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Emulating a jeans seam with an overlocker and straight sewer.


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#1 hutch48

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 03:12 PM

If you have access to a sweatshop in Indo-China you will have a better way of doing this in one pass with a double needle straight sewer and a dedicated folder but short of having this access you can do a reasonable simulation of a double stitched jeans seam using a 3 or 4 thread overlocker and a normal straight sewer. You need a couple of different feet as is shown in the photos below, one is a side fence foot often used by folks who are into quilting, the other is an open toed foot where you can use one side of the open toe as the guide for the face seam closest to the layed over edge.

 

The seam type is a modified flat felled seam with the underside edge secured by an overlocked seam. You can use either a 3 or a 4 thread overlocker, the 4 thread being a bit stronger.

 

01overlocked.jpg

 

This is the initial overlocked seam with the denim layed face to face like normal. Do yourself a favour and iron this seam as flat as you can get it using an ironing cloth so you don't fry the poly cotton overlocker thread. you do this to improve your accuracy using the side fence foot in the next operation.

 

03underseam.jpg

 

With the overlocked edge as flat as you can get it, the next operation is done with the side fence foot to provide the line of stitching that determines the width of your double stitch face seam.

 

04facestitch1.jpg

 

This is the first line of face stitching using the side fence foot adjusted to the required with and is stitched directly through the overlocked seam on the underside. In this photo I did the seam and then placed it back under the foot to show how it was done. you are using the edge of the layed over seam as a guide so that you get a reasonably straight face stitch. It is a really good idea to iron the layed over seam BEFORE you do the face stitching so that you more accurately control the line of stitching with the side fence foot.

 

05facestitch2.jpg

 

On my particular machine I have used an open toed foot so I could use the inside edge as a guide for the second line of face stitching and have offset the needle to get the width from the layed over edge that I wanted. Different machines have different techniques for using an inside foot guide and each person will know what works best for their machine.

 

06finishedback.jpg

 

This is what the back of the finished seam look like, it has 3 lines of stitching which will make it strong enough and importantly for grades of denim that are prone to fraying before it is edges are secured, Note that I was a slob and did not wind a bobbin in the same colour as the face stitching so the back of the straight sewn seams are black but you should be able to see the 3 seams from the back.

 

07finishedfront.jpg

 

This is what the finished outer appearance looks like. I fished this roll of cotton out of my junk and to get the stitching quality up to scratch the thread and bobbin tensions should have been adjusted to tighten the thread up some but as I have my straight sewer set up for Rasant, I was not willing to change it for a simple demo.

 

A seam of this type is fundamentally strong, it is flatter than a double rolled jeans seam which for many styles of garment will improve the appearance but while the technique is a bit fiddly, it shows that you can do this type of appearance without having to have access to a sweat shop in Indo-China. Things like denim skirts, jeans and jackets are the target for denim  and if your patterns are good enough you can make things like this that don't fit like a sack of spuds like at least some of the Indo-Chinese ready to wear stuff does.

 

Just to appeal to your sense of humour, the denim was a Faustian bargain that I picked up for $5.00 a metre but found that in one direction (the light coloured threads) you could tear it apart so it only use is for ironing cloths and the occasional demo.

 


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#2 Terri

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 11:56 PM

Have you ever used a compensating foot when stitching on uneven thicknesses? One half of the foot has a spring that allows it to adjust to the thicker edge and keep the tension even on the foot.

We have a machine at work that will not stitch nicely without it, when topstitching as you show.

I like the use of the quilters gauge. If I make myself jeans, I overlock and topstitch as well rather than making a true flat felled seam.

#3 amateursarto

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 12:27 AM

Hutch, thanks for the demo!
AMATEURSARTO

#4 hutch48

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 12:40 AM

Unfortunately I don't have a foot of that type even though it would be very useful. My Elnas are abut 40 years old and while I have a reasonable collection of feet for them, I can usually get away with using one side of the open toed foot as a guide.



#5 Claire Shaeffer

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 09:14 AM

There are several kinds of compensating foot, but there are a couple of ways to compensate without one.

 

The most primitive and slowest method is to use a piece of cardboard under the toe and next to the seam to balance the foot. This cardboard is readily available to home-sewers because piping, seam binding, etc. are packaged with it inside. 

