Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

What skills to learn, what tools to get
SavingWithBabies
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by SavingWithBabies »

@Sclass We picked it up! We didn't have much time to test it but we did a zig zag stitch on an old t-shirt and the machine sounded good. I was surprised to see the included table is from Elna too. After I noticed how well it fit, that made sense. The machine is actually a 72C -- I'm not sure where 390b came from. The gentleman we bought it from was quite nice and said it was his mother's machine. That case is amazing too. Nice little holder for the pedal and the cord built in (plus as you mentioned the ability to clip it onto the machine). It feels like a really nice solid piece of machinery. My wife is very happy. Thank you!

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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Good stuff! That is a really nice machine. It was really well taken care of or not used much. You can tell by the condition of the paint on top of the arm, the wheel and no staining around the thread guides from miles of thread passing through. The 72c is a top drawer machine. It was sold concurrently with the SU 62c. Basically the same machine without the removable cams for fancy stitches. I never use the fancy stitches and just do straight and zig zag.

The free arm on these models is really useful for hemming pants and sleeves. It is also good for quickly darning socks or patching holes in jeans.

Good to hear it is functioning well. Read the manuals and keep it lubed at the red oiling holes with light machine oil and it’ll last longer than you’ll need it.

There is one selling on my Craigslist for $125 without the Elna table. One also sold on eBay recently without a box or foot control for $100 including shipping. These are collectible by a small number of crazies who know how good they are.

I don’t know if your machine came with the accessories but those also add resale value. Darning foot, satin foot, instruction manuals, darning plate and the plastic box that holds all this stuff that stows under the arm. These things often get separated by careless people who inherit the machine from Mom.

Now the fun part, using it. It’s really cool opening up the possibilities of altering second hand clothes, sewing outdoor gear, customizing your existing stuff and rescuing things from the trash. Good luck!

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass »

72C that makes a lot of sense. Beautiful unit.

http://tightacres.blogspot.com/2015/12/ ... c-tsp.html

You can learn something about market efficiency while chasing this stuff down. Your Annapolis Craigslist is a pretty inefficient market place. Obviously no collectors gathering up the Elna Stars (this is the line of models). eBay is more efficient and the prices go way up because it is easier to match willing buyers with sellers.

Depending on the condition and accessories one of these units can sell for up to $250. You can see the completed auctions. Yet I also found one around Thanksgiving on Craigslist selling for $40...great conditon with all the goodies (box, control, feet) being sold by the proverbial son who just lost Mom. In my case a collector had just snatched it out from under me hours before. Maybe I’d have the chance to buy it back on eBay for $200.

I’m fascinated by markets. I got squeezed in a merger last year when I had to dump some thinly held shares in a German industrial manufacturer. Same concepts of inefficiency came into play as the volume dried up before my eyes. I’m getting OT but it is neat seeing the game between people being played out.

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Sclass
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Hemming Jeans

Post by Sclass »

SO showed up with these jeans. They are made for human giraffes - skinny waist, long legs. She needs four inches hacked off the legs. Apparently human giraffes are rare so she got these jeans nearly free on the clearance rack.

This is where the walking foot machine pays the bills.
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By my count I'm sewing through nine layers of denim at this rib on the leg. It is three layers folded three times. Try that on a conventional machine. Walking foot eats it for lunch.

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Plows right through without a skip.

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Finished hem. Nice even stitching even through the bump.

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Once again exchanging time for money. The thread is my $3 for 3000 yd Chinese Polyester "thread for jeans". Basically free. The hem time took about twenty minutes most of it was SO wondering if her ankles should show. New girl denim is very stretchy. Like elastic. I wonder if this stuff is finding its way into men's pants :lol: .

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Sclass
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Fixed a discarded rolling carryon

Post by Sclass »

Alright, I found this discarded backpack. It has wheels. But it is ripped on the bottom and things fall out of the pouches on the sides. No good. I'd like to use this. So I thought I'd patch it with leather scraps, but then I realized I wanted something tougher like plastic. I dug into my junk pile and got a clorox wipes bottle and started cutting it up.

