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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello group,

  I already posted in a Kenmore group but not getting traction on this so want also to post in V.S.S.

  I've been studying pages on sewing active wear and knits (stretchy stuff that makes life difficult with domestic sewing machines).  Even found a free e-book that was pretty cool.

  There are a few stretch stitches on the vintage machine, Elna/Kenmore/Singer is what we have here with the Singer not double disc capable or forward/back leaving the Elna and Kenmore machines double disc capable.  

  One stitch I've seen mentioned several times in several sources is the lightning bolt stitch.  Imagine a zig zag that also does a little forward/back work like a lightning bolt.  It makes sense to me.  Some of the sights like a multi step zig zag to avoid tunneling in some cases.  Walking feet (ok not really but more correct an even feed foot) recommended as well on these applications.  

  So, I'm polling to ask about this mysterious stitch we cannot do here and to ask at same time if anyone believes one of the Elna or Kenmore C cams can do one just as good (most specifically a Kenmore C cam like cam number 40?).  

  We have plenty of industrials that do the job specifically but I'm interested in doing this on domestics also so sewers can train and I can even lend a machine for same purposes.  

  The other thought after reading about some folks that are cnc milling cams on mdf board and the likes is to make two cams in a similar fashion and pin them together for a homebrew/diy lightning bolt stitch....or is it even worth it?  We have a 4 axis cnc mill here or in reality a design could be printed on paper and done by hand with a dremel then pinned together/epoxy glued the two pieces.  Lots of simple options there if it is worth the time.

One of the sights I've really found useful is DIBY (do it better yourself dot com).  They have a free e-book written by the blogger/owner of sight as well as a facebook group and youtube channel with a ton of educational sewing videos directed at sewers of non woven knit and activewear.  I'm also considering joining the facebook group but this site is so amazing am posting here (besides also the Kenmore group so hope I'm not violating a rule and if so please forgive).

Best regards,
Mike


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #2 
Melissa at fehrtrade designs her own activewear and does education and workshops directed for domestic homesewers.  She even addresses sewing activewear without a serger and only a zigzag.  Her info on fabric and resources is also good.

Check out: http://blog.fehrtrade.com


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Mavis

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Reply with quote  #3 
u-tube is a good friend to have for lots of eductional items.  Don't know anything helpful, but just had to chime in that, as a quilter whose used to only sewing cotton fabric, tackling a project for a Labor Day wedding just about brought me my knees.  Earlier in the summer, my daughter volunteered me to do necessary alterations on her bridesmaid dress.  The taffeta type material does not behave like cotton!  Yikes!  I literally had to walk away from the project several times before successfully hemming three layers of dress as well as opening up the shoulder seams, getting ruffle out of the way, and shortening the straps.  Had my fingers crossed the whole evening that everything held up.  It did!  Hurray!
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Reply with quote  #4 
From my understanding, the stitches seem to be a little stretchier if they have a back stitch built in. (Isn't that the purpose of the double level cam as it has followers that make the stitch forward and reverse on the same cam?) Do you have a machine that use the "40" cam? Yes, it does appear to be different than the lightning bolt stitch, as it back stitches on alternate sides. I'm thinking if you have the cam and a machine it will work in, that if you can narrow the width as small as possible, that it will give a good stretchy stitch.

I have heard that just a very narrow .5 width of zigzag at about 2.5 length that will work for knits and still give a decent looking seam. Some have called it a "wobble Stitch."

Janey






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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #5 
Mike,

I was working on making a stitch sampler today for my Elna (Star Series 62) that take the same cams as the Supermatic.  There are lots of combo stitches you can make by using a double cam along with the internal cams - for example one cam has the potential to make 7 different stitches - none of this is really outlined in a good references - thus I was making a sampler.

Anyway, as I was doing this, when I used cam #107 (feather stitch) and set the stitch width to "0" I got a beautiful triple straight stitch (two stitches forward, one stitch back).  Many folks use the triple straight stitch as a stretch stitch for knits and especially for hemming knits. (there also were a lot of other stitches I was able to get the could potentially be used for a stretch stitch).  A great thing about seaming with a straighter type stitch is it looks much better from the outside and one can press open the seams if desired.

You may also want to consider side by side twin needles with a low bobbin tension using wooly nylon bobbin thread.

