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Forum > Sewing Machines > Singer 201-1 Sewing Upholstry Fabric? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Singer 201-1 Sewing Upholstry Fabric?
caren751
caren751
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Date: 6/12/14 1:30 PM

I have a Singer 201-1 that I have used for years for clothing and making light curtains. Right now I have a few sewing projects that require that I work with heavier weight fabric. Some of these fabrics are tough upholstery fabrics. Am I making a mistake in using my Singer for this. I don't want to use my modern Pfaff for this, but have gotten contradictory information about whether this will harm my Singer.

1) Will it harm her?

2) Is there a way to get a cording/zipper foot that will allow a stack of fabric that is taller than 1/4 inch? (I can sew thicker than this with my regular foot but not with the zipper foot.)

Doris W. in TN
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In reply to caren751 <<


Date: 6/12/14 1:38 PM

The 201 has all metal gears, so it probably won't harm the machine.

If the fabric has a rubbery backing (some do), there might be problems with feeding under a presser foot.

annenet
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Date: 6/12/14 1:54 PM

I think 1/4 thick is pretty thick for anything other than an industrial. I wouldn't, for example, make a boat cover with mine.

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At my house in VA:
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At my Lake House in PA:
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Soolip
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Date: 6/12/14 2:09 PM

You need an industrial. The 201 is a great domestic machine, but it wasn't made to sew thick stuff on a regular basis. Also, it does have one resin gear, on the balance wheel. I've never heard of it happening, but it's possible you could damage this gear if the machine is constantly struggling.

beauturbo
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In reply to caren751 <<
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Date: 6/12/14 3:02 PM

Probably a bad move. Particular if you are not attuned to sounds and feels of what is going on when trying to sew into and over something you could/should not. And just know by that instead, (all those warning signs) when to stop doing something, before something bad happens.

I think if you want to sew stacks of Upholstery fabrics 1/4 inch tall you need some commercial machine that is made on purpose for that and with a motor under it's table and with a compound feed, and even made on purpose to sew over something just that very tall and thick in that way.

But, whenever you got too tall, amounts of stuff,all jammed under the pressure foot, it would be like raising that pressure foot lever up, to remove your fabric. At that point the machine thinks you want to remove your fabric, and so you would have no top thread tension, and any time that happens, no matter what # your top tension dail was set as, then you would get a horrible thread nest on bottom side of fabric and be unable to sew. If you want to wreck/change your machine maybe, and instead disable your top tension device so the disks were clamped closed all of the time instead, then maybe that would work a bit better. But why do that kind of bad thing to a really nice machine at all either?

But also when fabric won't go through things, with just your feed dogs carrying it all by themselves like is supposed to happen, and you then try to drag and force it with your hands instead, then needles get bent and deflected and tend to slam into stuff like stitch plates and hooks and stuff like that too, I consider that for sure damaging, and would not like to do that to some very nice sewing machine.

Also, when sewing over and into things not optimal for what something is made for, you might burn out your motor, or maybe break your feed dogs or something like that.

If you just got one little place on something you know, that you should not even be trying to sew into or over with something, and you are careful, then I think most times it's O.K. to only attempt to make a few stitches with it right there, slowly and carefully, by only turning the fly wheel gently and carefully by hand instead, or maybe even only doing that, with a needle in machine and no thread at all, and then later going back with thicker thread and a hand needle and a pair of pliers, and hand sewing it, that way instead.

Since you are trying to use a zipper foot, I think you are trying to also stick a bunch of piping in there, which you should not and probably makes it all worse in all those places too. Maybe you can make the same thing, and be kinder to the machine, and actually get it to work out, if you only need to do it for a little bit and very carefully, if you just re-think your project even, and use different fabric and particular not have any piping or piping with crossed areas in it?

annsew65
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Date: 6/13/14 6:46 AM

I have my mother's old 201-2 and she occasionally used her machine for some pretty tough jobs, but by no means on a regular basis. I'd say for one project, you might try it, but when you come to those areas where you are crossing over 4 layers or more, slow down your machine and go across those gingerly until you see just how the machine is going to react. I'd use at least a size 16 needle and an 18 if you can find one.

This is a pretty tough machine, but it really isn't built for this type of sewing on a regular basis.

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caren751
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Date: 6/13/14 1:25 PM

Thanks for giving me more to think about. I think I will finish this project with this machine but keep my eye out for a machine that can handle heavier weight fabrics.
I had sewed this particular pillow cover without using the zipper foot with no problem (except that the stitching was not as close to the cording as I wanted), so I was startled to have it just not fit under the zipper foot. (It was pulled under the presser foot and I could not budge the fabric once it was there.) I had not stopped to actually think what I am asking it to do. It is sewing through 8 layers of upholstery fabric, + the extra that comes from the cord and folds in the fabric. I am a bit ashamed that I even asked it to try, and amazed that it did it with out any complaints when I used the standard presser foot.

M.S.
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Date: 6/13/14 8:52 PM

My 201-2 will sew thru things none of my others will do. Sometimes I have to hand walk the machine over thickness, but stitches always seem to form. These are great machines!

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