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Stupid Question Time...................................

Sep 25, 2019
2
CATALINA C27 Lk Norman NC
I'm at my wit's end ( no that's not right.......I had no wits to start with...that's how I got here ) Sit back, grab a brew, here's my issue.
I tried to save money ( didn't work) gain skill ( likewise) by purchasing a Sailr@#$ jib bag to keep the jib on the deck rather than hanking it on every time I sailed. The advertisement said.......put it together in an hour.....4 weeks later I'm no closer to being finished then when I started.....Machine I started with, old Kenmore ( HEAVY metal machine) I took to have checked over before hand....( $125.00 out the door ), did the first task with flying colors. When I went to sew on the first heavier piece....all sorts of hate and discontent, locked up the machine to the point I had to remove the needle to clear machine. Was told I had too heavy a thread. Sailrite has WONDERFUL customer service, they sent me smaller thread to put in my machine so I could finish.........didn't help. Saw an ad in Craigslist for sewing machine, just like Sailrites' LSZ-1 ( looks exactly like it, think it's made by the same Chinese factory). Took some sunbrella fabric with me to test.........Passed the test with flying colors, was able to sew 8, yes 8 layers of fabric. ( bargain at $150. ) Got it home, did a few more test stitches. Went to sew on some Dacron patches per the Kit........ shreds the thread at the needle. Am using 130/21 needle with V92 thread.............( as suggested)
WHAT am I doing wrong????????? ( besides trying to save money, that I didn't ) I am open to all assistance, comments, good and bad, and direction as to what I should do next............Another joy of boat ownership.............
 
Sep 25, 2008
5,513
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
Unfamiliar with labor cost there but based on experience here, a sail maker loft might charge you $200 for that.
 
Jan 1, 2006
4,423
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
My wife made several sail bags using a Sears Kenmore and on occasion an old heavy Singer which could only do a straight stitch. I can't tell you how many layers or what thread she used. The materials were from Sailrite. Are you making this over built? It doesn't have to be any more stout than a sail cover.
BTW I liked the sailbag. I could keep my 135 hanked on and have it up in little more time than a furler. But I could still change sails with relative ease. And putting the sails away went pretty fast too. A deck flake, a couple of folds and zip the bag around it. Put the halyard on the bag to hold it off the deck and snug it up. Done. No sun shield to impair the sail performance. And the sail isn't down below taking up room. Make the bag a little oversized. My wife being an exact type person didn't give me quite enough extra material which would have made zipping the bag up easier. She also built a wine rack that you have to put the bottles in from the back. But she built a wine rack so who am I to complain?
 
Jan 7, 2011
1,687
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I'm at my wit's end ( no that's not right.......I had no wits to start with...that's how I got here ) Sit back, grab a brew, here's my issue.
I tried to save money ( didn't work) gain skill ( likewise) by purchasing a Sailr@#$ jib bag to keep the jib on the deck rather than hanking it on every time I sailed. The advertisement said.......put it together in an hour.....4 weeks later I'm no closer to being finished then when I started.....Machine I started with, old Kenmore ( HEAVY metal machine) I took to have checked over before hand....( $125.00 out the door ), did the first task with flying colors. When I went to sew on the first heavier piece....all sorts of hate and discontent, locked up the machine to the point I had to remove the needle to clear machine. Was told I had too heavy a thread. Sailrite has WONDERFUL customer service, they sent me smaller thread to put in my machine so I could finish.........didn't help. Saw an ad in Craigslist for sewing machine, just like Sailrites' LSZ-1 ( looks exactly like it, think it's made by the same Chinese factory). Took some sunbrella fabric with me to test.........Passed the test with flying colors, was able to sew 8, yes 8 layers of fabric. ( bargain at $150. ) Got it home, did a few more test stitches. Went to sew on some Dacron patches per the Kit........ shreds the thread at the needle. Am using 130/21 needle with V92 thread.............( as suggested)
WHAT am I doing wrong????????? ( besides trying to save money, that I didn't ) I am open to all assistance, comments, good and bad, and direction as to what I should do next............Another joy of boat ownership.............
What brand is the Sailright knockoff? I wouldn’t mind getting a HD sewing machine, but can’t afford a LSZ1.