I have also heard that low tension VS machines are excellent for sewing jersey knit just using a straight stitch since the stitch formed on these machines has more give.  Some day I would love to get my Singer 128 up and running to give this a try.
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #6 
thanks for all the input.   I am currently thinking to try my hand at making a lightning bolt double layer cam for one of our Kenmores that take type C cams.  I can keep everyone updated if I take the plunge on that project.  Best regards, Mike
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JustGail

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Reply with quote  #7 
I've used both lightning (aka straight stretch) stitch and small zig-zag (aka wobble) stitch on knits.  There are those who sew knits using regular straight stitch with a bit longer stitch length and have no issues.  I'm thinking they were not talking about fabrics with a lot of stretch.  I would not trust it for stretchy swim suit fabrics for example.

I will stick with wobble stitch as removing lightning stitch can be a Royal PITA, if not impossible, at least for me.  I have used both a .5 and 1.0 zig-zag stitch width on rayong-spandex and poly-spandex tops (25% stretch???), with no tunneling issues.  IMHO, if tunneling is happening, it's not a wobble stitch [smile].  If I were exploring making cams, the triple zig-zag would be my choice.

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #8 
I am surprised that nobody has brought up the G&B Double chainstitch (and associated glove stitching machines.  The stitch is elastic.
[image]

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Amatino

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Reply with quote  #9 
Zorba might weigh in here too, but for my part, I sew a LOT of stretchy fabrics for belly dance costumes and hate that lightning bolt stitch! It never seems to work for me - EVER! On the contrary, I found that a zigzag stitch is the best option, set with a very narrow stitch width, and sometimes just a straight stitch that I go slow with and stretch the fabric as I sew it. You can also buy an elastic thread that you use with a normal straight stitch (available in stores all over the place, but here's the Amazon link for the info: https://www.amazon.com/Coats-Eloflex-Stretch-Thread-225yd-natural/dp/B074N7SBT9/ref=asc_df_B074N7SBT9/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=242021467415&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5358228626836026902&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9027978&hvtargid=pla-553153948790&psc=1)

Sometimes I do a combination of the straight stitch with the fabric stretched and a zigzag stitch right next to it for added strength. And sometimes I just sew with the longest possible stitch length on a straight stitch, if the area that I'm sewing is not likely to be subject to stretch, like on the sides of a skirt panel where there's a side slit. For the hem edge of the slit, there's not really any stretch required at all, and it's the stretch that will pop the stitches. I recently did a suuuuuuuper stretchy fabric mermaid skirt and the skirt seams (7 seams in total) were all done with a zigzag of width 1.0 and length 3.0  - it has survived some serious abuse! 

When cutting out my stretch pattern pieces, I save ALL the leftovers and do multiple test runs on the pieces, trying different stitch types, lengths and widths. Each seam is stretched to the max in as many different directions as possible before I finally decide on my final stitch pattern. It adds a little time, but it's worth it in the end. And I always try the lightning stitch and never use it. I don't know why I still bother to try, but I do. Insane, perhaps? 
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #10 
Surely there's a cam for that.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #11 
I've heard amazing things about the elasticity of chain stitches and I like seeing the photo of the double chainstitch.  Maybe it's not too practical for most folks having one of these machines?  Although there are lots of vintage machines that do a lock stitch along with a chain stitch - but I hear most folks use the chain stitching for temporary stitches.  But in production chain stitching is everywhere.

As I mentioned prior, some of the VS machines are reported to have a more elastic straight stitch.  It would be interesting to hear from anyone if they use their VS machine for knits.

Getting back to Mike's issue, I was curious about the stitch options for knits as I have some garment project plans in the near future using some jersey.  I don't have a chain stitch machine nor a VS so have to work with what I have.

Both Singer slant 400 series and my Elna have a multi stitch zigzag.  For seaming I do not want to use this stitch.  So it's either a wobble stitch or a triple straight stitch for me.

I can do a triple straight stitch only on my Elna using the feather stitch cam and setting the stitch width to zero.  Since this took me a while to figure out (and it's not in any manual) I've attached a photo showing the feather stitch on the right and then followed by using this double cam with the built in cam stitches (essentially a triple cam) - these are the stitches to the left of the feather stitch.  The far left shows three rows of straight stitching- the middle straight stitch is normal - the stitching on either side is a triple straight stitch.  My bobbin thread is yellow - I always use a different color bobbin thread for testing.  And you can see a bit peeking through on some stitches so my tension does need a small adjustment.

I then did some testing on my mid-weight jersey fabric.  The next photo is triple straight stitch followed by a .5 width wobble and a .8 width wobble.  The is done on the lengthwise (to mimic a seam).  I then did a 40% stretch.  Both the wobble stitches broke - but in fairness I was using cotton thread.  The triple straight stitch was stronger than the wobble stitches using this thread.

