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Old 01-15-2012, 07:04 PM   #15
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Oops, sorry for multiple answers, I only just saw this as well.

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One setup I want is a rotary cutter and a self healing cutting mat with a grid layout. I see a wide range of prices for the mats. I want at least a 3' x 5'. A 4' x 8' would be okay too. I'll add a melamine top to the pool table and cut on that. Any wisdom on that?
Cutting mats (especially self-healing) can be very expensive. Order the largest you can afford. Joanns usually has 50% off coupons available, which is when I buy things like that. Get thee onto their mailing list and if you have a smart phone, get their coupon app (two different sets of coupons).

To not ruin your back if you plan to do a lot of cutting, your cutting surface should be about waist high on you. (No lower than hip height.)

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On upholstery material, is there a guide to use to select material to cover a sofa or a bench seat cushion? What makes material suitable for upholstery? Is it weight . . . or is there something else?
Upholstery fabric is rated for rub rate (Wyzenbeek test) and other wear issues, as well as flammability and stain resistance. Any fabric can be used for upholstery, but non-upholstery fabrics will simply wear out a lot faster. Basically, you want to look for material that's going to last a while and that won't quickly burn you out of house and home if someone drops a cigarette or match on it.

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How to set up accounts with wholesale fabric houses and get samples? Got names of USA stocking wholesalers?
The land of wholesale fabric is really really weird. I suggest instead you go for discounters (who handle things like end runs, etc.), like NewToto, or direct from manufacturers' outlets such as Ultra Leather. The single most difficult thing to do is to get materials that have continuity over a given amount of time. To do that, I'd go with manufacturers' direct outlets (make sure you ASK about continuity if you want to carry a line for over a year), or a sales rep who carries the lines you want (making sure to ASK about continuity). Most have swatch sets you can order of their regular lines.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:18 PM   #16
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Oh, and plus, if you're using piping, cut the seam allowances of your fabric to be the same width as the seam allowance on your piping, whatever that might be. It makes the sewing a LOT faster, because you can just sew the darn thing without paying any attention whatsoever to your seam allowance.

I don't follow this . . . mostly because I don't know what "seam allowance" means:-) Do you know of a video or something that will show me what this is?

Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:28 PM   #17
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Here's the definition of a seam allowance (with handy diagram), and here's how you line up the fabric and piping for sewing! I personally don't use the wonder tape, but then I've been sewing since I was 6, urm, a very long time ago now.

eta: Oh, and here's a tutorial on a pillow...well, there's a ton of them out there, you can probably google them all for yourself.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:39 PM   #18
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For the first time EVER

I think this is the first time I actually knew something on the Forums!! All these years of sewing have paid off! I don't know nuts about a lot of things but sewing is second nature. You have hit the jack pot here Splitrock! There are lots of people here who can help you. I might not be the best one to seek answers from but I feel so happy that I know some things! Yippee!! Bring the questions on!
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:48 PM   #19
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I buy cutting mats from Atlanta Thread & Supply Company - Threads, Sewing Supplies, and more. My 4' x 8' was about $100. I'm on my second one. The first one lasted about 6 years. They have lots of other professional sewing supplies as well.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:19 PM   #20
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I think I see. If I allow the same space, I can just line up the outside edges and sew and my box or whatever, will be the right size.

Like this . . .



Do I understand it?

Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:25 PM   #21
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This link showed it too. Is this what you explained by seam allowance being the same?



This is from your link.

Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:29 PM   #22
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Yep, that's exactly what I meant!
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:36 AM   #23
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I just realized I forgot to say, if you do get lighter feed dogs, you'll probably also need a new plate if they're a different config than the heavier feed dogs. Ask the machine shop if you'll need a different plate. (Ask me how I know after three different trips to my local machine shop when I got my last industrial.)
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:54 AM   #24
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I just realized I forgot to say, if you do get lighter feed dogs, you'll probably also need a new plate if they're a different config than the heavier feed dogs. Ask the machine shop if you'll need a different plate. (Ask me how I know after three different trips to my local machine shop when I got my last industrial.)
Thanks for the heads up on the feed dogs. I still have to find the local guy who deals in these industrial machines.