The bag:
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The damage:
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The repair material:
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Fabrication using pop rivets and cheap rivet kit from Harbor Freight:
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Use washers to back up rivets:
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The plates in place. Using rivets and sewing to secure them to the bag.
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SavingWithBabies
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Regarding the stretchy denim in men's pants, I bought some ~$12 Faded Glory jeans at Walmart after dropping a bunch of weight. They say they are 100% cotton but there is an interesting stretchiness to the material that is not at all like my other jeans. I'm fairly certain it's this listing:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Men-s-Straig ... s/51341646

Only pointing it out because there are some even cheaper jeans in that brand that I don't think had the stretchy feeling. I didn't expect much given the price but I was pleasantly surprised and went back to buy a couple more pairs. Now if the stretching in the pants you worked on was like leggings/jeggings, it wasn't quite that stretchy.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass »

This is exactly what I wear everyday. They’re actually pretty high quality for cheap jeans. I usually buy them on Rollback when they mark them down $0.50 :lol: When the knees wear out I make cutoffs - on the walking foot of course!

How’s the Elna TSP working out?

SavingWithBabies
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by SavingWithBabies »

Now I'm wondering if you posted that before and, without remembering why, I went and bought those same pants because I had the impression they were good!

The Elna TSP is working great. It hasn't gotten a lot of use yet. My wife has used it to fix the odd thing here and there. I need to redo my boat cushions so that'll probably happen at some point. I've never done piping before but it will be fun to experiment. I'll need to get both the foam and the cloth and haven't decided on those things yet but I do know I should probably try making some test cushions first to try to get the hang of it.

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Sclass
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Made a Motorcycle Cover

Post by Sclass »

Here is a motorcycle cover I made with a $5.00 tarp from Harbor Freight. I wanted to "hide" my motorcycle on the side of my house and we have a nazi HOA. So I thought I'd make a nice cover. Fitted to the bike. I also installed a little vent on top to get rid of condensation. The tarp isn't breathable like the good covers. Normal sewing machine used. Polyester thread for good sun resistance.

Enjoy.

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Made the little holes with a soldering iron. It poked through like a hot knife and seared over the ragged edges of the holes.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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Okay I needed a camera case. And a strap. Lets start with the case. It's amazing how cheap a zipper case is now. On ebay you can get one for $7. But what fun is that. I have a big pile of leather and spools of upholstery thread. I have a wonderful leather sewing machine. I started looking at designs online and I liked the idea of rigid leather cases. I thought I could laminate some scrap couch leather with some milk carton cardboard and felt to make a stiff wall. Start with patterns.

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Materials...,

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scrap couch leather and leftovers from car seat recover. I haven't been able to put a dent in all the leather I got off the neighbor's sectional a couple of years back. I make all kinds of stuff out of this leather.

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Start squaring up the corners on the scraps. Rotary cutter from rummage sale works great for this. Thanks dead grandma. Cutting mat has grids to set 90 deg angles.

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Laminating. I wanted some wall stiffness. I notice a lot of handbags put cardboard or plastic in between leather layers.

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Set up machine. This is complicated. Tensions, foot pressure, needle diameter and thread type need to be carefully selected for leather. Because of the extra friction on the needle and thread it is less forgiving than your average fabric. The needles actually look like suture needles because they cut a hole in the skin. Lots of test stitching on scraps to get the tension right.

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After many false starts due to skipped stitches, tangles etc. I found that my pressure foot tension wasn't high enough. I forgot that I detension presser foot spring when I store my machine to save it. Forgot to tighten it. I had to do a lot of fiddling before I figured out why the machine wasn't sewing well.

This is what I ended up with. I put a snap in. I hope it doesn't break the lens door. I tried to pad it on the inside of the bag with a patch of leather. I'll have to be careful closing the thing.

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Not sure what I'm going for here. I like reusing trash to make useful stuff. This ate up a couple of hours. I actually turned down some social activity to work on this which was kind of a bummer when I think about it. The dump in my town doesn't recycle milk cartons. They are very limited in what they consider recyclable. A cardboard milk carton ends up in the furnace. I go through one a week.

Oh well I have a lot of free time to think of ways to reuse this material. No new bag needed. Now I need to make a nice leather neck strap. I don't like the plasticky one currently on the camera.

horsewoman
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by horsewoman »

Nice job with the bag!
I did a similar project a few years ago, only the lazy man version :) I used a small messenger bag I had lying around, measured out some cardboard and covered it with one layer of of a a cut-up light children's winter jacket and one layer of polar fleece on top. The first layer was glued with hot glue to the cardboard, the second layer sewn by hand (at this pint I was still debating with myself if I should get the industrial machine). I folded it into the messenger bag and it was sufficient stiff and padded to protect my canon DSLR camera with the lens attached. Added benefit was that the bag was still washable because the protective layer could be removed.