The next photo shows the triple straight stitch sewn crosswise.

Another issue to consider is the type of needle to use on these vintage machines.  Interestingly for me, neither my stretch needle nor ball point needle worked as well on my Elna as a universal needle.  The feed dogs on my Elna are very robust and one cannot adjust the pressure foot pressure (it is automatic) so maybe this has something to do with it.

So for my project I will use the triple straight stitch and twin needle stitching for the hems.

Prior to making cams I would try to test different stitches on different fabric combos and needles along with using a machine with the feed dogs that the cams will be used on. Just the stitch type alone may not be the only variable impacting the bottom line.

elna feather stitch.jpg  lenghtwise knit stitches.jpg  cross wise knit triple stitch.jpg 





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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #12 
This topic is starting to get traction and I'm grateful for that.  I owe some background for more discussion.  First, we do  needle double thread chain stitch very ancient walking foot machine that is quite tiny and about as small of a bed space as it gets as it is designed for a guide on the right.  I've seen them advertised for shoe/sandal work coming out of ebay and usually they are only a couple hundred dollars.  It has a cool red felt with cast iron for use with silicone oil on the thread.  We also have a glove machine like Steve mentioned but it is on my list as I've honestly not used it yet (shame shame on me I know).  And we have multiple Union Special chain stitch machines that can do 2 and up needles.  One of them is a flat bed with 4 needles chain stitch at 1/4 inch spacing for outside to outside needle of 3/4 inches.      

What I'm trying to do is come up with solutions using classic (but newer) all steel machines such as our Singer 600e, two Singer 401a's, two (and soon to be three) Kenmore 158.1914's, Kenmore 158.1060, three Elna Supermatic 62c's.  All these machines have the usual stretch stitches of the day in various amounts.   Since we have these machines and they aren't being used hardly at all I want to use them for both training and to allow sewers to learn/work on personal projects.  One of our machines I'm even going to loan out for this purpose.  It just makes sense to me.  Most of these sewers want to work with stretchy material to make stuff like swim suits, athletic wear, and also to make stuff for daily wear.  Again, this all makes sense to me as folks here are very utilitarian and many are craftsy types.  My original intention is to still use one of the domestics set up for single thread basting chain sewing.

  This link is really really good and shows stretch testing of different stitches.  It doesn't include the lightning bolt stitch which I also read is so hard to take out.  When I find pages on making stuff like swim suits, exercise clothes, and even one for making bras (but they look more like swim suit uppers for bikinis or exercise almost) I see universally that not just one stretch stitch is used but more of a variety and that a domestic can get the job done but just differently of course than a domestic would.  Link below.  Best regards, Mike      https://mellysews.com/types-stretch-stitches-sewing-knits/
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #13 
Mike- What fun work you are doing - getting those machines in use!

I don't have a Kenmore but both my Elna 62C and Singer 401 seem a bit finicky with sewing knits and it takes a bit to get all the stars aligned for each type of knit fabric.- presser foot pressure, needle, thread, stitch, tension. My Necchi Supernova is a bit better and easier but does not have some of the utility stitches - it's strength is really decorative with lots of customization ability.  Just passing this along since you wouldn't want to frustrate a beginner.  I like Amatino's comments about testing the fabric on each project.

Thanks for the mellysews link.  The stitch she refers to as a stretch stitch is actually the lightening bolt stitch - this is more apparent as she talks in the video than the blog.

Keep us updated on how your training is going.
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hi Chaly,

  For the Kenmore 158.1914 machines I ordered two original super high shank even feed feet (walking feet but not really).  I also ordered sets of feet that use the adaptor and have roller feet with them.  One friend who I discussed the subject with mentioned using roller feet allot.  If we practice surely we can get it figured out but avoiding negative feedback to a new sewer is very important.  I'm thinking that it is a good and positive approach for now but we can always cheat and go to the specific duty machines (cover stitch, overlock, double thread chain stitch, merrow machines set up as a diy active wear seam, and soon even a feed off arm flatlock).  Anyways I am doing "too much talk and not enough rock" on the subject so we will try some testing tomorrow and give a little feedback.  Unfortunately, I can't yet try the roller feet or even feed feet as we have a long supply chain so I get to fail a little first and then hopefully succeed from there 😉  Will give some update(s). 

