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Topic: Help! No free arm, how to sew cylindrical things? (+industrial machine tips?)  (Read 857 times)
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(it's pronounced "deeth")
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« on: May 06, 2009 08:05:19 AM »

So my friend has an industrial sewing machine she's letting me use because my sewing machine can't handle the number of layers of canvas in the tote bags I'm making. When I try to sew down the top "hem", the stitches all come loose at the side seams because it's too thick and bulky and my machine is a lightweight.

I'm so lucky to be able to use her machine, but I just realized it doesn't have a free arm (so it has just a plain flat surface to sew on). Am I going to be able to sew cylindrical things on this new machine, or am I going to have to try to rework the patterns to sew everything flat? I'm not sure that's even possible...

I've never used a machine like this before, and I was hoping some of you have found ways around the lack of free arm, or have some tips on making this work.

Please help! Any advice is so appreciated.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2009 11:50:50 AM by betty_death » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009 09:17:46 AM »

You can still do it, keeping the part you aren't sewing away from the needle by pushing it back with your fingers.  But it's going to be more difficult.  Sew slowly and check often that you are not catching what you shouldn't.

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(it's pronounced "deeth")
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009 11:53:35 AM »

Thanks so much for your help, soorawn! Okay so just try to go as slow as possible and get things out of the way. Do industrial sewing machine motors work like domestic ones, in that they work at different speeds depending on how hard you press the pedal? (I'm such a noob...)

You know, can we turn this thread into a 'tips for using industrial machines' thread as well? Is there anything special I should know going in? 

« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2009 12:01:48 PM »

Once you get used to industrial you'll never go back... ok, you might, but only for a special stitch!!!

Srsly, once you get used to the speed and the amazing stitch quality you'll be out looking for your own. 

1. The pedal works the same. Push it to the floor andwatch out!
2. Some machines thread differently, both bobbin and thread.
3. Bobbins are most likely shaped diff. so be sure to borrow some extras from your friend
4. It'll tear through anything, thumbs included.  Make sure you go slow in the beginning and keep your foot off the pedal while you are threading the machine!
5. The needle is different than home machines, make sure you get extra from your buddy too.

Hope it helps, let me know if you need anything else!
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2009 12:23:16 PM »

hey Imblebee, thanks so much for dropping in, your info is so useful!

Are there special needles for leather, denim, etc like on domestic sewing machines, or are they generally all-purpose?

Ooh, I hadn't thought about the finger part of it, yowtch. Both my grandmother and my mom have sewn over their fingers using their (domestic) machines, so I'm basically just trying to buck the trend Smiley The fact that this machine will be so much faster and more powerful is slightly worrisome -- I'll definitely focus on keeping my fingers out of the way of the needle!

Do you pin things any differently? Or do you use alternatives to pinning, like double-sided seam tape, or clips?

How important is reversing? I know not all industrial machines have that ability, but I forgot to ask if hers does or not. It's definitely something I use a lot on my domestic, so are there alternatives if I'm not able to on the industrial?

What about feet? It's got a walking foot -- will that be okay for leather/vinyl, or would a teflon foot be better?

thanks for all your help -- I really, really appreciate the info Smiley

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