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Topic: stupid stupid denim! broken needles and frustration :(  (Read 1166 times)
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animegirlie
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« on: April 07, 2008 10:37:29 AM »

ok - I'm trying to sew some denim (I have a ton of one specific type) I'm using polyester thread (which normally is very cranky to begin with for me) and a denim needle for my sewing machine (singer size 2020). 

what I'm making are some camera bag inserts for my hubbies camera bag. I get most of the bag completed and I'm just adding some seams up the sides essentially pinching the corner and sewing along the side (1/8th inch) to force them to stand up.

Reference for the camera bag insert - (http://www.tiffen.com/displayproduct.html?tablename=domke&itemnum=720-211)

here's the kicker - I've bent or broken 6 needles!!!!!!

Am I going to fast?
Am I using the wrong needles?
Do I just need to clean the machine?
Is it the polyester thread (I haver to keep the tension pretty high to keep the bobbin thread from piling up)?

for reference I have a basic singer (about 5 years old) I bought at target for about $150 - it has 32 stitches. Not of sure the model number.

any ideas?
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randomrainbow
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2008 12:25:41 PM »

It depends on how many layers you are doing at a time i guess, but i would just slow down, when i sew denim i usually do two layers and use the basic needles that came with my machine and it has always worked fine for me. hope thats helpfull.
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animegirlie
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008 12:33:48 PM »

I'm doing 4 layers - I suspect it might be the polyester thread because I made something with 4 layers (and used cotton yarn) and I didnt bend any needles or break them. It's fairly thin (heavier that chambray, but less heavy than jeans denim) and stretchy.

Sounds like I need to change the thread and slow down Smiley I get impatient trying to finish something and go too fast. 

And THANKS!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008 12:34:14 PM by animegirlie » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2008 02:07:47 PM »

The thicker what you are sewing is the longer the stitch length needs to be- almost a basting stitch for something that thick.

Frankly, I think you are just asking this little machine to do more than it was designed for Sad Dirt may be contributing, clean it thoroughly.

Worst case scenario: you've bent the needle arm, on a machine like that it's a death sentence. Test sewing with some little plain cotton & see what happens, don't push the foot pedal, turn the wheel manualy, if a brand new needle properly inserted needle is hitting the sole plate & breaking you've bent the arm. If it sews fine on a light cotton the issue is with the thickness of what you are doing.

Good News: Obviously you've learned a lot and are clearly ready to take the training wheels off & get a big girl machine Smiley I would not invest a lot in repairing that particular machine, it's not worth it. Put your money aside for an upgrade Smiley

Here's a link for cleaning (it's burried) http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=227428.0
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animegirlie
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2008 03:12:46 PM »

Thanks Penlowe! And yeah - I'm definitely ready for a better machine. This one I got to make sure I had some skills (not so great with making my own patterns, but I know what I'm good at making thanks to craftster).

also an embroidery machine that takes images from a computer is next on the list (but after I get back form my next couple of work related trips).

I'm going to change the thread and do a few test runs on some scrap fabric - I hadn't thought to change the stitch length when doing more layers because it usually ends up with me have to rip the seams because of bobbin thread pile up.

I'm kinda stuck on singer though but I'm scared of the prices of their industrial machines. 
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2008 05:38:37 PM »

Personally, I'm a fan of Bernina & Janome. My new baby is a Janome Home Professional Quilters Edition, it would go through your 4 layers of denim like butter. Yes, it was pretty expensive.
 I'm eyeballing the Bernina that just does embroidery & nothing else (Bernette 340 deco); you can fire wire it straight into the computer & do your own designs. It's on my wish list anyway....

If you do a lot of bags or other things with big thicknesses getting a  quilting oriented machine would serve you well, regardless of brand. Machines designed for quilting are pretty heavy duty (and tend to be just plain heavy- mine is 40 pounds!) but are pretty home-sewer friendly.
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animegirlie
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2008 05:45:48 PM »

oh good to know!

I do prefer to do projects with heavy fabrics. Husband wants me to make him lots of "stealth" bags and pouches for his bike panneires (side mounting rack bags). 

I'll see if I can find out some prices on those machines. But I'm so sold on Singer because it was my first machine (a hand me down from my mom who can't sew because of her eye sight) and I haven't had any luck with the other brand I bought (granted it was a Kenmore Sad ) - the machine was a P.O.S. that I couldn't get to do anything but make big wads of thread on the bobbin side of the fabric no matter how many settings I tweaked after the first item I made on it. 

Thanks for the info - now to track down dealers in LA so I can go play with those machines!

« Last Edit: April 07, 2008 05:59:20 PM by animegirlie » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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animegirlie
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2008 10:29:53 AM »

ok test runs complete - the machine arm is not bent, but I DEFINITELY can't do that much denim. I'm ok with 2 layers, but not 3 or 4. I went and bought more needles last night for a test run and it runs fine, but the tension still needs to be cranked up more than before. Not sure what put that out of whack, but I can live with it as long as it runs for now. If I kill the machine before I can get combo embroidery/sewing machine, then I'll just get another cheap crappy one from Target and donate the old one to goodwill.

and WOW - embroidery machines are expensive!!
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008 03:07:09 PM »

I sew alot of heavy duty seams, I use a hump jumper and heavy duty needles which are different from denim, and it sometimes helps to hammer the seam before sewing it, yeah with an actual hammer.
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Sharyn62
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008 06:22:56 PM »

Have you tried using what we, in Australia call a walking foot, (might be the same for you. used when stitching through layers of quilting -it  might help
Sharyn62
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