Best regards, Mike
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #15 
Hello group,

  I just found this really good link that is a down loadable .pdf It really goes into the details and solutions in a scientific manner.   It is from the Amann group (high end thread manufactuer).  Talks about the three types of pucker when sewing the seams and the different approaches to minimize the problems associated. 

Best regards, Mike


file:///Users/admin/Documents/PreventSeamPucker.pdf
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #16 
Hello/good evening,  OK the Mrs. is sewing some costumes for upcoming Halloween and asked me to go out with her to use one of our Merrow machines to do some work (3 thread m-3dw-4).  After that I scored some thin and stretchy holloween material.  It is that thin black stuff that is used for witch costumes but this one has some metallic and red sewn into the lining and edges by the Mrs.  Took my sample straight to the Kenmore 158.1914 then changed to a red polyester tex24/ticket 120 and a size 11 needle from Organ.  Sewed a straight stitch and when pulling it the threads immediately broke.  The two stitches that had great success was the triple forward/backward stitch set to a width of 1.0 like a wobble and 12 stitches per inch and then the one that looks like a honeycomb lattice set to a width of 2.0 and slightly higher stitches per inch (have to guess but maybe 15?).  Both of these stitches had zero puckering but I very lightly pulled on the material to make it feed straight.  Did this in the maximum direction of material stretch and minimum direction of material stretch.   We have a 3 needle 4 thread Janome coverpro 2000cpx.  It had mild puckering but likely that is a tension and differential feed issue to be worked out.  I'm thinking that honeycomb stitch is next best tried on the Singer 401a with dual needles.  If it looks anywhere as nice as what came out on the Kennie 158.1914 I'll have something that can be taken to the bank for stretch material work.  More to follow.  We have the sewer coming tomorrow and I believe with this success it will be a real bonus here for morale and training.  Best regards, Mike

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Amatino

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Reply with quote  #17 
I have to check out that honeycomb stitch. I don't remember that one. The triple stitch is one that has worked for me, but I didn't know about the honeycomb. Sounds like it gives a pretty finish too, great for hems!
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #18 
Hi Amatino,  I called it a honeycomb because it looks like that to me but it is not the correct term.  My Kenmore 158.1060 manual calls it a "smocking stretch" stitch while the 158.1914 manual only calls it a smocking stitch.  The look of it can be changed that is for certain with adjustments.  I want to figure out how a soluble stabilizer can improve things.  My thought is if a water soluble stabilizer may be put on both upper and lower outsides of fabric then the stretchy fabric will be sandwiched between it and dissolve with water giving both an improved surface for the feed dog and presser foot while the stabilized portion would be better for consistent design.  One would have to soak and likely wash the garment before it could be used.  Not sure if this is a good idea and if it has been done before.   Best regards, Mike
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Christy

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Reply with quote  #19 
I've never ventured into super stretchy things but have always used my Elna with the #163 cam for attaching ribbed collars to T-shirts.  It works great for that.  It does that honeycomb looking stitch and you can trim off the excess and have a nice finished look.


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susieQ

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Reply with quote  #20 
I haven't been following this, but the "lightning stitch" with the 2 forward, one back and a long diagonal on one side was supposed to be a stitch which combines an "unbreakable" seam stitch with a seam finish.  The "two forward, one back" stitch was created to make seams that would not pop and come apart when stretched.  And it is indeed difficult to remove without ruining the fabric.  You don't use it until your are dead sure your seam is correct!

Apologies if this has been stated before.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #21 
I was doing some twin needle sewing today to test how this would work for my upcoming project -to hem a medium weight knit jersey fabric.

I compared my Singer 421G (same basic functions as Singer 401,403, and 500 series) and my Elna 62C (Star Series).

On both machines I got tunneling and some skipped stitches.  Then I used some Wonder Tape - this works to both stabilize and adhere the hem before sewing and it is water soluble.
The results were perfect on both machines with the Wonder Tape - no puckering, skipped stitches, or tunneling.

See photos.  The red and yellow twin stitching is from the Elna - a 4mm width using universal size 12 twin needles.  The pink stitching is from the Singer - a 2mm width using two regular universal size 12 needles.

The Singer has the advantage of using regular needles but one cannot adjust the width so you can only do narrow 2mm wide twin stitching.  The manual states not to move the stitch width past "2" for straight stitch twin needle sewing.

The Elna takes twin needles up to a "3" width which I think is the setting for the 4mm twin needles.  So with Elna you could use a narrower twin needle if you wanted a 2mm result - a bit more flexibility.

For both machines the stitching held for the full stretch of the fabric - no popped stitches!