Greg
 
Jan 1, 2006
4,423
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I just spoke with the wife re this. She used the Sears/Kenmore machine. She used a "Flat Felled Seam," which is for a strong flat seam. She mostly was sewing two layers of Sunbrella, but one seam may have been three, as I understand it. This was from 4H. Alternative is a "French Seam." and this is Greek to me.
Also, I seem to remember that there was some mesh underneath on the bag to allow ventilation and drainage of water/moisture.
 
Jun 25, 2004
766
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
If you're shredding thread, there are several things to check. 1st things that come to mind are 1) is the top thread wrapped around anything? 2) did you check the tension on the top thread? 3) incorrectly installed needle, 4) Bent or burred needle 5) burr on the rotating hook on the bobbin case.

If that doesn't fix the problem, you probably need to re-set the timing on the machine. Timing controls, amoung other things, when the hook on the bobbin case hooks the top thread.

You can download the Salrite Ultrafeed Manual from their website. https://www.sailrite.com/PDF/2016-Ultrafeed-Guidebook-lores.pdf

Your machine may or may not be exactly the same, but it's a good place to start. Start at step one in the manual and do the whole thing. It's not hard with the manual. Don't skip any steps.

You'll need to know how to adjust thread tension, and foot tension for every project you do. Everything needs to be adjusted slightly when you change the cloth weights, layers, thread type, etc. That's all part of knowing how to sew with a machine. So read the manual!

Come to think of it, I believe Sailrite has a video on how to set the timing on their machines. Your machine may not be assembled with the same precision or tightness as the Sailrite, but I'll bet you can get it running right.
 
Aug 28, 2006
359
Bavaria 35E seattle
I'm kinda where you are Chasfrank, as far as a sunbrella project I've botched up. And I was even using a Sailrite machine! JudyB's suggestions are definitely correct. Tension problems, as well as needle issues, were vexing me. If you could find a sewing class in your area then you'd have an experienced person to guide you as you fall into the pitfalls of getting it all correct. There's just so many things to go wrong. IMHO>
 
Dec 28, 2015
682
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
The hook has a burr on it. Remove the bobbin, flip the two black catches on either side of the bobbin holder and take the contraption out. You should see what looks like a spike think that is curved. That needs to be polish smooth on the indent surface. I use a superfine sandpaper to finish it off after filing the burr down with a diamond hone. Download a LZ1 manual and you will see what I'm talking about. Don't mess with any timing adjustments until you do the easy stuff first.
 
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Dec 28, 2015
682
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
I'm kinda where you are Chasfrank, as far as a sunbrella project I've botched up. And I was even using a Sailrite machine! JudyB's suggestions are definitely correct. Tension problems, as well as needle issues, were vexing me. If you could find a sewing class in your area then you'd have an experienced person to guide you as you fall into the pitfalls of getting it all correct. There's just so many things to go wrong. IMHO>
Same here. Slowing down really solved alot of my problems. Going to fast with thick material deflects the needle and it strikes stuff it's not suppose to like the hook and spring. Both then cause different issues.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Sep 24, 2018
658
O'Day 25 Chicago
I used a ripstop nylon laundry bag I got on ebay for $5 as a jib bag. I estimate it would've lasted about three seasons before UV took its' toll. It's nowhere near as durable as sunbrella but at that cost I wouldve happily replaced it every few years. PM me if you want the link
 
Jun 25, 2004
766
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
Don’t skip the two simplest solutions! These change every time you switch projects or rethread the machine, and are likely to go wrong frequently.

Check to make sure you have threaded the top thread correctly. It’s easy to get it caught around something, creating excessive drag and making it excessively taut. If you are stretching the top thread due to way too much drag on it , the loop at the needle scarf will not form correctly, and the hook will pierce the top thread.

Also check that you have enough foot pressure to keep the cloth down on rather dog feed. If the cloth lifts up with the needle, the loop at the tip of the needle will not form at all, and the hook will pierce the top thread.

And, as others have pointed out, slow down when you come to a transition from few layers to many layers. With a Sailrite machine, I hand turn the flywheel at transitions like thisThere’s a risk Of deflecting the needle at these transitions, which bends or breaks needles and causes the needle to strikes the bobbin assembly .

