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Forum > Sewing Machines > sewing sheepskin ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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sewing sheepskin
Seeking advice for sewing sheepskin
soulshoe
soulshoe
Beginner
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 12/27/11
Posts: 4
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Date: 12/27/11 3:20 PM

Hello,
I have more and more projects I'd like to do utilizing sheepskin or shearling, and noticing that this is a unique material with distinct challenges. It is at once thick, yet not that strong, and squishes down enormously. Perhaps most importantly, it has two totally different surfaces for the machine to grapple with, and makes feeding and clean stitching rather challenging! At least for me...
I am open to any advice on this topic, from people with experience and success. Specific questions are:
1- what type of machine and-or feed mechanism is ideal? Seems like a dual feed would be advantageous.
2- I've read about the Pfaff 1222 with this in mind, but is there a machine with dual feed like this, but all steel parts, instead of the nylon gears?

Thanks for your suggestions!
-- Edited on 12/28/11 1:32 AM --

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Nathan

goodworks1
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goodworks1  Friend of PR
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Illinois USA
Member since 7/19/03
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Date: 12/27/11 3:43 PM

Are you using leather sheepskin/shearling or a synthetic version? I'm guessing synthetic, but want to check for sure before venturing to give any advice....

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blog: goodworks1.wordpress.com

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
Intermediate
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 7/23/07
Posts: 6441
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Date: 12/27/11 4:19 PM

This topic interests me as I have a sheepskin (real thing) that I just ran across while pulling a machine out of storage today. My late mother used it in her wheelchair, so it has been sitting in my stash since at least 1995. I would love to use it for something but have no idea where to start.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

twinkle72
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twinkle72
Advanced Beginner
UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 4/20/09
Posts: 73
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Date: 12/27/11 5:58 PM

I sewed a shearling vest about a month ago on my Janome. The shearling was "Toscana" which meant the hair was longish and straight rather than short and curly. After a lot of fussing around, I ended up using a universal needle rather than a leather one. This was fine. I went with quarter inch seam allowances, and used a quarter inch quilting foot! This was also fine. The sheep skin was thin and pliable. The furry side did not get at all caught up in the foot or the bobbin to my surprise. Perhaps because it was straight? Basically, it was easier to sew than I imagined.

soulshoe
soulshoe
Beginner
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 12/27/11
Posts: 4
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In reply to goodworks1


Date: 12/28/11 2:06 AM


I'm only using real wool and genuine leather sheepskin and shearling. Thanks for your interest...

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Nathan

Sharon1952
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Sharon1952  Friend of PR
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Massachusetts USA
Member since 7/1/08
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In reply to soulshoe


Date: 12/28/11 9:19 AM

My only helpful suggestion is to cut or shave the wool off that is within the seams-especially if it is long or thick. It makes sewing easier and your seams tighter. I use a top-stitching needle on mine which are a middle weight skin.

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

soulshoe
soulshoe
Beginner
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 12/27/11
Posts: 4
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In reply to Sharon1952


Date: 12/28/11 1:43 PM

Thanks. I have been doing the shaving where I can (when it's sheep on sheep), but other times I'm sewing another piece of different leather on top of the sheepskin for reinforcement (ie. a heel piece), where I don't want to shave the wool inside the shoe, because that's where I need it!
Also, I don't know what you refer to as a top-stitching needle. Can you explain for me. So far I only have regular round-point needles or leather needles (which slice). For the sheep I would prefer regular, like someone else mentioned, so as not to weaken the sheepskin.

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Nathan

soulshoe
soulshoe
Beginner
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 12/27/11
Posts: 4
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In reply to twinkle72


Date: 12/28/11 1:46 PM

Thanks for this info. What I'm curious about is the kind of feed mechanism on people's machines that are having success. Is your Janome only a bottom feed, or a dual feed, or something else?
Also, for the beginner: what is a quilting foot?

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Nathan

JillyBe
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JillyBe
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California USA
Member since 1/20/10
Posts: 3195
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Date: 12/28/11 2:57 PM

I'm definitely not an expert, but I have sewn leather, sheepskin, faux leather, etc. I practice with each combination of fabrics to find out what works best. I'll usually use a vintage straight stitch machine and a walking foot (this may be what you mean by a quilter's foot), but sometimes will use a teflon foot on a modern machine. Both allow the fabric to glide more smoothly. The walking foot moves both layers of fabric through equally (theoretically)

A top stitching needle is thicker, with a larger hole and a very sharp point (much like a jeans needle). The leather needle has the wedge shaped point, to slice through the leather more easily.

When you say you're using a rounded point, do you mean a ball point needle? I would not recommend that for leather, because it won't give you a nice clean hole. If yu don't want the larger hole that the leather or topstitching needle would give you, you might try a sharp point.

HTH :)

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http://jillybejoyful.blogspot.com/
a blog about creativity, sewing, vintage sewing machines, and...... life :)

Betakin
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Betakin
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Arizona USA
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In reply to soulshoe


Date: 12/29/11 0:00 AM

If you have a serger you may wish to try flatlocking which is used for fluffy wooly fabrics.

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