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Unread 04-19-2013, 02:44 PM   #1
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A good needle for sewing UltraSuede?

As soon as I touched UltraSuede and started to use it a bit, I fell in love with the material. Unfortunately, soon after that, it killed all my Singer Titanium Needles.

Since UltraSuede obviously didn't like my Titanium needles, which worked on everything I ran it through (except actual leather). Is there a proper needle I have to use to make it work, with out having it die within 10 minutes of use?

If it means anything, I'm currently using a Singer Basic I picked up last year.

Thanks!
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Unread 04-20-2013, 02:20 AM   #2
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Okay, when you say ultra suede...you can mean (At least to me) 1 of 2 fabrics

1 a Polyester Microfiber suede that is double sided, super drapey and supple but super thin

2 a Polyester Microfiber suede used in upholstery, so it has more of a woven or nonwoven backing to it that makes it thicker, stiffer, and traditionally harder to work with.

For both, if you don't yet have a teflon foot for your machine I suggest you invest in one, especially if this will be a reoccuring fabric.

Teflon feet have what they sound like, A teflon coating. This helps the fabric slide along rather than being pulled along and chewed up by the feeddogs (The 2 little jagged teeth like pieces underneath the plate below the foot)

As for the needle issue, you might try you're general run of the mill universal Leather machine needles, as long as they fit your machine.

Sad story is that, because you're dealing with such a heavy duty fabric, if you are dealing with the one I think you are (Choice 2) then it could just be that your machine wasn't made to handle it.

Many machines after the late 1980's early 1990's, unless you were/are willing to invest a bit more, are not made with all metal parts. Meaning if you're using heavier duty fabrics like pleathers, leathers, denims, etc. you may have to look for a heavier duty machine...

But I'm not sure completely, because I haven't had to look in the market for machines...
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Unread 04-20-2013, 07:02 AM   #3
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When you say "have it die", what do you mean ? Are the needles snapping, what ?

I had needles snap during a project with sequinned fabric and the solution was to just sew slowly - I couldn't run at full tilt like I might with other things.

What kind of fabric you have will also make a difference. Is this a stretch knit or something with a heavy backing ?

Going slowly and/or hand-cranking might be what has to happen if the machine is not very strong like I suspect. I have a 1933 Singer that is "wow, this could really hurt someone" powerful, but my mom's machine from the 90s has plastic parts and could barely handle a gathered cape.
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Unread 04-20-2013, 12:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichigogami View Post
Okay, when you say ultra suede...you can mean (At least to me) 1 of 2 fabrics

1 a Polyester Microfiber suede that is double sided, super drapey and supple but super thin

2 a Polyester Microfiber suede used in upholstery, so it has more of a woven or nonwoven backing to it that makes it thicker, stiffer, and traditionally harder to work with.

For both, if you don't yet have a teflon foot for your machine I suggest you invest in one, especially if this will be a reoccuring fabric.

Teflon feet have what they sound like, A teflon coating. This helps the fabric slide along rather than being pulled along and chewed up by the feeddogs (The 2 little jagged teeth like pieces underneath the plate below the foot)

As for the needle issue, you might try you're general run of the mill universal Leather machine needles, as long as they fit your machine.

Sad story is that, because you're dealing with such a heavy duty fabric, if you are dealing with the one I think you are (Choice 2) then it could just be that your machine wasn't made to handle it.

Many machines after the late 1980's early 1990's, unless you were/are willing to invest a bit more, are not made with all metal parts. Meaning if you're using heavier duty fabrics like pleathers, leathers, denims, etc. you may have to look for a heavier duty machine...

But I'm not sure completely, because I haven't had to look in the market for machines...
Might have to invest in one of those then... Either way, my UltraSuede is the latter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelley View Post
When you say "have it die", what do you mean ? Are the needles snapping, what ?
You got it, needles snap.
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Unread 04-21-2013, 07:02 AM   #5
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Yup. the problem is not the needles but the power (or more specifically LACK of power) of the machine itself. The teflon foot will ease the burden on your gearing a good bit, but beyond that, slowing down significantly will allow you to complete your current projects.

Basically, if your machine were a car, it would be a Mini Cooper. Which are fun and cute and zippy... so long at your passenger and driver aren't sumo wrestlers trying to tow a yacht. Does that clarify the situation better?

