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Unread 05-12-2015, 02:56 AM   #1
TheLadyCorsair
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Sewing Velvet Help- Do I need a special foot?

I'm trying to sew velvet (Not crushed or stretch, it's the spendy smooth non-stretchy stuff) on an old singer 401A machine with a typical solid metal foot.

I keep running into an issue when sewing the velvet right-sides together to make a seam - I end up with a bunch of little gathers or puckers down the seam instead of a smooth even seam. I've tried pinning the heck out of it (about one pin every 3/8 inch) but to no avail, it lessens but doesn't get rid of the problem.

I've read online that a rolling or walking foot is needed to properly sew velvet. Is that what I need here, or could it be another problem?
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Unread 05-12-2015, 08:41 AM   #2
ShinobiXikyu
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A walking foot is certainly a big factor in it sewing smoothly- I had the same problem when I used stretch velvet on my Luna gijinka. The only other thing I can mention, is how low is the shank of your machine? Sometimes extremely low/tight ones can make fabric really prone to shifting and bunching. I have that issue with my own machine, where the shank is quite low and thus it will struggle through anything thicker than two layers of fleece without me having to push it down to get it under the foot.
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Unread 05-12-2015, 09:32 AM   #3
lemuries
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I have a fancy machine with a walking foot built in, so I'm not sure I've run into this problem. If I have, it's been so long that I hardly remember what I did to handle it.

My first thought, though, is to have you hold the seam together in front and behind the foot to about 3-6" and then pull taut. Then run the fabric through the machine so that there's no play in the fabric. The trick is to get a feel for how fast the machine wants to pull the fabric through the process; you don't fight or help the motion, you just keep the fabric taut. It can take a while to get the technique down, but I don't see how the fabric could create puckers/tucks/creases if it has no play.
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Unread 05-12-2015, 02:24 PM   #4
TheLadyCorsair
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I believe the shank is pretty low and tight, I found out my machine has a tensioning knob to adjust the foot pressure, which will probably be helpful for future projects.

I managed to find a rolling foot here though, I think it'll be less hassle all around to just go ahead and get one since it's not that expensive.

Lemuries, that does sound like a good technique, only issue is on my machine the needle is highly prone to mis-alighnment if the fabric is pulled while sewing, which causes the Dreaded Crunching Noise and bobbin snarls.

Ah well, I've got other things I can work on while waiting for the new foot. I'll report on whether the roller foot works when I get it.
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Unread 05-12-2015, 03:42 PM   #5
Penlowe
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The foot pressure is adjustable on all machines, but not always where you can get at it easily. There is usually a door-like opening on the end of the machine to change the light bulb & oil it. This door is often held shut with a screw on older models. If your machine doesn't have an external foot pressure knob, then that is where you have to go to adjust the foot pressure. You will need your manual for specifics.

I'm afraid I haven't sewn velvet in a dogs age, I have no recollection of the finicky specifics.
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