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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Swimwear top stitching help.. ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Swimwear top stitching help..
Zaneta
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Zaneta
Advanced Beginner
AUSTRALIA
Member since 7/30/06
Posts: 236
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Date: 2/5/13 7:40 AM

Hello, I have a Décor Excel II 5024 and have spent hours trying to get my sewing machine to sew up a swimsuit. I try to keep at the forefront of my thinking that I have successfully made many garments… however after a zillion scraps and $$$ on elastic and lycra I am getting close to giving up. Years ago I made my little baby a swimsuit and myself a pair too… once again hours of toiling with zig zag stiching and then top stitching I can’t seem to get it to look nice and professional. Here is a summary of what I am using:
- Janome Décor Excell 5024
- Size 11 schmetz needle, ballpoint (brand new)
- Lycra
- Polyester thread, top and bottom
Settings on machine
- I am using a zig zag stitch to attach elastic (SL= 5 and SW= 3) this seems to be ok? It is the top stitching I am having problems with. I do have a question on why does a zig zag create a mountain under the fabric as you sew?
- I have tried a straight stitch with wide stitch length (basting stitch) and it pops when stretched
- The only stitch that works nicely is the triple stitch and it takes forever as it goes back and forth
- When I zig zag with a wide stitch for top stitching it skips stitches and so this tells me something is not right?
Other notes
- I have watched briansews tutorial and was inspiring to watch but my top stitching looks terrible
- I have also a Janome 644d and the coverlock 1000 which is going to be the next test I do but most people use a regular sewing machine for swimwear and I have seen so many nice pieces made..um which is why I was inspired to have another go?
- Now I know why I have waited years before trying swimwear again!
Hopefully there might someone else who has also experienced something similar and has some other words of wisdom? My next project will be woven for sure…

Kind Regards

Zaneta

koo104
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koo104
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WA USA
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Date: 2/5/13 9:23 AM

I prefer stretch needles to the ball point. They are better suited to heavy spandex fabrics. I will use a larger stitch but put my finger behind the presser foot to create more stretch in the seams. I let the fabric bunch up release and let it bunch up again. (similar to the differential feed on sergers). It slows down the fabric feeding through the feed dogs. The stiches look smaller but have more give. Also wooly nylon thread in the bobbin is very stretchy.

MartiP
MartiP  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/5/13 9:41 AM

More info:
http://www.sewbox.co.uk/blog/877/sewing-tips/stretch-and-ballpoint-needles/

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MartiP

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SheBear0320
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In reply to Zaneta <<


Date: 2/5/13 10:30 AM

I use a stretch needle for all my spandex sewing -- haven't used a ballpoint on spandex so can't really compare.

I have a 634D Janome serger and use that to apply my elastic -- I then use a wide zigzag, a triple zigzag or the coverstitch for topstitching. It totally depends on the application and where on the item I am doing the topstitching. I also serge all my seams -- don't use the sewing machine first although I know some do.

I don't have a problem with skipped stitches when I use the zigzags for topstitching so I would suggest changing the needle and giving it a try. You might also want to check your tension settings.

I'm not a big fan of the stretch straight stitches on my sewing machine -- I find they use a ton of thread and that affects the appearance of the seam from the right side -- just MHO from experience.





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Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
23.375 yards sewn (as of 04/13/14)
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LouisaP
LouisaP
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MN USA
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Date: 2/5/13 2:46 PM

For topstitching skating dresses and swimsuits, I prefer to use a stretch twin needle with regular thread on the top, with wooly nylon hand wound on the bobbin. And I need to dial the tension down considerable to avoid that "tunneling" issue.

To me, the twin needle stitching mimics the more professional look of a coverstitch, and I'm just too lazy to convert my Viking 936 back and forth from serger to coverstitch.

Immelu
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Immelu  Friend of PR
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KS USA
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Date: 2/5/13 9:13 PM

My machine is always finicky with stuff like this. I'd try a bigger needle first because that usually takes care of whatever elastic issue I'm having. Also, when I "topstitch" on a bathing suit, I usually put the top down. It's FAR easier and I have far better success of actually hitting the edge of the seam. Nothing is more annoying then thinking you got it all and then flipping it over and realizing you didn't!

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/5/13 9:43 PM

I had good luck using a stretch needle either an 11, 12 or 14 Schmetz (sorry I don't remember which size). I seldom use ballpoint for anything knit anymore. Stitch with the elastic on top-I think I sewed the elastic on first then folded over and stitched it down with a triple stitch. I have a Janome 6600 so I used my accufeed. Have you tried it with a walking foot? Also, can you reduce foot pressure-I think I reduced mine a little. HTH

Zaneta
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Zaneta
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Date: 2/6/13 1:38 AM

Hi Everyone, thank you for all your wonderful tips. I took my machine to the sewing centre I brought them too and did some testing. Well, you were all spot on!! The stretch needle made a big difference.. I am yet to try it myself!! All my sewing books I have read have said use a ball point! So I had done exactly this... I feel inspired again to give it a go.

Thanks again for all your help everyone..

Zaneta

Zaneta
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Zaneta
Advanced Beginner
AUSTRALIA
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Posts: 236
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Date: 2/6/13 7:16 AM

I thought that I would add some more feedback.. I am feeling so much better about swimwear LOL. I ended up with a "Size 14 Sretch needle" to attach the elastic using a zig zag stitch with a width of 5 on my machine and length 2. Here is my method for tension consistancy.. it worked for me so I thought I would share with you. Once the elastic is lined up to the edge I would anchor it down and then using the edge of my plate on the sewing machine as a guide I would then stretch the elastic only not the fabric past the plate around 1.5cm ...keeping the elastic firm until it takes me to the needle. Then I readjust by releasing the tension in my hand and repeat the steps.. it works!! When I turn the elastic over I had the RS facing down.. making it easier for me to sew. I then changed my stitch selector to the tricot stitch (dotted zig zag) and using the same measuring technique stretched the fabric and elastic together again around 1.5cm. This method appears to not give alot of gather only very slight..which is what I prefer. I used the tricot stitch and wide zig zag stitch to help reduce thread bulk.. I also elasticed the elastic a little before sewing on (as recommend by "brian sews" and used his tip for leaving a lip of fabric when attaching the elastic). One last thing I must say that giving my bobbin a clean and removing the plate has also made a significant difference to the sound and quality. Fingers crossed I get some time to try out the real pattern tomorrow. Thanks again to the wonderful people who helped me move forward with my project...

Kind Regards

Zaneta

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