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Old 12-12-2013
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Sewing machine corner

Hey guys,

I contributed to another post and to keep it from being permanently high jacked I figured I would start a thread for folks to ask questions about sewing machines seeing as it is something that many of us venture into purchasing. One of my many responsibilities has been to purchase, maintain and upgrade sewing machines for a sewing sewing department that makes wheelchair seating. I have been trained on repair of machines and have a decent knowledge of the machines that are out there and I am an fair enough at sewing to get by. If you have a question feel free to leave a message here on this thread and I will answer it soon as I can. I am going to post a short write up of the different options for sewing machines out there and address some of the FAQ's about them as soon as I find the time to write it up. Hope this is a good help to you guys and please don't hesitate to ask.

All the best,

Gary
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Old 12-12-2013
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Re: Sewing machine corner

I bought a sewing machine from SailRite. I found out after buying it that the triple stitch zig-zag is an important part of sail making/repair. I'm wondering if I should replace this machine with one that has the triple stitch zig-zag feature. Do you have any experience whether the normal zig-zag is good enough if you are just making things from canvas (Sunbrella) and just repairing sails?
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Old 12-12-2013
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Re: Sewing machine corner

Do you have any tips for maintaining a sewing machine while cruising? What kind of general maintenance should there be?
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Old 12-12-2013
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Re: Sewing machine corner

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbgreen59 View Post
I bought a sewing machine from SailRite. I found out after buying it that the triple stitch zig-zag is an important part of sail making/repair. I'm wondering if I should replace this machine with one that has the triple stitch zig-zag feature. Do you have any experience whether the normal zig-zag is good enough if you are just making things from canvas (Sunbrella) and just repairing sails?
SailRite mentions that a triple stitch zig-zag is not a requirement for sail work. It allows you to do in one pass what a regular zig-zag requires two passes. Be happy with your regular zig-zag until you start building sails commercially.
BTW, canvas work uses straight stitching.
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Old 12-12-2013
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Re: Sewing machine corner

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbgreen59 View Post
I bought a sewing machine from SailRite. I found out after buying it that the triple stitch zig-zag is an important part of sail making/repair. I'm wondering if I should replace this machine with one that has the triple stitch zig-zag feature. Do you have any experience whether the normal zig-zag is good enough if you are just making things from canvas (Sunbrella) and just repairing sails?
Great Question. Let me start off by saying I am a big fan of the Sailrite machine. It is a very well built machine in a compact form. As far as the triple stitching zig-zag on the sails you are correct, that is the strongest stitch for the sails. Below is an example of the differences between regular zig-zag and a 3stitch zig-zag.

Typically the machines that do this stitch are going to be bigger and not very mobile. Not all sail-makers use this stitch either. The other way to get a strong seam is to run parallel zig-zag stitches to double the strength.
The Sailrite machine can do this, you just have to get good at running those zig-zags parallel to each other. The biggest thing that you can do to help you do that is make sure you are very consistent on your feed of the material. Let the machine do the work and pull the material just guide it and make sure that it feeds the same through the entire run.

As far as stitching on Sunbrella and other canvas type materials for covers the straight stitch is fine. I just suggest running at least two stitches and always using a folded seam. This will give you the strength you need and a good finished look.

For good Triple stitch machines you can try looking at CowBoy sewing machines. They have machines designed for sail making applications with double needle zig zag machines and triple stitch zig zag machines. Prices may be quite high for the hobby sewer though.

Heavy duty zigzag sail making machines

Hope this helps.
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Re: Sewing machine corner

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Originally Posted by gbgreen59 View Post
Do you have any tips for maintaining a sewing machine while cruising? What kind of general maintenance should there be?
Yes, the three things that you can do to make sure the machine stays in good working order while cruising is as follows.

1. Keep it well oiled! A good oil coated machine using a heavy oil is going to help prevent rust in a salt environment. I is usually a good to keep it in a well ventilated area in stowage that will not have a great deal of moisture in it. Keep the belts with a bit of belt dressing on them to keep them from dry rotting.

2. Make sure you have the machine secured so that it is not buffeted about i while stowed and in heavy weather. All that knocking it around will cause it to get out of adjustment and out of time. Secure it upright and solid and that will save you tons of headaches.

3. Use it. Don't let it sit for 6 months pull it out and use it for something. it will keep the internals oiled and will keep it running smoothly.
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Re: Sewing machine corner

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Originally Posted by gbgreen59 View Post
Do you have any tips for maintaining a sewing machine while cruising? What kind of general maintenance should there be?
I think perhaps obvious, that another tip would be having the user manual, and if you can find one the service manual, if not for your specific machine then a generic service manual for that class of machine.
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Old 12-12-2013
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Re: Sewing machine corner

Is there a 'new' machine in the $300 dollar range that is ok for cruising? The intended use would be canvas (bimini, dodger, sail cover, etc.), re-doing the cushions both inside and out, & emergency sail repair (just to get to a sail loft and have it done right).

I'm of the assumption that a zig-zag feature would be just for sail repair, and not really necessary for quick 'get you home' repairs.

thx in advance!
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Re: Sewing machine corner

Hi-thanks for doing this. I have a red sailrite machine and would like to know if I could take it to my moored boat and sew with it running off a small red honda generator, EU200i. If so that would push me over the edge in buying a small gen.
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Old 12-13-2013
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I was seriously thinking about buying a new Sailrite machine a few months back. About the time I was ready a friend was selling a wedding present to them which was a singer 160. It was brand new and retails for about $400 but I paid $175.

Over a couple weeks I made all new hatch covers for my boat and it did a great job. I don't think I would use it for sail making but for normal canvas it works great. I'm in the process of making an insulated companionway cover for my boat and am planning on making a new mainsail cover. I really wish I hadn't paid someone to make a new bimini for me early this year as it would've been easy with this.
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