 

I've used a cording or zipper foot satisfactorily. The needle and hole must be to the left of the needle unlike the one in the photo. Let the foot ride on top of the bulk with the edge next to the seamline. The stitching will be about 1/16" from the seam. 

 

I actually like this faux flat-felled seam better because it is flatter that a double-needle seam. 

 

When the double-needle seam is made in a factory, they have a folder in front of the foot that folds one layer up and the other down. This makes it much easier to stitch. 


Claire Shaeffer

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claire.shaeffer@gmail.com

www.sewfari.org


#6 hutch48

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 11:10 AM

Just to finish off these modified flat felled seams, I routinely work on cotton drill and because it is far less prone to fraying and generally a tighter weave you make them differently. With the fabric laid face to face like normal, set your overlocker to a narrow cutting width and overlock the two edges together. A 4 thread is stronger in this context but a 3 thread machine will do the job. lay the result on its face and pull the two layers apart and lay the overlocked seam flat. If the fabric is a bit springy, it is a good idea to iron it flat using an ironing cloth so you don't cook the overlocker thread.

 

Turn it over and using something similar to the open toed foot in the previous post, set your needle offset to the width you require then face stitch the seam through the flattened overlock seam at the back.

 

drill_front.jpg

 

This is what the result looks like from the front, I used a normal length face stitch (3 on my old Elnas) but the seam actually looks better if you use a shorter stitch length. This is one area where you can display your creative instincts in how you face stitch the top side. For a minimalist appearance a fine single straight stitch in a matching thread colour but you can easily do various width zig zags, multi pass straight stitch with controlled spacing and if you own an old machine that has them available, you can even do flowers or duck in a row. I confess its not my style but I have tried out on black drill a single bright red fine straight stitch where you want to emphasise the seam shape and it works fine. You are only limited to the width of the under side overlock seam. Just a note of caution, if you do multipass lines of straight stitch, you can get some puckering (the opposite to fluting) that follows from a slight shortening of the entire seam length.

 

 

drill_back.jpg

 

This is the view of the seam from the back, in this case a 4 thread overlock seam that was ironed flat and then stitched down from the face side.

 

The horrible green is because I pick up 3 rolls of this drill some years ago and I have enough of it to waste. Its a shame its such a horrible colour as it is strong, colour fast and has a very low shrinkage rate in a washing machine.

 

Depending on what feet you have for your own straight sewer, Claire's suggestion of a zipper foot is a good idea if you don't have an open toed foot with a back clearance groove as it allows you to set the layed over seam edge against the edge of the foot as a guide and then simply set the offest of the needle to the width you require from the layed over edge.


Edited by hutch48, 31 August 2015 - 11:14 AM.

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#7 creatieve mie

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 06:23 PM

Thank you for the tip!I recently purchased some heavy duty jeans to be made into overalls for a friend.This is a nice way to make it look more professional.As I have been on this forum a few months I have never posted any of my makes,but these might be the exception.Thanks again.


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#8 hutch48

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 07:16 PM

Yes, that would be good, when you create an act of genius, show us what you have done.


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#9 Terri

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 11:10 PM

The most primitive and slowest method is to use a piece of cardboard under the toe and next to the seam to balance the foot. This cardboard is readily available to home-sewers because piping, seam binding, etc. are packaged with it inside. 


Oh, yes, this is what we used to do before we had the compensating feet.

#10 tailleuse

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 01:43 AM

There are several kinds of compensating foot, but there are a couple of ways to compensate without one.

 

The most primitive and slowest method is to use a piece of cardboard under the toe and next to the seam to balance the foot. This cardboard is readily available to home-sewers because piping, seam binding, etc. are packaged with it inside. 

 

 

 

Do mean using the cardboard as a jig, like this? That solves the problem of uneven surfaces, but not the one of maintaining a consistent distance from the edge.   The beauty of a compensating foot is that it's idiot-proof.  I don't know how much the feet cost for home machines, but for industrials they are about $4 a piece.  If I were sewing a lot of seams like this I would definitely buy a compensating foot. Like zipper and cording feet, they come in rights and lefts.

 

I did once improvise when I didn't have the right foot:  I was making a double topstitched hem on a pair of pants.  I used a 1/4" or 1/8" compensating foot to lay down the first line of stitching and then switched to the regular foot, using the first stitch as a guide.  It turned out very well.


Edited by tailleuse, 01 September 2015 - 01:46 AM.