For general information: the need to slow down at transitions is particularly strong for the Sailrite ultra feeds. Despite their name, the ultrafeeds have only two feed mechanisms (bottom dog feed, walking foot). rather than the more capable triple feeder machines (needle feed, bottom dog feed, walking foot, plus maybe a roller feeder). I’d rather use a triple feed machine any day, but they cost 5-10 times more than an ultrafeed and aren’t portable.

IIRC, some of the differences between a Sailrite and other similar looking walking foot machines on the market is that 1) the Sailrite presser foot has a higher lift range and keeps pressure on the cloth better than the no- names, and 2) the bobbin case with the hook is different. The Sailrite ultrafeed machines have other differences, but these are two relevant ones that I remember.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Jun 25, 2004
766
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
I used a ripstop nylon laundry bag I got on ebay for $5 as a jib bag. I estimate it would've lasted about three seasons before UV took its' toll. It's nowhere near as durable as sunbrella but at that cost I wouldve happily replaced it every few years. PM me if you want the link
A word of caution: Nylon rip stop is not the fabric of choice for blocking transmission of UV. Dark colors of 8-9 oz acrylic like sunbrella block close to 99% of UV. Light colors, such as white, block only about 80%. I have seen headsails with UV damage to the Dacron underneath a white sunbrella cover.

Just to round out the discussion, One white fabric that blocks 99% ofUV is Weathermax. It’s lighter weight than acrylic/, but doesn’t last forever in the sun like acrylic does.
 
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Sep 24, 2018
658
O'Day 25 Chicago
A word of caution: Nylon rip stop is not the fabric of choice for blocking transmission of UV. Dark colors of 8-9 oz acrylic like sunbrella block close to 99% of UV. Light colors, such as white, block only about 80%. I have seen headsails with UV damage to the Dacron underneath a white sunbrella cover.

Just to round out the discussion, One white fabric that blocks 99% ofUV is It’s lighter weight than acrylic/, but doesn’t last forever in the sun like acrylic does.
I definitely suspected UV transmission. Thanks for the confirmation!
 
Sep 25, 2019
2
CATALINA C27 Lk Norman NC
Thank you all for your reply's , it was a combination of errors, largest one was foot pedal only had 2 positions, on and off, with on being full speed ahead.......I have been able to finish the project.........can you say UGLY!!!!!!!!!. Maybe the next one will be a little easier to do. I learned my lesson.............don't be in a hurry.
Greg... ( Tally Ho ) what I bought was a " Family Sew " FS-288. From what I was able to find, it appears Sail rite buys the base ( frame ) from them, i believe, and adds their internal parts, which have better tolerances .
BTW, cannot say enough about Sailrites customer service, a dying art in these days, but they excel at it.
 
Oct 26, 2010
856
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
I have an old Pfaff and it seems to do a pretty good job if I get the thread tension set correctly and I go slowly. Seems like a pretty heavy duty machine. They are hard to find a place that will service them though.
 
Aug 2, 2009
418
Catalina 28MKII Muskegon
Dr. Judy is giving some good advice. I have some experience with industrial walking foot machines, and a little on a Sailrite machine.

I also collect post World War II Japanese sewing machines, up to the early 1970's, which includes the Kenmore machines. My favorite machine is my Kenmore from about 1971. Easily sews through half a dozen layers of sunbrella, and I used it to make a sail cover for my Catalina 28, as well as a front hatch cover, and an awning for the cockpit. It can't do the work a walking foot machine can, but it would be absolutely adequate to the task you are attempting.

Before diving into a particular project, it's important to first be able to create a good stitch in the type of fabric you plan to use. Yes, it's all about tension. Upper and lower thread, and pressure foot. An old Kenmore will handle V92 thread, provided you use the largest needle. Become an expert at setting your machine up for the task at hand. Fiddle around on scraps. Not a bad idea to learn how to oil your old machine, too.

On the other hand, if you're not already reasonably adept at sewing, there's a hell of a lot to be said for having a local pro do your work for you.
 
