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Forum > Sewing Machines > What kind of machines sew through thick or multiple layers best? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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What kind of machines sew through thick or multiple layers best?
Are quilting machines the best?
Lucy in Virginia
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Lucy in Virginia  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/2/09 4:47 PM

Any advice on the best machine for sewing through many, many layers of fabric without even blinking?

I'm making a sewing machine cover with Kwik Sew 3548. See a picture here.

I am using prequilted fabric and purchased double-folded bias tape. If you will notice from the picture, at the bottoms of the corners, the seams all come together. My guess is that this is 6? layers of quilted fabric, plus 6 doubled-layers of bias tape (doubled because its been folded under at the ends) being sewn together.

My machine, which is a very good and pretty expensive Viking Platinum 770, groans and blinks when it gets to just one doubled layer of bias tape over the two quilted fabrics. I hand-cranked over those corners for fear of burning out my motor.

The trouble is I'm enjoying this project, and looking to do more such quilting type stuff, but don't think my machine can handle it.
-- Edited on 3/2/09 4:48 PM --

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Total Stash at end of 2013 -- about 750 yards.
2014 Total Items Sewn -- 1
2014 Total Stash Used -- 2.5
2014 Total Items Embroidered -- 2
2014 Goal: Sew 1 garment per month. Less stash at end of 2014 than at end of 2013.

Machines: Babylock Ellisimo; Viking Platinum 770; Brother 900D
Serger: Baby Lock Evolve

Al Johnson
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Al Johnson
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Date: 3/2/09 4:53 PM

I would trust any of my vintage cast iron machines to sew that item, and no way would my modern plastic fantastic multistitch wonder Singer ever get through it. I have no experience with modern, higher quality machines, though.

So, with partial ignorance, I vote vintage.

Good luck!

------
A sewing machine is just a welder for textiles.

Peggy L
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Peggy L  Friend of PR
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In reply to Lucy in Virginia


Date: 3/2/09 5:19 PM

What kind of needle are you using? Is there any way to trim some of the excess away so you aren't trying to sew through so many layers?

------
www.thereisjoyadventures.blogspot.com

Lucy in Virginia
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Lucy in Virginia  Friend of PR
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In reply to Peggy L


Date: 3/2/09 5:39 PM

Peggy,
I'm using a size 90 needle.

Since the seams are on the outside and covered with bias tape, I'm not sure I can trim anything off without it showing up or coming apart. But maybe another set of eyes can see something I'm missing.

------
Total Stash at end of 2013 -- about 750 yards.
2014 Total Items Sewn -- 1
2014 Total Stash Used -- 2.5
2014 Total Items Embroidered -- 2
2014 Goal: Sew 1 garment per month. Less stash at end of 2014 than at end of 2013.

Machines: Babylock Ellisimo; Viking Platinum 770; Brother 900D
Serger: Baby Lock Evolve

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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CA USA
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Posts: 1738
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Date: 3/2/09 5:48 PM

There was another question/dicussion just recently about a very similar issue:
Similar topic, PR message board

There are several things you can do:

1. Use a needle that is both larger and sharper than your usual universal needle.
Jeans Needles, Topstitch needles, Quilting needles, or Sharp (aka Microtex) needles all have sharper points than universal needles. Jeans needles may be the easiest to find, although I can usually find all 4 types in my local Sewing MegaStore.

2. Lightly lubricate the needle with a silicone sewing lubricant (such as Sewer's Aid).

3. Get a hammer and pound on those stacked layers before you sew them. This will flatten the entire stacked seam and make it easier to sew.

CMC

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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In reply to Lucy in Virginia


Date: 3/2/09 5:56 PM

Quote: Lucy in Virginia
Any advice on the best machine for sewing through many, many layers of fabric without even blinking?



I'm making a sewing machine cover with Kwik Sew 3548. See a picture here.



I am using prequilted fabric and purchased double-folded bias tape. If you will notice from the picture, at the bottoms of the corners, the seams all come together. My guess is that this is 6? layers of quilted fabric, plus 6 doubled-layers of bias tape (doubled because its been folded under at the ends) being sewn together.



My machine, which is a very good and pretty expensive Viking Platinum 770, groans and blinks when it gets to just one doubled layer of bias tape over the two quilted fabrics. I hand-cranked over those corners for fear of burning out my motor.



The trouble is I'm enjoying this project, and looking to do more such quilting type stuff, but don't think my machine can handle it.
-- Edited on 3/2/09 4:48 PM --

I have found the newer machines do balk at thick seams, especially when hemming jeans.

Test drive a few mechanical models to see it they will do better.

My current machines are computerized and I think that may also mean "wimpy". They have a foot with a button that releases the foot position so it accepts thicker fabric. I still use a "Hump Jumper".

Be careful using Sewers's Aid. It is oily and can stain.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

quathy
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In reply to Lucy in Virginia


Date: 3/2/09 6:16 PM

Hi Lucy,
I've only had Bernina's, but my 630, 220 and previous 135 all handled multiple layers with ease (as does my serger, a 1200DA). Same with multiple layers of denim and leather.

With that many layers, make sure your feed dogs are grabbing the fabric appropriately, and resist any temptation to 'help' the fabric along by pushing or pulling. A walking foot may help, or as others suggested try different (and new!) needles. I sometimes use an awl to guide the fabric to slide under the foot.

And make sure your machine is freshly oiled.

Good luck! I recently made 2 covers. Hope you are having fun doing it.

One more thing - sometimes it helps to baste multiple layers before sewing.
-- Edited on 3/2/09 6:17 PM --

poplin
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poplin
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In reply to Lucy in Virginia


Date: 3/2/09 6:17 PM

Oh, dear! This is exactly what I don't want to hear about the Viking 770, which I'm growing to like everyday now.

(My computerized Bernina 131 (very simple compared to its popular 100+ stitch cousins) can sew through layers of heavy RTW jean fabric. I can even sew through a thick seam, like the one produced by wrapping around binding made from the bottom hem of RTW jeans. The trick is to hammer down that thick seam.)

Did I understand you? You have 12 layers of fabric to jump over?

Here are my suggestions:

  • correct needle size/type

  • bobbin case and area cleaned of visible lint

  • presser feet pressure decreased

  • perhaps play with the stitch length

  • use a "hump jumper" that came with your machine


  • HTH! I'm anxious for what others' have to say.

    ------
    Dec 2012: 2 yards

    Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen



    Member since 12/31/69
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    Date: 3/2/09 6:24 PM

    deleted
    -- Edited on 3/2/09 6:29 PM --

    Nancy K
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    Nancy K
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    In reply to Lucy in Virginia


    Date: 3/2/09 6:27 PM

    I have a Platinum 750 and have had no problems sewing thick fabrics. What size needle are you using? I would try using a denim size 110/18 if you aren't already.

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    www.nancyksews.blogspot.com

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