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I'm working on a project like yours right now. Sunbrella recomends that you use a size 22 needle with a polyester bonded thread for the stitching. I don't think that you'll fit a size 22 needle in a home machine, and if you do, it won't do a good job or it won't do it long... I'm speaking from experience, you need a size 22 needle and the heavy thread that they recomend. You also need a machine strong enough to push that needle and then pull the stitch tight enough when its done. Most home machines will NOT do this well if at all.
Sailrite sells a machine that does a nice job, one is red and the other is blue. The red is staight stitch only. The blue will do zig-zag or straight. Both have the walking foot feature. This helps. They buy these machines from some Chineese company that makes them and paints their name on them. Look on E-bay for a "Family Sew" commercial sewing machine. Its the same exact thing as the blue "Deluxe" Sailright machine, its just sold direct from the Chineese factory and its painted white. I bought one and it is great. I've seen them on E-bay for anywhere from $300 for a used one to $600 for a new one. It is a little work horse. I wouldn't recomend it if you want to start a canvas business (although it is nice and portable), but it is plenty sturdy for the DIY guy.
Another problem for me was cutting the fabric to the right size. I would cut everything oversize and the grab a pal or two and have them help you lay the fabric over the frame or whatever you are covering. Pull it tight and make your marks. Measure twice and cut once... Go slow and think things through. Its not tough.
Last edited by Captsomer; 03-05-2008 at 01:29 AM.
Reason: type O's