If I go to a much lighter thread, won't it mess with the thread tension aspect? I have #69 thread on the machine now and it sews perfect. I imagine a really heavy thread will also change the thread tension as well. I do intend to sew heavier leather and canvas, if for no other reason, to learn how to do it.

I bet I go the two machine route, rather than change the Consew too much.

I ordered the 4x8 cutting mat from your link, and I'm saving all your posts on the topic. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Gary
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:37 PM   #25
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Thanks for the heads up on the feed dogs. I still have to find the local guy who deals in these industrial machines.
If you can't find one near you (surely there must be one somewhere closer to you), Ralph's in Denver is good and can send you parts, and can also advise you on what you'll need for any industrial machine. What machine shop did the repair on it? Usually shops all sell parts as well as do repairs. You might also try calling any costume shops with regional theaters or clothing manufacturers in your area and ask who deals with their machines.

Quote:
If I go to a much lighter thread, won't it mess with the thread tension aspect? I have #69 thread on the machine now and it sews perfect. I imagine a really heavy thread will also change the thread tension as well. I do intend to sew heavier leather and canvas, if for no other reason, to learn how to do it.
While tension is kind of weird at first, I would urge you to learn to embrace it. Whenever you start sewing a new project, you should do a test seam on your fabric and check the tension, adjusting for the new fabric. Whenever you change fabric, this should happen. This article is regarding home sewing machines, but the concept is pretty much the same.

I don't know this machine, but looking at the specs, it should be pretty easy to change out the feet, needle plate, and feed dogs for different kinds of fabric.

If you have no nearby industrial shop who can send someone out or bring you in to help you with learning to operate the machine, I would say go back to the lady who sold it to you and pay her to show you how to adjust the tension on the machine for different fabrics, it's really not hard. If your seam is unbalanced (thread pulling to the top or the bottom rather than right in the center of the two fabric layers), you need to be able to adjust it. (Ask specifically about the thread release finger for heavy thread, too.)

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I bet I go the two machine route, rather than change the Consew too much.
Most shops of any size usually have a home machine of one sort or another for detail work, although it's not necessarily needed. I would suggest you don't go too cheap with this if you buy a new machine, as it will save you aggravation down the road. That said, I sewed with a school model Necchi for years and never had much problem with it, including wedding gowns and tailoring women's wool suits, but it gave up at Irish step dancing solo costumes. For this, I bought a Husqvarna Designer 1, which will actually sew on balsa wood and metal screening for screen doors.

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I ordered the 4x8 cutting mat from your link, and I'm saving all your posts on the topic. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
I think that was McAir's link. (Many of the costume shops order from Atlanta T&S too.)

And you're welcome. blah blah returning the favor blah blah passing it on blah blah.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:48 PM   #26
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The mat comes rolled up and it does take a bit of fighting with it before it lays flat.
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:51 PM   #27
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The mat comes rolled up and it does take a bit of fighting with it before it lays flat.

Oh yeah, it was your link:-) Sorry about missing the link credit:-) The price was good and the mat is marked out in one inch grids. That'll be nice.

I spent the day trying to find the top of the pool table that will hold the board that will hold the mat. If I do much furniture, I may get moved to the garage with the whole setup. I'm avoiding that because it's expensive to heat and air condition the shop, plus, there's sawdust and lacquer overspray dust out there.

If the mat's like drafting table mats, we just use double sticky tape to hold them in place.

Thanks for your help. That was a cool link and good prices!
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:57 PM   #28
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Quote:
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The mat comes rolled up and it does take a bit of fighting with it before it lays flat.
Try a hair dryer, that's what we use in the shops.
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