - a bit much for my budget, even with Tony (MetBlue) chipping in.

For now I think I will invest the more modest sum of a tenner in an aftermarket walking foot for Heather's Singer, and see if that makes any difference. Maybe, maybe not - I can see how that would help with feeding, but can't see how it helps if the top thread isn't even tying to the bottom thread most of the time. But at that price, worth a shot.
"Farmer" Richard

1990 Lotus Excel SE (Lilith)
2004 Jaguar X-Type Estate

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