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Old 14-01-2010, 20:41   #16
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Fred,
When I sew slippery stuff like sails, I spread out the sail on a hard floor, weigh it down with 5 gallon buckets full of water and put the machine on a folded terrycloth towel.
I slide the machine along with the sail (rolled if need be) firmly in one place.

BTW, most machines if in good condition will sew through as much as you can fit under the presser foot.
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Old 14-01-2010, 23:27   #17
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WOW, heaps of great tips, and we are taking it all in !

Emailed lotathings but they do not shipoutside the US

Will look around for the Pfaff.

Someone I phoned today recommended the Elna Lotus for a very compact and lightweight machine that would work on sails. Anyone know about those units ?
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Old 15-01-2010, 09:15   #18
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If it doesn't cost too much more, maybe a member here could take delivery from them and resend it on to you. just a thought. Maybe someone down in Texas near them.
any takers?
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Old 15-01-2010, 10:08   #19
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Lots of great info in this thread. Thanks!

What I (we) would like to know is if a machine built to handle heavy-duty stuff -- like many layers of sailcloth or sunbrella, etc. -- can also be used for ordinary sewing, like fixing clothing and so on.

regards,
Mike
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Old 15-01-2010, 10:41   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbony View Post
WOW, heaps of great tips, and we are taking it all in !

Emailed lotathings but they do not shipoutside the US

Will look around for the Pfaff.

Someone I phoned today recommended the Elna Lotus for a very compact and lightweight machine that would work on sails. Anyone know about those units ?
The name says it all. It's small and well made, but NOT what you want for sails.

The throat (space between the needle and body on the right side) is very small. How would you roll up a sail to sew the middle?

It's also not very powerful. It's made for traveling to sewing classes, piecing quilts, patching clothing etc. Similar to a Singer Featherweight.

Mike, the answer to your question is yes.
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Old 15-01-2010, 13:11   #21
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Good, that one is now off the list.

"How would you roll up a sail to sew the middle?" I wonder that about the bigger table machines, let alone the portables.
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Old 15-01-2010, 13:47   #22
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Good, that one is now off the list.

"How would you roll up a sail to sew the middle?" I wonder that about the bigger table machines, let alone the portables.
That's why you see those huge machines in sail lofts.

Do a search for long arm machines. Juki, Janome are well made.
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Old 15-01-2010, 14:08   #23
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Have to find the compromise as we still want to carry it around. We live 400kn from our vessel.
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Old 15-01-2010, 18:55   #24
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If you can get a Necchi BU, it's difficult to beat. I had four, sold two, lost one, still have one. You get them cheap if you do.

Get a car window handle, a bronze one, from an old French car, and fix it to the shaft wheel (two screws will do). For motor drive, unscrew the clutch or the handle will spin ;)
For heavy duty work, screw the clutch wheel tight and crank.
It won't miss one stitch on zig-zag if you're careful, even through ten layers of hard nylon.

You wouldn't believe what I repaired with those machines.
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Old 16-01-2010, 16:33   #25
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Walking foot is a means of feeding the material and has nothing to do with punch power. Sailrites are chinese made machines that are way overpriced. For the price of a sailrite you can get a singer 20u which is a real commercial duty zig zag machine with a much larger throat. Browse miami industrial sewing machines in the specials/ canvas upholstery machines. There are some new economical machines with attached motors and many capable table heads for less money than a sailrite.
But a Singer 20U is not a machine designed for sewing heavy-weight fabrics. They state that right up front.
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Old 16-01-2010, 16:55   #26
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I use a very old singer 201-2 1948 I think. I can't imagine working with a sail at least on this boat and certainly not with this machine. My sail repair strategy is glued on repair material with hand stitching. This machine is not set up for zigzag but it straight stitches through everything. I use it to repair covers and make other fabric pieces. Mostly storage stuff. I like the no plastics and direct drive very solid smooth machine. Also I am sucker for old things that work. You can pick them up pretty cheap too.
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Old 16-01-2010, 17:32   #27
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I had a look at Miami machines, WOW, they sure have a lot of machines in stock. Interesting to look at models and get an idea of what is available.
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Old 16-01-2010, 17:41   #28
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Just use cheap domestic sewing machine with a hand crank attached to the big hand wheel wheel on the RHS of machine. This is what I used to sew up seams on 35 footer mainsail.

Using a hand crank provides immediate feedback so that if you get the needle stuck you will not over stress the machine as much. Even if you do, just get a replacement machine. Of course no power supply difficulties also. Admittedly slower than with a motor but gets the job done. Still need sailors palm for the reinforcing bits.

This is what I did. Got a piece of aluminium flat bar and used bolt at one end as a handle. cut and bent some tangs in the flat bar so they fitted over the sewing machine wheel outer edge. used a big hoseclip to squeeze the tangs onto the wheel. Simple to try this and if not satisfied then you can spend more $.

When sewing seams, first glue together with silicone sealant -this stops the pieces slipping so you dont need as much pressure on foot.
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Old 16-01-2010, 18:03   #29
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Silicone sealant, like the sort you use on the plumbing ?

I like the hand crank option, especially where you can use either, something easily removed or added as you require.
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Old 16-01-2010, 19:09   #30
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Alright, I have been following this thread with some interest. From the professional sewers out there-(Senior M and others) please give me the best machine: ie one that
1. Is used (less $$ hopefully)
2. Requires the least amount of adjustment after sewing a cruising main on a 45 foot boat.
3. It can be adjusted and oiled by a normal IQed person.
4. Simple repairs on the machine can be done by the same
5. Can sew through just about anything- incl multiple layers of 9 oz sailcloth.
You could divide your opinion into two machines- those that you would take on the boat and those that need a house.
BTW- what do you think of a Artisan1797?
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