That's stupid that they won't recycle milk cartons at your town's dump. Ours does but I still try to get as few as possible by buying local milk in glass bottles and making oat milk at home. We still have lots of them, since getting fresh milk is often quite a hassle!

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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What a great idea to use old polar fleece. I donate a lot of old fleece sweaters because my wife doesn’t like the pilled look they get after a year. They still work but she insists on getting me a fresh one every year. I’ve been hiding the old ones in the trunks of my cars as emergency jackets before she discards them.

I’m going to work on a strap next. Just like your belt fix.

Yeah the state of recycling in my area (and many other areas of the USA) is really messed up right now. Apparently the waste collectors are only taking the highest grade recycling. The problem is economic, that is, it’s just cheaper to make a new milk carton than to recover the materials in an old one. And that is the problem with driving an activity purely by economics. If efficiency is measured in money earned/money invested rather than other ways like useful work/energy in, you get this disaster that is befalling recycling in my area.

The crazy thing is there is no incentive for the waste haulers to recycle. If they divert more recycling to the landfill and incinerator they make more money by charging the city and customers. Its a disaster and it’s all our faults. I bring in too much packaging to my home on a weekly basis (I feel I produce twice as much waste as I did ten years ago) because of inefficient packaging technology and online shopping (double boxing). The waste handler lost China and is being forced to sort the trash better. I am considering drastic changes to limit my plastic waste besides making stuff out of it.

I’ve got all these jackass junk mailers sending things to the prior tenants of my home. Now I hear they aren’t recycling junk mail in my town because it isn’t as valuable as cardboard. These mass mailers should be incinerated with all the useless printing they deliver to our homes.

I made tyvek shopping bags and have eliminated plastic grocery bags. I use a steel coffee cup at Peets. I bring my own container to bring beans home. I drink a carton of milk a week but my local bulk market doesn’t sell lactose free milk so I buy that in a carton. My cereal is bought bulk but is is weighed in a plastic bag. I get my produce at the farmers market and use homemade bags but the vendors still pack things in those clear clamshell boxes that are also not recycled in my area. At the end of the week I fill a 50 gallon dumpster with recycling but I bet less than 25% actually gets recycled.

My neighbors do more. It’s a way of life here. I kind of try to forget about it like it isn’t there. Just like all the neighbors popping prescription pain killers. It’s easy to turn away and ignore it while it is right next to you.

I think I’ll just keep my head down and make a strap out of discarded leather from my neighbors old couch. She’s kind of cute walking her dog in a Xanax induced fog. I show her all the wallets, keyrings, camera bag etc. made with it and she fake giggles. A plasticky laugh. :lol:

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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Okay so I did the strap. The old strap was crusty and cracked. Very annoying after a long afternoon walking around with it riding on my neck. Should be simple enough to knock off. I needed to cut the little webbed ends off since I didn't have anything like that lying around. I had these webbed cords they give you at trade shows to hang your name tag but they were too wide. I've kept those around for other things because they are good strong webbed strapping.

Old vinyl crappy Canon strap.
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Hit the pile of leather from the neighbor's couch. I really need to get some black or brown. Everytime I see a couch on the curb I want to just deconstruct the panels with my swiss army knife. I notice a lot of other crafters on YouTube get their leather the same way.
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Cut and laminate. This time I used two way tape. It is really sticky stuff I use to hold PCBs down on my milling machine. Unfortunately it ends up on the needle of the sewing machine so you need to clean up with naptha afterwards or you'll get tangles and snags. The tape just makes things easier. You can find it when you deconstruct all kinds of manufactured leather goods.
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Testing tensions. Looks good top and bottom. Thread, needle and leather are compatible.
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Finished stitching. I went kind of fast and didn't make a point to sew straight. Oh well, it'll still work.Image

Finished strap.
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So this is kind of a dubious achievement. I could buy a manufactured strap from ebay for $10 including shipping. One that is a take off from a Canon camera that is actually embroidered "Canon". It took me an hour to make this including cleanup. I enjoyed myself but I'm not really getting ahead financialy by doing this. I guess it is a good conversation starter and I can feel good that I saved the leather from the landfill and reduced the demand for new neck straps. One less dead cow...probably not since the skin is a byproduct of the hamburger industry.

