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Old 01-15-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
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Sewing: tips, tools, materials

I've been thinking of doing some of my own sewing and I've been researching machines. This week I had a chance to buy a nice clean Consew 206RB from a one lady upholstery shop. She slipped the clutch and didn't know how to reset it. She had it serviced and the timing reset, and while the shop had it, she fell in love with the loaner machine with a smaller drive pulley on the motor.

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This is a clutch motor and it works good but this is a FAST machine. I want more low end speed control so I ordered a new servo 3/4 hp motor for the machine. I ordered a dual 1/4" piping foot, a right and a left zipper foot, and a 3/8" welt foot. I got some #69 nylon thread white, black, and neutral.

I've never done any project sewing at all. This is all new to me. Any and all tips and questions welcome on big and small machines, sewing tips, thread and material selection.

One of my first projects will be to remake the Airstream wall panels.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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I bought my wife a Brother sewing machine which has all kinds of computer programs. She has made pleted curtains, pillows, two bolsters, outside awnings, for the AS. She just loves the machine.

Brian
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:10 PM   #3
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With that machine you can reupholster a fleet of Airstreams! 95 percent of what you will be doing is sewing straight lines. Just take it slow until you get the hang of things. I just suggest that you start with projects that don't involve plaids or stripes. Don't make it harder than it needs to be or you'll get discouraged. Good luck and welcome to the world of affordable Airstream updating!

Sue

PS. I use a 1936 Singer 99. Sews forward and reverse. That's really all it takes.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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I just ordered a Brother machine too! I haven't sewed in ages but I'm getting tired of paying my cleaners to hem stuff. Needing to hem the super cool shower curtain and liner for my AS plus wanting to make a cool fabric divider door made the decision for me. It probably would cost me what I paid for the machine to have just those 2 things done!
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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Lots to know but easy to get started

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
I've been thinking of doing some of my own sewing and I've been researching machines. This week I had a chance to buy a nice clean Consew 206RB from a one lady upholstery shop. She slipped the clutch and didn't know how to reset it. She had it serviced and the timing reset, and while the shop had it, she fell in love with the loaner machine with a smaller drive pulley on the motor.

Attachment 148939

This is a clutch motor and it works good but this is a FAST machine. I want more low end speed control so I ordered a new servo 3/4 hp motor for the machine. I ordered a dual 1/4" piping foot, a right and a left zipper foot, and a 3/8" welt foot. I got some #69 nylon thread white, black, and neutral.

I've never done any project sewing at all. This is all new to me. Any and all tips and questions welcome on big and small machines, sewing tips, thread and material selection.

One of my first projects will be to remake the Airstream wall panels.
You are lucky to have found such a machine! I hate to admit that I have five sewing machines...one is my Grandmother's Brother from 1960, one is a treadle machine, one is my first Singer from 1976, one is my every day Bernina machine, and last but not least, my 1951 Singer Featherweight that I bought just so I can take it in the camper. I know that makes me crazy but I like to sew.

I can answer some questions...let me know what you'd like to know. I think your Airstream panels should be fairly straightforward. I am going to be making all of the curtains and cushion covers in both Airstreams once we get to that point. Sewing is a very relaxing hobby...just don't get started collecting fabric....another bad habit I have.
Sandy
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:34 PM   #6
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would think that a serger would be of more use for the type of work we sew for a TT, no?

I mean, from the limited knowledge I have of the subject, I think a serger is for trimming and sewing seams. That would be ideal for upholstery, right?
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:02 PM   #7
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Great machine!

The Consew is a truly industrial machine! It will take far heavier thread than the best "home/industrial" machine Singer ever made.

The lady who sold it to you might be able to give you lessons - and prove to be a source of thread and needles.

I see "corinthian leather" top stitched upholstery in your future!

Paula
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #8
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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?

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Old 01-15-2012, 05:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage
would think that a serger would be of more use for the type of work we sew for a TT, no?

I mean, from the limited knowledge I have of the subject, I think a serger is for triming and sewing seams. That would be ideal for upholstery, right?
Depends on the serger. You'd probably want a five thread machine, or make sure the four thread machine sews a good balanced seam, not all home machines can, sadly.

For upholstery, a machine that can sew forward and backward, and can do a good job with a piping foot or zipper foot (most zig zag machines can) will do you.

The Consew is fast. This is good so long as you can sew accurately fast. Don't be afraid to sit down with fabric that you've scribbled lines on and practice sewing following the lines.

Remember that half inch seams are the fastest to cut and sew. Never economize with your thread or needles. Sewing a muslin practice piece actually saves time and money though it won't feel like it when you're first getting started. (Especially if your upholstery fabric cost over $15 a yard.)
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
This is a clutch motor and it works good but this is a FAST machine. I want more low end speed control so I ordered a new servo 3/4 hp motor for the machine. I ordered a dual 1/4" piping foot, a right and a left zipper foot, and a 3/8" welt foot. I got some #69 nylon thread white, black, and neutral.
Needles in at least a couple of weights would be good. Tell the shop what you're sewing and ask what size needles to get.

Since you got it from an upholstery shop, the feed dogs are probably fine for heavy weight fabric but may shred sheers, make sure you try some scraps of lightweight fabric before putting the real stuff under the needle.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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I have three different needles in 10 packs. I just ordered 10 bobbins along with the different feet. I need some heavier thread to sew leather and to do canvas and awnings.

This week I'll sew a cover for a pillow or two. I'll do the practice straight line sewing. That's a good tip. Thanks!

Later, I'll shop for a lighter machine.
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Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:39 PM   #12
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This week I'll sew a cover for a pillow or two. I'll do the practice straight line sewing. That's a good tip. Thanks!
Remember not to try to "aim" with the needle itself. Aim with the center front of the foot. You'll sew more accurately. Do curved lines too. Remember on heavy upholstery fabrics to never to do a complete ninety degree angle on your corners. You want to stitch up to the corner, turn 45 degrees, stitch one or two stitches, then turn the corner completely. You'll also want to clip to the seam line on the corner when you turn the fabric. If it's a piped corner, it's the same thing, but you do it in the piping, so it looks more curved.

Also, if you're doing pillow covers, remember you don't want to "cat ear" the corners. When you cut the covers, cut them at the usual straight angles, then go back and make a curved line on each end on both sides of the side and cut off a total of between .5 to 1" off the corners. (It should be enough to avoid the "cat ears", but not so much that it'll look curved -- you want it to still look like a square once the stuffing is in the cover.) If you want a diagram, let me know. Even many commercial companies and professional upholsterers don't do this step, and it is one of those details that can really make a huge difference in the overall look of your finished piece.

These pillows have "cats ears".



A truly professional pillow cover looks square, rather than as if it has attenuated corners. I'm not sure why so few people know about this now.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:43 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:53 PM   #14
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Later, I'll shop for a lighter machine.
You may not need one. A lighter set of feed dogs (the machine shop probably carries them, I'd imagine), lighter foot pressure, a change of thread tension, and lighter needles will probably do you for things like sheers.
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