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Jan 22, 2008
7,226
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
Okay, so here is my sewing history and suggestions… Something to read along with having a rum next to the fireplace. In the 70s I bought a new Montgomery Wards sewing machine for $100- LOTS OF MONEY BACK THEN. I did not have a boat then, nor much sewing experience, but my mom was about a pro with the machine, she having a mom in the garment factories of York, PA.. When I had an O’Day 222, I made a rectangle piece to use as an awning over the cockpit when anchored. I learned I could sew SIX layers of Sunbrella easily. Three on the side hem, three on the cross hem, then sew the 6-layered corners and add a grommet.

When I got the B235 I reused the awning, but refined it to be used when sailing. Somewhere in there I offered to help a couple bring their IP back from Key West to Maryland. (The day before I flew from MD, I got my tax refund.) The first night coming north we slipped in Ft Lauderdale. Ashore, we saw the Sailrite store that had just opened, so I quickly spent my tax return on the LZ1 machine. Replacement crew drove in the Lauderdale, so I drove their car back to Maryland. My gawd ! A stick shift and AM radio!

Back in Annapolis, they were going to open a Sailrite store in Eastport. They opened it. When they finally opened, I walked in the check it out, and behind the counter was “DAN”. I took several C.G. sailing courses Dan teached over in Montgomery County some years earlier. We spent ALOT of time over the years chewing the fat and all the world’s problems. Then the store closed.

When I got my 2006 B 323, I passed on the $5200 bimini/dodger/filler panel. I was going to make my own so I could size and place it as I wanted. Now, in 2020, I have the bimini, filler “Awning”, dodger and side and rear cockpit enclosures, sail cover, lazybag, bow awning, anchor riding sail, and other little stuff. I made what I call “harbor cloths” that fill in from the toe rail to the top lifeline. My crews are impressed when they ask about the bimini. I tell them it was my first project as was obvious, but I got better for the other projects. Heck, I even made about 40 tote bags with scraps of whatever. I used to buy end-of rolls at the Sailrite store and discounts at the boat shows every October. I even got to know Matt and his brother, Matt having done a sewing seminar for my SOS sailing club. I already have the material for the new, better, bimini.

OKAY, so, FOR THE OP, the machine uses mainly 135x16 needles, but sometimes 135x17 for special use. Presently, my machine has a 20 needle with 92 thread. /// Go online and order the Sailrite catalog. It, and online videos are a wealth of information for sewing projects. You can also get many spare parts from the catalog. /// I stared with 69 thread, moved up to 92, and now use 138. 138 works nicely through the machine. Once you find your color of thread, get the bigger, 16-oz spool. /// Get a dozen bobbins, as you’ll be time ahead to wind several while you have the machine set up to do it. When you wind the bobbins and cut the thread, poke the end out one of the bobbin holes on the side. /// I’m not a fan of the pre-wound “hem-bobs”. YMMV. /// AS for a “home “ machine, at the least, you’d want one with a METAL housing, not plastic like most of them are today. /// Using basting tape can gunk up the needle and make it too sticky to use. /// The money spent for a Sailrite can be recouped if you plan alot of sewing. One Xmas I made 4 tote bags for each of my 2 adult kids’ families out of denim. Each bag a different size for each of the 4 family, I made all 8 from one piece of fabric. Money saved, and nothing says lovin’ like something from the sewing machine.

REP updated 1-8-2020
 
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Oct 2, 2008
3,149
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
You old sew and sew, I’m still behind on buying you drinks. For us it’s usually the needle groove is on the wrong side. My wife adjusts the tension on the machine, I adjust it with rum.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,574
Catalina 270 Wabamun - on the orange ball
The knockoffs can be junk. I took my Techsew into a local guy to get tuned up, he took one look at it and didn't want to touch it. He pulled the same machine from the storage room and showed me that the crank wouldn't even turn. After he saw how mine was almost good, he took it on, tuned it up and it runs great. Came with a caveat though, some of the parts are crap, and don't expect it to last too long. It's been out of adjustment a couple of times, but then, 4 layers of sunbrella and two layers of leather, with binding tape, even by hand, are tough on it.
Go slow slow slow. Dodger almost done.