Maybe when we get to the trashageddon this will be a handy skill to have when we are forced to rummage through mountains of garbage to make implements to survive. The sewing machine has a really nice feature that allows you to install this ball bearing hand crank on the flywheel making the machine hand powered. It's a little hard to sew while powering the machine but it is a cool option if there is no power. I believe the original design of the machine was for sail making at sea when you wanted to conserve your electricity.

George the original one
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by George the original one »

Your strap is custom. That's a status symbol if I ever saw one!

P.S. Look for an antique treadle sewing machine if you want the apocolypse special.

horsewoman
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by horsewoman »

I like the strap! The strip you put inside is not familiar to me, I probably would have only folded over the leather into three layers and backstitched it down. The strip will add some structure, which is always nice.

Re "dubious achievement" - if saving money is the ultimate goal, doing things yourself is often not the most efficient way. To me "DIY" is a way of life, not merely a way to save money. Jacob wrote something like "spending money is a failure to solve problems by smarter means" (I paraphrase, for I don't recall in which thread it was). This resonates with me - but I know it is not how the majority of people think. I suppose I can relate to this more easily because I never in my life was a high earner, so my reckoning what an hour of my life is worth in currency will be different from a programmer/lawyer/CEO... OTOH it makes selling your handmade goods often such a thankless endeavour. It only pays if you make the same thing over and over, unless you are one of the lucky few who hit on a "trend" early on. Having given it a shot, I learned that I prefer making things for myself without having to calculate if it is profitable. The feeling of being able to make things is worth a lot more to me than saving a few bucks.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by jacob »

That was the GRS guest post: https://www.getrichslowly.org/early-retirement-extreme/

I think https://aeon.co/essays/we-live-in-a-one ... a-polymath which Ego originally posted in some thread is even better.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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horsewoman wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:34 pm
I like the strap! The strip you put inside is not familiar to me, I probably would have only folded over the leather into three layers and backstitched it down. The strip will add some structure, which is always nice.
:o yeah, I think I should have done it that way. The seam edge looks bad on my strap. It is functional but I can see my cut line. I was going to do a French seam but I was afraid the leather was too thick to turn inside out. Maybe I’ll try it again your way. I have a lot of leather scrap.

horsewoman
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by horsewoman »

You would see the cut line as well when folding three layers. If you manage to cut evenly (rolling cutter?) and sew evenly close to the cut line it would still look neat.

Another way would be to fold the leather so that the outer lines are meeting in the middle, and hiding them with some kind of ribbon, backstitched along both edges onto the leather.
Fewer layers in the machine and neat edges. It might be a little fiddly though, because pressing before sewing does not work well on leather.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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@horsewoman, like everything, it would come out better if I tried a second time. Right now I'm going to live with my first design even though it isn't pretty. Maybe I'll revisit it later. I noticed the original strap used a piece of fabric on the inner side of the strap to feel good on the neck.

So tonight I needed a new camera wrist strap for one of my digital cameras. I decided to make one out of junk I had lying around. Kind of a recycling project. I had some webbing from an ID tag. I get these from trade shows. I like how it says UL. There is a little blue piece of nylon cord that came off a free glasses bag given away at an anti-fentanyl town hall meeting I just attended. The bag said "Narcam" on it...I was hoping I could work that in somehow. I planned on making a little plate to hold the cords with a piece of plastic lid from a cornstarch container. I've already used the cornstarch container wall for something but I've already forgotten what it was.

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salvaging lid. Turned out to be too brittle to fold up. It shattered.

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found this grocery rewards card instead. the store gives me three. I only needed one. Nice heavy plastic sheet.

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make a little tab. Unfortunately I messed up on the stitching and ruined this nice yellow colored piece. I had to re cut another slice.

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stitched together.

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got the idea from a $1 lanyard on ebay. why buy when I have all this stuff in a junk hoard. Took 15 minutes.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by jacob »

Sclass wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:55 pm
... like everything, it would come out better if I tried a second time.
The curse of DIY one-offs :mrgreen: First version is always halfway between sucks and pretty aka good enough. I'm pretty sure that DIY youtubers NEVER showcase their first version :)

To cut plastic nicely, I prefer to use my scroll saw and cut it internally. (Drill a central hole, thread a high tpi saw blade through and cut it from there.) Depending on the plastic, it might benefit from covering the surfaces with tape.

Maybe drilling holes in the corners and using a [warm] utility knife to cut straight lines between them with also have worked. A chisel with some backing would be even better. It looks like you used shears?

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