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Thread: ok which model machine should I use for this?

  1. #1
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    ok which model machine should I use for this?

    My hubby is active duty military and is wanting some tactical items made. This means I'll be sewing through 2-4 layers of cordura fabric, ribbon binding, etc. Not as heavy as denim but not cotton quilt fabric either. I've done a few items with my regular machine but not as heavy as what I'm planning. I don't want to use my brand new viking for this, and I'm thinking that maybe I need to get a 201 for this particular job but don't know much about them. Can I drop feed dogs? That would be kinda helpful for alot of the curves and such I would be doing.

    I have a 301 and a 501a but honestly I've never used them, just inherited them and they've been sitting in their cabinets. Would either of these be up to the task?

    I may go back and pick up one of the 201s from this lady anyway but want to get a machine primarily for this heavier sewing work.

    What do you all suggest?

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Yes your 301 and 501 would be good test subjects. There's nothing these machines can't do that a 201 could...

  3. #3
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    I agree with Candice... to a point. If you are making honest to god tactical items, designed to be used in possibly a COMBAT situation.... you will be using at least a #69 nylon thread, 92 is you can get it and it works in your machine. MY rotory hook machines will not play nicely with that weight of thread, though the ols 27 and 128 with a vibrating shuttle handle it easily. also BAR tacks are used in a lot of places ( MOLLE strips ) and you will need a zig zag stich for that..... if you are doing it for strength in seam say to fastem the straps on... you are actually better served with a "box X" ( think seat belts) but true MOLLE strip will need bar tacks.

    Also if you are going to be doing more than the few pieces, not only will you not want to drop the feed dogs, you will want a walking foot and/or needle feed. this type of work is REALLY much easier and better done with a true industrial machine.

    if you need to ask specidic question on methods and practices for working with heavy build ups and taped edges etc... there is a forum I can recomend that deals strictly with DIY tactical gear.

    Good luck
    Dan
    Last edited by greywuuf; 07-26-2012 at 10:05 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by greywuuf View Post
    I agree with Candice... to a point. If you are making honest to god tactical items, designed to be used in possibly a COMBAT situation.... you will be using at least a #69 nylon thread, 92 is you can get it and it works in your machine. MY rotory hook machines will not play nicely with that weight of thread, though the ols 27 and 128 with a vibrating shuttle handle it easily. also BAR tacks are used in a lot of places ( MOLLE strips ) and you will need a zig zag stich for that..... if you are doing it for strength in seam say to fastem the straps on... you are actually better served with a "box X" ( think seat belts) but true MOLLE strip will need bar tacks.
    yes, I will be using MOLLE straps and such. Now, I can do that on my new machine just fine, but for things like bag assembly where I'm sewing pockets to sides to lining etc and will have many layers, I think it would be too rough on my motor of my embroidery machine.

    What i've made to this point has not used MOLLE but he wants that and i now have a place I can get it. Ive used the BOX X for straps and such to this point with pretty decent success, but I wasn't using the heavier fabric and the traditional binding. Basically I am going to reverse engineer some gear for him and its going to be alot more labor intensive than what I've made to date.

  5. #5
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I made a bag with my 301 the other day and it sewed through 4 layers of fabric and 2 layers of batting (6 layers total) without blinking an eye.

  6. #6
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    I am not saying that a standard machine Wont do it, but, we are talking several 4-6 layers of 1000 denier Coated cordura, and maybe as many as three layers of tubular nylon webbing. All seems of course are taped ( bound) as well. the reason for the walking foot is that Large stack ups like that tend to "squirm" and it gets Very hard to not have the seams shift when you are talking that amount of sheer THICKNESS. in addition the presser foot lift on many home machines is not even high enough to get the material stack under.... Tactical Gear is Very different than quilting or clothing. For starters the thread is going to play havoc with you, most people sewing cordura in any extent with a home machine end up double wrapping at least one of the pegs in the tension assembly just to get by. Some of the more complex pieces use materials like Kydex ( thick plastic sheets) and the neoprene padding inside of the shoulder straps and waist belt is very "grippy" and can really heat up and grab a needle.

    In short... Give it a try with what you have... realizing that bigger machines do it better ;-) you may have to get creative when it comes to some area's.... find alternate ways to make a seam or join so that there are not as many layers... stuff like that. I make tactical and outdoor gear on my home machines.... and I am seriously ready to have this Big Consew industrial up and running.

    I hope this is ok to link to here, but this site has simple instructions and a forum frequented by home shop professionals. they WILL have the answer ( some of them are grump old military men so be warned ;-)

    http://diytactical.com/blog/

    Good luck and let us know how it comes out!
    Dan

  7. #7
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Right, but what I'm saying is that a 201 will not do anything a 301 or 501 can't do. And that was what the OP was asking about.

  8. #8
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    That is entirely correct ( in my limited experience) I have had better luck with HEAVY thread in the VS machines ( which I know the 201 is not) but something like a 28 or a 128 Might handle heavy thread better, if you ran into trouble with the 301, plus they are way cheaper to find and abuse than a 301 ;-)

  9. #9
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    I love DIYTactical This is precisely what I'm looking to do.

    Well, I've been on the lookout for a good industrial but havent found one in my price range just yet. I do have a contact that has a couple of juki industrial machines she said I could come in and sew on if I wanted but I have the opportunity to pick up a nice 201 extremely cheap and I thought that might be the next best thing to an industrial in my studio. If you have another machine you'd recommend instead by all means let me know. Thanks for the input. Extremely helpful!

  10. #10
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have heard the Juki industrial machine are very good machines. I would not try sewing that kind of stuff on any regular sewing machine, I tried sewing 4 layers of leather once a broke a metal piece and repairman had to improvise to make another. Good luck.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

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