I've done some twin needle stitching prior on my Singers but only on woven fabrics.  I am pleasantly pleased with the results and can see many applications for knits using this technique.  Another practical use for our vintage machines - and I think most vintage zig-zaggers are twin needle capable.

twin needle stitching.jpg  twin needle back.jpg 



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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy
I've never ventured into super stretchy things but have always used my Elna with the #163 cam for attaching ribbed collars to T-shirts.  It works great for that.  It does that honeycomb looking stitch and you can trim off the excess and have a nice finished look.



Christy,

Thanks for pointing out cam #163.  I just have a handful of cams so was not aware of this one - it looks like it would be a really practical cam to have so I'll have to be on the lookout for one.

As I was looking through my manual, it mentioned cam #149 and I do have this one and tried it for seaming knits and it worked really nice - but not has wide as your #163.  Have you used cam #149?

Here's the info:

page10image1795552



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Christy

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Reply with quote  #23 
Chaly,  I didn't have that one back when I was making T's for my boys.  I probably have it now out of that crazy need to collect but haven't tried it!  [crazy]
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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #24 


Front loaders, yes. End loaders, no they can't use twin needles.(With the exception of Necchi of course but it isn't side by side stitching)

Cari



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pgf

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Reply with quote  #25 
Darn it!  Every time I think I can really get rid of one of my machines, along comes a reason to keep it.  I have exactly one machine that can do stretchy stitches -- no cams, but it has a bunch built in.  Plus, though I have two zig-zag capable machines, that one is the only one that's a front loader, and can therefore use a twin needle.  Since the other machine is my mother's, I now have to keep both.

Thanks a lot.  Sheesh.  I've got to quit reading threads I know nothing about.  :-)

paul

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #26 
Hi Paul,

  I always second guess myself about every tool purchase and later am happy I got it.  For me sewing machines are just another tool.  Nowadays wovens are almost outnumbered by knits.  We just bought another machine today which is a 230v Frister and Rossman Cub 7 with original purchase paperwork dating it to 1979.  It is essentially a Kenmore 158.1060 but actually has a case which the Kenmore doesn't have and we are 230v/60hz mains here.  As soon as I get it I'm taking it apart to confirm it has the pulley reduction and 1.0 amp motor.  We like our 158.1060 and 158.1914's.  Both are free arm so maybe in the future will be a flat bed equivalent either an 1802, 1803 or 1814.    Tonight I'm experimenting with clear Elmer's school glue that is washable.  Bought a gallon in the city and bought 4 off-brand equivalents that are small tubes with applicators that can be refilled.  Also bought out of China 10 rolls of .23 double sided washable seam tape that are 21 yards (or maybe it was meters) per roll for 21 clams and free shipping.  We are setting up for sewing stretchy stuff for fun using domestics in hopes we can get young folks hooked on sewing and they then can become sewers on industrials.  Tried heat on the glue but it looks like air drying is the ticket with this stuff.  With the school glue sticks they can be ironed right away and it works well but likely not as good of a stabilizer.  Really like the stretched smock stitch, triple stitch, and the elastic stretch stitch all built into these machines.  No lightning bolt stitch here so a wobble version of the triple stitch will suffice.  I read that the lightning bolt stitch wasn't popularized until the 80's and after the demise of the all metal 158's.

  Best regards, Mike
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #27 
In fact, my multi-stitch machine is a Kenmore 158.19460, so of similar vintage to the machines you're describing.  (Oh...  perhaps you knew that already.)
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly

Cari - thanks for clarifying.  And of course with the Necchi - the twin needle front/back sewing is decorative only - not a utility meant for sewing knits.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf
Darn it!  Every time I think I can really get rid of one of my machines, along comes a reason to keep it..
paul


I'm having the same challenge.  I'm working real hard to just have 5 machines that will do everything I need for sewing and I don't think I can do it.  I'm pretty particular on certain functions and many times a certain machine will surpass all others in a specific task or offer something the others don't provide.  I think my final keepers will be 8-10 vintage domestic machines plus a serger.
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #30 
Hi Chaly,

  aahhh yes, only one serger.  Never could do that around here that is for certain.  We are currently accumulating specialty industrial sergers quicker than recent buys on industrial sewing machines.  And we are waiting for an 8 piece set of feet to arrive for our Juki mo-654de that is a domestic.  Sergers of course bring up a whole new realm of possibilities with stretch materials and work so well in tandem.  

