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Starting a seam on a Machine
sygorny
sygorny
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Date: 6/30/12 1:50 PM

Hi, can someone please explain something to me, I have seen this tequnique several times on utube demonstrations and dont understand why it is done. They start the seam on a scrap of matterial then run directly onto the actual material then run off the actual material backonto a scrap. They then cut off both the scraps. Why do they do this!!!

JTink
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JTink
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In reply to sygorny <<


Date: 6/30/12 1:58 PM

I think it's to give a more even flow to the stitching. On some machines, you can't start right at the edge of a seam, because the feed dogs will eat your fabric. Therefore, you have to start the seam a little bit to the "inside" of the edge, not catching the edge. That is the only reason I can come up with...perhaps someone else has a different take on this

NhiHuynh
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NhiHuynh
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Date: 6/30/12 2:48 PM

Is the demo on thick fabric? This technique of starting a seam seems most useful with thick fabrics. Starting at the edge of thick fabric your pressure feet is at an angle and can have problems feeding the fabric through and the machine just sews almost in place. This is a solution, another solution is using something like a Jean-A-Ma-Jig.

I can't see doing this with every seam because it takes so much more time and effort.

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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 6/30/12 4:18 PM

When you use this method a few times you end up with a "sewing spider".

If you start too close to the raw edge (can see it through the opening of the presser foot), the needle will push the fabric down through the opening on the needle plate and cause a jam.

If the fabric is under the opening on the presser foot (so you cannot see the raw edge), no help is needed.

Another method it to hold onto the tails of the top and bobbin thread, lower the needle into the fabric and proceed to sew jam free.


-- Edited on 6/30/12 4:28 PM --

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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to sygorny <<
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Date: 6/30/12 7:29 PM

This is known as using "leaders and enders"; leaders being the start and enders being the end. I never used this method, as I'm not only from the old school, but I also have vintage sewing machines, with the exception of two. And it's these two that give me the most trouble. I'll explain and hopefully you can get the jist of what I'm saying.

Long time ago sewing machines sewed in a circular fashion; that is, the feed dogs (the little bits with the teeth on them) would move as though they were sewing in a circle. They would grab the fabric, and then slowly release it. Also, feed dogs were very narrow then, simply because of their age.

Enter the "New Age" and machines now have what is called "box feed" (and wider feed dogs). This means that the feed dogs now sew in a box formation, which means they come up, grab the fabric, then let it go, almost all at once. This causes problems with fine fabrics, such as knits. Knits will jam in the machine unless you use a "leader" to lead the fabric into the feed dogs. Then of course, you have to use an "ender" to end your stitching.

Now, the new sewing machine manufacturers are saying that box feed is the way go to. Why? I don't know because I truly like my vintage machines with the circular feed; I don't have to remember the stinking scrap of fabric and I can sew onto just about any fabric I want--including knits. But it's what is for now. And I'm having a dandy of a time trying to remember those scraps when I'm sewing with knits!

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sings2high
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Date: 6/30/12 8:17 PM

I love using this technique. I have a number of machines, new and old, and most of them, if given the opportunity, will pull my top thread down into the underworkings of the machine and make a thread nest there. Since I started using this technique, my threads usually behave. But I no longer use a scrap, I now keep a bowl of 2 1/2" fabric squares beside my machine. (9 of these stitched in a square give a 6" quilt block.) I rarely ever lift my presser foot because I always leave the "ender" still under the foot. Every time I stitch a seam, I start with the two already under foot (they have just become a "leader"), butt my seam up to that and stitch the seam, then stitch straight onto another pair of squares, cutting the thread behind the presser foot and leaving the "ender" under the foot until next time. I am painlessly munching through TONS of fabric scraps (which still cost $8 a yard even though they are shaped funny, you know!) and I will soon have enough for a scrappy quilt. This also saves an enormous amount of thread and I have no more thread bunnies rolling around on the floor under my sewing desk.
Oh, and the fabric being pulled down into the bed of the machine is a problem with fine fabrics and sheers as much as more sturdy fabrics. The age of the machine has nothing to do with that. If you have an issue with that, I recommend first changing to a fresh new needle and if that doesn't fix it, switching to a straight-stitch throat plate or stitching with strips of tissue paper underneath both layers of fabric.
-- Edited on 6/30/12 8:22 PM --
-- Edited on 6/30/12 8:24 PM --

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Vireya
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Date: 6/30/12 8:22 PM

I do it to save thread, but usually only when doing patchwork, not sewing clothes.

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