Keep that machine for it's portability and light weight projects, but start shopping for something capable of heavy duty sewing before you burn up your current one. The Janome Jean Machine is a very affordable heavy duty machine, or look on your local cragis list for something from 1970 or older, those old machines will be solid and very capable of doing the kind of sewing you are up to.
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Unread 04-23-2013, 12:12 AM   #6
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Interesting, makes complete sense though.

With that said. I'm in the market for one of those $1000 costing Computer Embroidery Machines. Are they generally heavy duty enough for this stuff? (as I rather not be the owner of four sewing machines...)
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Unread 04-23-2013, 12:40 PM   #7
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Some are, some are only for embroidery... Make sure that you have a local dealer who deals in the machine if you're getting a specialized one like that though. If you have a dealer, it's likely they will teach you a basic class with your machine and then also are more informative when it comes to the innards (you'll want mostly or ALL Metal innards) and the capabilities of the machine, plus you can call them up when you have questions not answered in the manual.

There is also the chance that if you ever need it serviced or replaced, dealers are more likely to do that.

You can buy a second hand vintage tank, but since you're wanting embroidery, I think my friend got a nice huskvarna machine that does both for around that price...
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Unread 04-23-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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Ah, okay, cool. There is some hope then! Thanks!
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Unread 04-25-2013, 06:30 PM   #9
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Yes, there are machines that are both heavy duty and will do fancy embroidery but they also cost well over the $1000 you mentioned. That kind of machine is going to list somewhere closer to $3000.

The good news is: if you've got $1000 stashed for a sewing machine, I'd spend $900 on an embroidery machine and $100 (or less) on a vintage tank for all your heavy duty needs. Not wearing out a delicately geared expensive machine is well worth the effort of finding homes for two machines in your home.
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Unread 04-26-2013, 03:14 AM   #10
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^ yep, that.
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Unread 04-26-2013, 12:01 PM   #11
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The tank machines are that cheap? Hell yeah. That sounds like a plan I can get behind.

Any specific terms I should use when looking for these? Thanks!
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Unread 04-27-2013, 02:39 AM   #12
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I would just look for older, all-metal machines and do some research as to which are popular and reviews and such. See something that looks good ? Google the model, et cetera. That's what I did for mine - I got it for $20 local pickup on eBay and got it fixed for $60. It technically worked when I got it, but it had some issues which the guy that fixed it guessed came from it being stored for a long time.

The thing, though, is that you need someone who is a real repair person who understands sewing machines - not someone in a chain store who has no clue about your machine and the base mechanics and will just try to sell you a new one.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 04:03 AM   #13
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If you want a good sturdy machine for sewing heavy materials, look for something from 1960 or before. The last Singer sewing machine that was made with all metal parts was the Singer 500A, released in 1960. If you can get your hands on one of those, I really suggest it. It was an industrial strength machine made for home use - and you can tell in the stitching. When they were marketed, they were guaranteed to last 100 years. So far, mine is holding true to that and sews like a dream.

That's not to say that a Kenmore from 1960 isn't as good. I am just less familiar with them. All of my machines, with the exception of my embroidery machine, are vintage Singers. So those are what I know.

The best places to look for the antique machines are yard sales and thrift stores. I got mine, built in table included, for $20 at a yard sale. Just be cautious to guarantee that it works before you buy, because not all repair places have the know-how for vintage machines. For example, the closest authorized Singer repair place is a 4 hour drive from where I am.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 07:49 AM   #14
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I'm reading this thread with interest because I also am starting an ultrasuede project. Note to self: wear goggles in case of flying needle bits.

I have already noticed while pinning fabric pieces that the thickness of the pins really seems to be important -- my good heavy old pins meet a lot of resistance but the skinny cheap dollar-store pins go in much more easily. Hey, they're good for something after all. Using a thinner needle seems counterintuitive but might help in terms of making your machine's job easier. I'm going to try that route myself.

My machine is a late '60s or early '70s Bernina. (The most recent review in the sewing machine review thread, under the username Indefatigable, is mine.) I expect horsepower is not going to be a problem here but I'll let folks know how it goes.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 09:20 AM   #15
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Bernina are the Mercedes-Benz of the sewing machine world. Always worth taking care of it if you've got one.
Pfaff = Volkswagon
Husqvarna = Volvo
Singer before 1980 = Ford
Janome = Toyota
Singer after 1980 = Yugo
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