  I agree with the domestics not doing it all and it seems to me the sticking point is that if I could just get one of our Kenmore machines to take a double needle in same fashion as the Singer 401a, 600e etc it would be a clincher for me.  I've often wondered if I can take a needle clamp from a 401a and somehow put it on a low shank like our Kenmore 158.1060 or our soon to arrive sister machine the Frister and Rossman cub 7 (I think it internally is the same machine but waiting for arrival to confirm it has a double pulley like the 1060).  The Cub 7 has a 230v motor and a case.  They made them after the 1060 was no longer made so I think it was improved upon.  If I can buy a needle clamp from a parted out 401a or similar and put it on that machine just maybe I'd have the ultimate portable that also does the ultimate range of sewing.

Best regards,
Mike
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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #31 
Hi Chaly,

  aahhh yes, only one serger.  Never could do that around here that is for certain.  We are currently accumulating specialty industrial sergers quicker than recent buys on industrial sewing machines.  And we are waiting for an 8 piece set of feet to arrive for our Juki mo-654de that is a domestic.  Sergers of course bring up a whole new realm of possibilities with stretch materials and work so well in tandem.  

  I agree with the domestics not doing it all and it seems to me the sticking point is that if I could just get one of our Kenmore machines to take a double needle in same fashion as the Singer 401a, 600e etc it would be a clincher for me.  I've often wondered if I can take a needle clamp from a 401a and somehow put it on a low shank like our Kenmore 158.1060 or our soon to arrive sister machine the Frister and Rossman cub 7 (I think it internally is the same machine but waiting for arrival to confirm it has a double pulley like the 1060).  The Cub 7 has a 230v motor and a case.  They made them after the 1060 was no longer made so I think it was improved upon.  If I can buy a needle clamp from a parted out 401a or similar and put it on that machine just maybe I'd have the ultimate portable that also does the ultimate range of sewing.

Best regards,
Mike
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Reply with quote  #32 
Back when polyester double knit was almost the only fabric available to sew garments, I lived in small Iowa county seat towns with populations of 2000-3000. I used my Elna SU to sew garments for my young daughter and myself. I am not near that machine at the moment, but I do remember using two double cams. One cam produced _/_/_/_/ stitch and the other produced XXXXX stitch. I think I used the first stitch cam for heavier fabrics and the second stitch for lightweight fabrics. Tunneling was a problem with the second stitch. Polyester double knits wore like iron and so did my stitching.

And then came the "Rag Stitch" which became very popular for casual or sporty garments. It was a combination of a cam and a built in stitch. 

I remember the dealer promising that stitch cams would always be available for purchase.

I purchased the machine in 1971 from a Elna dealer in southwest Iowa. The owner delivered the machine and table and provided quick lessons. They also provided free classes in their shop. I traded in my New Home and its table because no one needs more than one sewing machine. I still use my Elna SU and recently took it to a modern quilt workshop. 

I told Weeks Ringle, the instructor, that I collect vintage and antique sewing machines. She loudly announced that unlike most Americans, she does not collect anything! She does not want to take care of a collection! And implied that I should not either collect or want to collect! I was speechless and replied that she was a minimalist and I was a maximalist. 

-Phyllis in Iowa



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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #33 
Hi Phyllis in beautiful Iowa,

  I have been googling to try to find out what a rag stitch is.  Can you tell me more ?

Best regards,
Mike
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Phyllis1115

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Reply with quote  #34 
Mike-   I need to dredge the information from depths of my brain as this was nearly 50 years ago. I'll sit down with one of my Elna SUs soon. 

Iowa is beautiful in a peaceful, serene fertile land manner.  -Phyllis in Iowa

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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amatino
Zorba might weigh in here too, but for my part, I sew a LOT of stretchy fabrics for belly dance costumes and hate that lightning bolt stitch!

I generally try to avoid stretch fabrics, they're  a PITA and I'm not exactly the Goddess's gift to sewing either. I'm not sure what stitch is being talked about here - is it the blind hem stitch?

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Shutzstaffel!

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #36 
We will do more testing with the clear soluble Elmer's glue a friend said she uses. It really thickens it up and glues everything together.  I think it will work quite well from observations but of course will require quite a bit of soaking and a wash likely after the item has been sewn.  I want to try using a paint brush to apply it where the seam will be.   I'm waiting for the double sided soluble 0.23 inch tape to arrive (10 rolls, 20 meters long for 21 dollars free shipping).   I have found a web site that actually measures stretch and recovery for different types of stitches, spi, and widths.  The narrow (wobble) stitches in the 2.0 to 1.0 width range seem to work best from the initial testing.   There are some blogs out there where folks are making exercise clothes (mostly from patterns purchased), lingerie, bras, swim wear using the vintage machines that either have built in stretch stitches or use cams so it does work.

