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Old 05-06-2016, 08:23 AM   #1
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LEARN TO SEW - yes you can! FREE!

www.sailrite.com

This is a resource I just found while looking for some ultraleather samples.

I noticed that they sell foam, heavy duty sewing machines, upholster's supplies, ... and then I saw "learn how to sew" and presumed that they were selling DVD's etc. But I clicked on the "How to make Roman Shades (something I've known how to do for decades) and realized that these weren't teasers but full length instructions, FREE!

I learned a lot from books and from my mother, but I've always believed in refreshing that knowledge. Fabrics constantly evolve and change - and there are LOTS of specialty applications that aren't familiar to most people. If you want to refresh or modify ANY fabric in your Airstream but don't think you have the real sewing skills to do it - go to this website and start watching and doing! They could be selling these videos and I'd cheerfully pay $50 per course for them. I am not going to bargain shop for upholstery thread, ultraleather, etc. Sailrite has EVERYTHING I need at reasonable prices, even for French seams, etc. Their product descriptions are absolutely clear - read the descriptions of their sewing machine models - you KNOW that you're getting with each price point! I truly believe that if you want to become a professional upholsterer you could probably get 90% of it in their instructional videos. I'm literate - and grew up when TV instruction didn't even exist - but have learned to appreciate video instruction as a powerful educational tool. Many of them are irritating because they either talk down to the "idiot" viewer or are so advanced they skip over the basics leaving the beginner confused and lost. These assume you're intelligent - but inexperienced. Perfect balance.

And I must confess - I have done Roman shades quite a few times before - but not in the last couple of years - and I got (a) a great refresher course and (b) about 5 tips that will make doing them again faster and easier - and mistake free the first time. I never used fabric glue on my dowel rods; so simple and accurate! And I had a true "well d'oh" moment when demonstrator measured one side for the rod spacing, then just folded the other side over and transferred the marks instead of measuring the other side too. The demo was for four side by side windows. Matching the spacing of the dowels is critical for a "pro" look. All of the measuring techniques and tips get the perfect match done fast and flawlessly!

OH, and am I going to order one of those long heavy metal rulers? YES! I'm not cutting $58 per yard ultraleather without an absolute guideline!

I've also seen walking foot industrial sewing machines for thousands of dollars each, and from the video only, they're privately branded BASIC machine LOOKS damned impressive. Impressive enough to consider buying it, using it for one big upholstery project, then selling it on e-bay... or getting hooked and making a retirement living by sewing awnings, cushions and curtains at rallies! Bet the upholstery course is also a guide to measuring, cutting and sewing custom sheets, too.

The videos do mention that Sailrite has dowels, rings, thread, fabric... but contain no hard sell. Five minutes turned into over an hour as I watched, fascinated, and with a critical eye. I have not gone back to watch their basic "how to sew" which starts at how to thread a machine, but I must say I am impressed. Roman shades aren't hugely difficult but there are a lot of small tricks that make the difference between "looks fine" and "Wow, that must have cost a fortune! What you did it yourself? How much would you charge me...?!" The video I watched was 99.999% of the "Wow, that must have cost a fortune..." level. It was a tiny bit light on pattern matching, but that was probably covered in depth in the more basic videos.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:17 PM   #2
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Upholstery

A customer of mine just gave me a "bargain" quote for upholstering my sofa in the Avion. It is a biggish job, and I'm doing ultraleather, and I do understand that it costs money to have a shop. Still $2500 while not unreasonable in this area especially just makes my tiny fist ball up around my cash.

I went back to sailrite.com and did a detailed estimate. I can buy all of the premium supplies needed to do the job for $890 - and buy a special walking foot commercial machine for as low as another $800. That should keep me busy for a week after I retire. When I'm done I could sell the machine on ebay and recoup most of the cost - or have an Airstream related retirement business.

