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sewing swimsuit elastic
bobbin thread is "nesting" on wrong side
missytexas

missytexas
TX USA
Member since 9/29/06
Posts: 11
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Date: 7/6/08 1:48 AM

Any other day I would have said that I was an intermediate skilled sewer. But that was before I spent the last two days and many HOURS trying to assemble my first swim suit.

Unfortunately I do not own a serger. But using a conventional machine should be no problem at all, according to Kwik Sew and many reports I read online. For me, though, it doesn't seem to work.

No matter what I tried, 95% of the time some stitches are skipping and the bobbin thread makes little (and big) nests on the wrong side.
I have rewound and rethreaded;
I have cleaned my machine diligently with a fine brush;
I have used a regular foot and a walking foot;
I have used ballpoint needles and sharp needles;
I fumbled with the tension;
I have tried to use tissue paper on top, on the bottom, and on both sides, all while trying to stretch the fabric and the elastic at the same time - the terrible fumbling with which resulted in the acute need for Aspirin;
I tried stretching the fabric a lot, not so much, and not at all....
----All to no avail. I cannot sew more than 5 inches without the same problem starting all over again.

My machine seems to be working just fine. It will sew anything else just the way it is supposed to.

What am I doing wrong? Does anyone have a suggestion? A tip? An idea? Pleeeaaase?!

I am using designated swimsuit fabric from Hancock, braided elastic, and C&C All Purpose mercerized cotton thread (63% poly, 37% cotton).
-- Edited on 7/6/08 1:54 AM --

Sew4Fun
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Sew4Fun
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In reply to missytexas


Date: 7/6/08 2:08 AM

Quote:
95% of the time some stitches are skipping and the bobbin thread makes little (and big) nests on the wrong side. I have used ballpoint needles and sharp needles

I think your problem is the needle type you are using. Skipped stitches and nests on the wrong side, especially when sewing over elastic usually comes down to the needle.

For swimsuit fabrics you should use a stretch needle. Stretch needles comes in two sizes. For sewing the general seams I would recommend the size 75 but when sewing on elastic switch to the size 90. Try a stretch needle and see if it helps.

If this doesn't help then change elastic. I prefer to use rubber elastic for swimwear, the white flat elastic. The same as RTW uses. I'm not a fan of braided elastic on swimwear. It's ok in a pinch but it is hard to sew with and doesn't give the best results IMHO. It doesn't help when it comes to skipped stitches and thread nests either. It's really best used in a casing, not for sewing through.

Oh and btw, I would use a 100% polyester thread when sewing swimwear. It lasts longer. HTH

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

redclix
redclix
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OR USA
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Date: 7/6/08 3:25 AM

If none of those things work.....try a lubricant for your needle. Sometimes, no matter what needle you use, the rubber elastic will kind of 'grab' the needle and produce an awful lot of drag.

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SheBear0320
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In reply to missytexas


Date: 7/6/08 10:15 AM

Definitely try a stretch needle.

What type of stitch are you using? On a sewing machine, a zig zag stitch is recommended -- when attaching elastic I would use a medium zig zag stitch.

What kind of elastic are you using? If your suit will be worn in chlorinated or salt water it is best to use designated swimsuit elastic so it can stand up to the elements.

I would use 100% polyester thread (it's what I use on all my activewear whether for skating, dance or swimming). I sometimes use a wooly nylon thread for some details but usually the poly thread does the job.

Are you sewing with the elastic on top of the wrong side of the fabric? This may sound like a dumb question but you wouldn't believe the number of people who have tried to sew these applications with the elastic underneath.

When applying elastic to the edges of a swimsuit you should only be stretching the elastic, not the fabric. This takes practice as it is a fine line from stretching only elastic to stretching both the elastic and fabric.

Hopefully these tips help -- if not I have a few others.



------
Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
49.75 yards sewn (as of 07/17/14)
79.875 yards purchased (as of 07/17/14)

Karla Kizer
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Date: 7/6/08 10:22 AM

I've had good, reliable results using Stretch & Sew elastic. Messing around with needle types is a good idea, too. Sometimes the "wrong" needle is the one that works best.

------
“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” -Robert Heinlein and Ann's father. Thanks for the reminder, Ann.

Where are we going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?

Matthew 25:40 (New International Version)
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'



mary in FL
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In reply to missytexas


Date: 7/6/08 1:58 PM

In addition to the other tips given, make sure the needle is inserted all the way, and hold onto both thread tails as you start each new seam.

------
from Daytona Beach, FL
http://mary-sews.blogspot.com/

koo104
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Date: 7/6/08 2:14 PM

Also, if you are able to release the presser foot tension, it is good to do for your finishing stitching ( when you are turning back edges and top stitching. It allows you to sew with the elastic relaxed with the fabric eased in nicely. Sew with the inside of the garment up so that you can see the edge and wrap the zig zag around edge for better appearance.

missytexas

missytexas
TX USA
Member since 9/29/06
Posts: 11
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 7/6/08 7:43 PM

Thank you guys so much!!

Changing to a stretch needle did the trick (thanks, Sew4Fun!!) - even with the braided elastic, which btw says it is 'unaffected by chlorine and salt water.'

I ran out today to get me various stretch needles and 100% poly thread, and I was lucky enough that they had a sale on swimwear elastic (rubber with beige-grayish cotton cover), which they usually don't carry. It does feel softer than the braided, but I haven't really sewn it yet. For now I am extatic that I have no more skipped stitches or nests.

Again, thank you all for your help!

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