Best regards,
Mike


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #37 
This has been a great thread - I’ve garnered a lot and will now share a few things I’ve learned from my latest work.
 
I normally do not sew a lot with knits but have a few pending projects out of necessity.  This is my first and most urgent project.  I desperately needed a long sleeve, cool top to wear for my gardening that protects me from the sun and those nasty fire ants we have here in Florida.  Every time I wear short sleeves or shorts or sandals without socks I am sure to get bitten.  And my last bite was a pretty severe reaction so no gardening until I have protective gear!
 
I’ve also made a commitment last year to sew all my own clothes - use up my fabric stash (and related supplies)- and take advantage of all the functions of my vintage machines (including no purchase of any modern machine).
 
So, in this spirit, I found in my stash a perfect fabric for my needs - a tissue weight silk jersey.  I also had a Burda Style magazine with the perfect turtleneck pattern.  I found the right thread weight in my stash ( a silk 100 wt - although not a perfect color match), Groz-Beckert (this brand just cause I had the right size) Universal size 10 needle, a 4mm Schmetz Universal twin needle, Wonder Tape, and Madeira Avalon Ultra wash away stabilizer.
 
I used my Elna 62C because I wanted a wider 4mm double stitch for the hems and my only other machines that do twin stitching are my Singers which allow for only a 2mm double stitch.  I used the Elna stitches from cam 152 for the overcasting and cam 107 for the triple straight stitch.  
 
This was very challenging fabric to work with because of its light weight. It curled and slipped and stretched at every opportunity.  After much trial and error this is what worked for me:
 
-Use size 10 universal needle with very lightweight silk thread - the thread melted into the fabric producing seams with very little bulk.
- Secure seams with Wonder Tape, use 1/4” seam allowance, overcast with Elna cam 152.  This cam produced little bulk with the type of overcast.  No puckering or skipped stitches with the Wonder Tape.
-Use triple stretch straight stitch to topstitch armscye seam for extra strength (Elna cam 107).
- Use Elna twin needle stitching for sleeve and bottom hems.  This took me three attempts!  At first I used Wonder Tape to secure hem and add stability.  This looked great at first but when I washed the turtleneck, I got the dreaded tunneling.  I then did a double hem - same dreaded tunneling.  I then lowed my bobbin tension to the lowest point (without bypassing the tension spring), lowered top tension and used a thicker water soluble stabilizer (Avalon Ultra).
The stitching had no tunneling either before or after the wash.  Lucky for me the pattern has very long sleeves with a bunched up style so I was able to just cut off my mistakes - same with the hem - there was enough length to work with.  
- I used the “wrong” side of the knit fabric for my right side (helped with the direction of the curling).
 
There may be other better Elna cams for overcasting but this is what I had.  Also, the Singer cam 22 with the overcast foot would have worked but I did not want to set up two machines for this project (and my Singers do not do the triple straight stitch).
 
It would be interesting to know from others which of their vintage machines work out best for modern fabrics particularly  stretch performance fabrics.  I have a few more projects pending and always learn from others how they use their machines.
(For further details on this project see: https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/159868&nbsp[wink]

turtleneck.jpg  seam overcast.jpg  hem stabilizer.jpg  bottomhem.jpg 

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #38 
Hi Chaly,

  Thanks very much for your detailed documentation of the fixes on your work piece.  This is what I needed and I believe strongly this will help so many others.  We have three Elna Supermatics here and I have not allowed them to be "liked" much because typically focus on canvas and denim which these were obviously not made for.  Now I have a reason to like the Elna machines.  We do have two of the hard to find double needle adaptors for the Elna machines.  Since this thread started I did buy out of the U.K. a Frister and Rossman Cub 7.  Basically the Kenmore 158.1060 with a case added to it for all intensive purposes coming out of the same factory but the bonus for me is that it's 230v which is what we have here (230v/60hz).   The Singers, Kenmores, and Elnas now can all be available for this use.  We will most definitely have industrials to get this job done as well but what you are doing is fine artisan work and amazing. We will now be able to "try" to do as good as you.  Many can also benefit from this.  I've read threads and blogs that are dispersed in different places but this one is a real bonus for certain.  Now to double check the collection of Elna cams to ensure we have the ones you listed. 

Best regards, Mike
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba



I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Shutzstaffel!