See you down the road. Paula
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:05 PM   #3
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I have had one of their sewing machines for 30 years. They are absolute beast designed to sew sails and heavy canvas. It can operate on AC,DC or human power. Great company to do business with outstanding customer service and help line.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:42 PM   #4
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Order some extra material, the shop who made some cushions for me said it is very stretchy and they had a hard time of it. Sailrite does have some excellent videos.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrprez View Post
Order some extra material, the shop who made some cushions for me said it is very stretchy and they had a hard time of it. Sailrite does have some excellent videos.
I'll bet the problem was operator error. You MUST change the setup of the whole machine to do vinyl, leather or synthetic leather instead of upholstery fabric. Adjust for "thickness of fabric", adjust downward thrust of the presser foot - too much or too little causes the layers to bind. Evaluate whether you need to change from a toothed presser foot to one designed for leather; toothed may scuff leather. If you use thicker thread, put in a bigger needle. Adjust the thread tension on the top needle and underneath in the bobbin. (Most pros have spare bobbins each adjusted for a specific gauge of thread. Home sewing 10, 12, 14 gauge is common... Heavy upholstery and leather need 20 gauge.) Last adjust the stitch length - and then sew scraps to test the setup.




Paula
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:53 PM   #6
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I took sewing in College.

Hi, I have been sewing things for decades, but not as much as I would like. I would love to have a commercial sewing machine. I have been sewing with an ancient Montgomery Ward home style machine. We gave it away when we moved.

True story; I took an auto-body shop course in College and once a week we had an upholstery class.

This is a picture of my Airstream generator cover that I made. Also the love seat that I built and the Gaucho that I re-foamed /re-covered.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:22 AM   #7
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VERY nice work! Some of those old machines are better than the new ones with the plastic innards. And you CAN do almost anything with them as long as you stick to textiles. I just sold one of my two mid-1950 machines - To a parachute rigger!

A commercial machine would make it easier and faster and ... hey I just want one... and I am using ultraleather. (Heck my justification is "why not?")
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
I'll bet the problem was operator error. You MUST change the setup of the whole machine to do vinyl, leather or synthetic leather instead of upholstery fabric. Adjust for "thickness of fabric", adjust downward thrust of the presser foot - too much or too little causes the layers to bind. Evaluate whether you need to change from a toothed presser foot to one designed for leather; toothed may scuff leather. If you use thicker thread, put in a bigger needle. Adjust the thread tension on the top needle and underneath in the bobbin. (Most pros have spare bobbins each adjusted for a specific gauge of thread. Home sewing 10, 12, 14 gauge is common... Heavy upholstery and leather need 20 gauge.) Last adjust the stitch length - and then sew scraps to test the setup.




Paula
This was a professional boat and auto upholsterer. Been in business many years. They got the job done.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:06 PM   #9
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I bet my wife has 15 different sewing machines from heavy leather patches to old singer featherweights most of them were bought off craigslist, flea markets or garage sales over the years for a song .One year for her birthday I found a con sew commercial machine that a fellow bought to open a Uphostery shop but for some reason he didn't it was a 2 thousand dollar machine which I paid him 500 bucks
She has done countless Uphostery jobs and made more than enough to pay for it several times over, you should see the job she done on our overlander
Most of the machines now days are made in China for far less money so they are far more affordable for the average Joe.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:37 PM   #10
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We have had a Sailrite Ultrafeed walking-foot sewing machine for a number of years. Airstream reupholstering, living room reupholstering, boat covers, machine covers, carpets, anything difficult to sew and the machine has worked perfectly. Needs no adjustment for fabric thickness and the walking foot means that both the top and bottom fabric are fed at the same rate. Will sew through any thickness of fabric or layers of fabric you can get under the foot. About the only thing it is not particularly good for is fine fabrics.

In addition to the amazing sewing machine, Sailrite has been a reliable source of Ultrasuede, Sunbrella, and other such fabrics for us for years. Are their prices the lowest? No, but the service has always been superb.

Tim
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:38 PM   #11
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LEARN TO SEW - yes you can! FREE!

Thanks for these recommendations.

And have a look at reinergirls work in posts 636-641 of her trailer Moonraker thread. I know she (and this thread originator) are smarter than me, so I value the shared experience. Same as when first starting to repair cars and houses. The factory manual was valuable, personal experience is priceless.

I think it an excellent idea to buy and then sell commercial equipment once done. Have done it when in real estate.
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