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Old 01-03-2013, 07:51 PM
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Interior questions

Hey fellas,
I just joined this forum because I have some questions to ask you veterans before I get into my next project, and would appreciate your knowledge and advice.

Although I don't have a hotrod, I have a car with high sentimental value that is in need of upholstery repair. I was in the interior subforum and Dan2lakes looks like he's a wealth of info here.

I've purchased two types of fabric for the seats; a custom reproduction Poly weave on 3mm foam backing, and Alcantara microsuede on 3mm foam backing. Now I'm learning about what's next and my local upholstery shop seems clueless about my questions.

1) I want to do French seams around some of the curved pieces, in contrasting stitching, but nothing local (Tex 90 max) looks thick enough. The local upholsterer shop has nothing thicker either. I found this QTC contrast bonded nylon 270 thickness thread that looks good, but I can't find any references to machines that could handle it. Is 207 (210) poly thread the thickest thread I'm safe using? The upholsterer said if I buy the thread they can try to see if they can sew with it, but its $25 for a 16oz spool.

2) The OEM factory French seams were made on a double needle chain-stitch machine, something similar to a Singer 300W205 as best as I can tell... The backside is definitely two rows of chain stitch perfectly spaced with matches stitches. Why would they do this, as the chain stitch isn't as strong as a locking stitch? What do you all use for French seams?

3) The local upholsterer can do two-needle French seams but it looks like a standard locking stitch with two bobbins. The upholsterer actually said it's easier with a single needle and doing two passes but I'm concerned that it won't look right because
a) the French seam stitches won't line up on either side of the seam, instead looking like a zipper, with different number of stitches on either side, and
b) they won't have that railroad-track perfect spacing between them, as one might vary in or out compared to the other.
--- the upholsterer said "Oh who's going to even notice??" ... Answer: me!

4) With Alcantara (microsuede) and woven fabric (like a knit) what kind of needle would be best? I'm thinking that the woven fabric will prefer a ball-point or something blunt, but the microsuede will prefer something with an acute or sharp point.

Thanks guys, I just want to be asking the right questions and go into this with open eyes and clear expectations as I'm hopeful that my requests can be met.

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:53 PM
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Please help with some upholstery questions

I'd appreciate it any of you fellow veterans could take a quick look at my other post in the new member area and help me out.

[URL=" ******** st1630329[/URL]

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Crosley; 01-03-2013 at 08:40 PM. Reason: link to introduction forum
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by D_man View Post
I'd appreciate it any of you fellow veterans could take a quick look at my other post in the new member area and help me out.

[URL=" ******** st1630329[/URL]

Thanks in advance!
Ask your question in the tech forums. The introduction forum for is for introduction posts only, not for tech questions and answers.

I moved your lengthy interior question over to this thread.
Dont worry how old you are... it is the mileage on your body that adds up.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:19 PM
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pretty much I dont know a lot about older machines, as I use a new Consew and Adler. Alot of trimmers feel that it is easier to use a single needle machine due to making compound curves on double needle machine is a complete pain in the As*. single needle will never bee as straight as dual but can be damn close, dependant on the trimmers skill set

Attached is a needle guide for leather that was made available By greg at Keystone sewing in philly, great guy!! should remedy the same on alacantara.

I was curious if you had ever had a seat in alacantara before, simply because a bit different, not a huge fan of it and that stuff is anything but cheap.

Keystone bros has a similar material known as street suede, and personally, 12 bucks a yard sounds great compared to 70 bucks a yard lol.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Groz-Beckert_Needles_for_the_processing_of_leather.pdf (1.26 MB, 271 views)
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:37 PM
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Thanks, this PDF is great. I feel like it would be a classroom lesson to my local upholstery guys. I've come across Greg @ Keystone in some other posts online. Very knowledgable (and obviously so). Funny how the relevant names are so easily apparent.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:31 PM
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1) You can use size 270 thread in a standard industrial sewing machine like a Singer 111W if you use a size 24 or 25 needle. I have sewed with size 270 thread successfully with my Consew 226R. The problem is that there will not be much thread on your bobbins because of the thickness of the thread, and you'll be changing bobbins every two minutes. I had better luck sewing with 270 on my Consew 255RB-3 because it uses a very large bobbin.

2) Not all double needle machines are chain stitch machines, I have a double needle machine that uses lock stitches. Additionally, the double needle machines used to sew French seams are not flat bed machines, they are post bed machines like a shoemaker would use to get around tight areas. A lot of them also feed a piece of twill tape onto the underside of the fabric being stitched to make the seam much stronger. A chain stitch is just as strong as a lock stitch. The reason for using chain stitch machines like the Union Special is because the "bobbin" is a full spool of thread. That way you never have to change the "bobbin" thread until the spool runs out. The drawback of a chain stitch machine is that you can't back tack.

)3 No, you won't notice it unless you get within a few inches of the stitching, the human eye doesn't work that way . Your concern is not founded in fact. If you make a french seam with a double needle machine on a curved area, the two stitch lines won't match up between the inside part of the curve and the outside part of the curve. You can make a really nice French seam making two passes, you just have to take your time and keep a part of the foot aimed at the same thing as you sew all your stitches.

4) You can sew Alcantra, (or real leather, or anything else) with a regular pointed needle. The key is using the smallest needle for the thread you are using. The thread will fill up the needle holes. I use a size 22 standard pointed needle for almost everything I sew.

No one lives forever, the trick is creating something that will.

Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 01-06-2013 at 04:10 PM.
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