Another history lesson for me and I'll never feel the same about lightening bolt motifs again!


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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ke6cvh
Hi Chaly,

  Thanks very much for your detailed documentation of the fixes on your work piece.  This is what I needed and I believe strongly this will help so many others.  We have three Elna Supermatics here and I have not allowed them to be "liked" much because typically focus on canvas and denim which these were obviously not made for.  Now I have a reason to like the Elna machines.  We do have two of the hard to find double needle adaptors for the Elna machines.  Since this thread started I did buy out of the U.K. a Frister and Rossman Cub 7.  Basically the Kenmore 158.1060 with a case added to it for all intensive purposes coming out of the same factory but the bonus for me is that it's 230v which is what we have here (230v/60hz).   The Singers, Kenmores, and Elnas now can all be available for this use.  We will most definitely have industrials to get this job done as well but what you are doing is fine artisan work and amazing. We will now be able to "try" to do as good as you.  Many can also benefit from this.  I've read threads and blogs that are dispersed in different places but this one is a real bonus for certain.  Now to double check the collection of Elna cams to ensure we have the ones you listed. 

Best regards, Mike


You certainly have lots of projects in the the works, Mike.  But it all seems like fun and enjoyable work.

I hope the Elnas work out for you.  The only thing I can say is for folks to test test test.  Every knit fabric is different.  What has worked for me may not be the solution for all stretch fabrics.  I think one has to do what's feasible to stabilize the fabric and get it to move evenly (without stretch) with the feed dogs - this would include remaining stable with certain stitches to avoid puckering and tunneling.  This could be done several ways - stabilizer, foot pressure, roller foot, teflon foot, knit foot, walking foot, tensions.  Then also one wants to be certain the sewing will conform/stretch with the fabric - this involves needle, thread, stitch types and tension.  There's lots to play with but once it is all worked out it is not hard.
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JonesHand52

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Reply with quote  #41 
The lightning bolts are not actually lightning bolts when connected with the Schutzstaffel. Those are runes, not lightning bolts. As concerns the SS and the Nazis, it's a damn shame that they chose the swastika as their symbol since it was - and still is - a popular motif in many countries and cultures and has been for centuries. The swastika motif woven in a series makes an impressive, ancient border design. 

One of our US Army divisions once acutally had the swastika as their insignia. The 45th Division (Thunderbirds) started out with a swastika, but since they adopted it Hitler came to power and there was reason to change it. Since this division chose the swastika because it was used as an old American Indian symbol, the switch was made to the Indian thunderbird. The 45th Division was mostly raised in the Southwest US. The famous cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the GI newspaper of WW2, Bill Mauldin was in the 45th Division. 



swastika.gif  Swastika jewelry.jpg  swastika_mining_and_milling_company_stock_certificate_resized.jpg  45th Division shoulder patches - Swastika and Thunderbird.jpg  45th Division Insignia.jpg 

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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #42 
Bruce,

Thanks for passing along this info - really amazing what sewing discussion topics can lead to!

I'm aware of the runic alphabets having studied German (and being of this heritage - my grandmother a WWI bride) but did not know of the use of these symbols as insignia for SS.
I agree, it is a shame that these symbols, when used by certain groups, can become tainted.

Anyway, I still will not see lightening bolt symbols in the same way - can't help it.

This has gotten my interest and I'll have to do some more reading to understand more of this history - languages and symbols are fascinating to me - especially the ancient ones.  I have a whole portfolio of Ancient Greek motifs I collected when I visited Greece.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #43 
Mike- I ran across this info today in one of my old sewing books (Elna Stretch).  It explains the cam 152 stitch I used.  Also check out cams 149, 163, and 165.  They are all stretch and do various types of overcasting.  

elna cam 152.jpg 

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Phyllis1115

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Reply with quote  #44 
I have not had a chance to sit down with my Elna SUs, the cams and a manual. The photo reminded me of sewing with this stitch.

The example above is one of the stitches I used when sewing double knit clothing. It's an attractive stitch and very durable. When you move the stitch width to 0, the cam produces a triple stitch: 2 stitches forward and 1 back. This triple stitch is useful when stitching stretchy knits or seams that must not pull out. However, it is an absolute bear to remove. I know this from experience.

I have been busy creating donation/charity quilt block into kits for Old Capitol Quilt Guild to use for Sew Day in February. When it no longer is fun, I'll stop.

=Phyllis in Iowa

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"Is this Heaven?"  "No, it's Iowa."   (Field of Dreams)
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