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#11 Terri

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 07:03 AM

We just used a strip of card that ran along the seam edge to equalize the pressire on both sides of the presser foot. You would eyeball the stitch line or use some kind of visual reference to the foot when stitching.
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#12 tailleuse

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 07:32 AM

We just used a strip of card that ran along the seam edge to equalize the pressire on both sides of the presser foot. You would eyeball the stitch line or use some kind of visual reference to the foot when stitching.

 

I'm sure that's sufficient for people who are good.  :)  I still find myself doing 90% of an operation like that well and then I hit a bump and there's a jag in the seam.


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#13 Terri

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:08 AM

Not advocating using cardboard if you can find a better way, we just improvised as needed. :)

I think that if there is a tool or technique that can improve accuracy or quality one should adopt it.

Bonus if it is inexpensive or something that would pay for itself many times over by freeing up time to do other things.
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#14 hutch48

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:29 AM

Something I have seen is later domestic sewing machines that use the quick release clip on feet and they appear to be designed so that the foot once attached can rock side to side by about 5 to 10 degrees which makes the foot better follow uneven heights one one side of the feed teeth. I don't have any real problems with the short shank feet on my old Elnas which are about as rigid as the long shank industrial machines so it may just be a matter of practice.


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#15 ThomD

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 07:48 AM

 

I like this guy's approach for a home sewer.  I have my own ways, but this video has a lot of tips in it.

 

If one wants to do best quality jeans, even the amateurs are lining up to buy the Singers and Union Specials that are peculiar to the trade, with prices leaping into the thousands.  The idea that flatter seams are better is running headlong into people with speciality machines to repro the roping and other features in original jeans.  On customs every detail is scrutinized for authenticity.



#16 hutch48

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for posting this one Tom, the guy's work was very good. I noticed the straight sewer he was using was a decent industrial and he was using thread that would have been 40# or even heavier but you will not get that through a domestic machine. The tailor I know down the road has an industrial Singer for when he is modifying jeans and from memory he is using 40# sized thread. You can sneak 75# thread through most domestic machines which will make a reasonable fist of face stitching with a long stitch length but you will have problems with very heavy weight denim. The double folded side seams require a specialised double needle machine with a dedicated folder to make the seam in one pass and you would need to be a manufacturer to justify the cost of machinery like that.

 

The flatter seams better suit much lighter denim where you don't want the stiffness of heavy denim. I have seen skirts made of lightweight denim as well as men's jeans where the accuracy of fit is more the target than emulating traditional men's jeans.



#17 Henry Hall

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 12:19 PM

I actually fail to see what makes him a "home sewer". Looks like he has a full-on, dedicated workshop; probably with some expensive industrial equipment. and is producing goods. I doubt anyone would go to that length to make the odd pair of jeans for themselves.

 

What is it actually that makes him not a professional?


Edited by Henry Hall, 28 September 2015 - 12:19 PM.

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#18 hutch48

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 02:55 PM

The guy is obviously a manufacturer, cuts from a suspended bolt of denim, has an industrial straight sewer, about the only domestic machine I saw was his overlocker. Still, I thought his work was very good and his techniques sound. I imagine the finished product would be a high priced item to match the quality of his work.

 

LATER: I am working on some stretch denim at the moment and did this simple test piece from a piece of scrap. Set your overlocker to as wide as you can get it, overlock the two edges together, lay it over and from the front side and stitch the overlocked seam flat. (One pass down the middle will do as its just to hold it together for the next operation). Turn the seam around from the front so that the two sides are folded back over the seam, this gives you the double turn.

 

Face stitch it with whatever appearance you require. The example below is a long stitch length using 75# weight thread.

 

doubleturn.jpg

 

I confess I don't like them and don't use them but if you want a heavy and stiff seam that looks closer to commercial jeans seams this comes close and you don't need to use industrial specialty machines to do it. Something I should have added, denim is a square cross weave that is not all that tightly woven and this comes from the era when it was first made of being a strong but not a "fashion" fabric. Over time jeans made of non-stretch denim have become an item of fashion in some circles. The reason why you have double folded seams is that most traditional denim frays badly and unless you have a reasonably deep seam depth you can pull the seam apart by pulling the threads out in one direction. The double folded seam solves this problem by having a higher seam depth from the initial edge out to the fabric edge.


Edited by hutch48, 29 September 2015 - 01:08 AM.





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