Divy’ing It Up

Apologies all around in advance for not addressing industrial sewing machine issues lately. For now the Brother DB2-B791-015 has been a workhorse with close to no bugs for working out, which makes for a pretty bland series of product entries (posts), instead of interesting investigations of these dense contraptions. Fortunately, older topics have not been forgotten: we will still revisit the thread discussion soon, as many images have been taken to help with the visual aid side of things, and then after that, hopefully it will be time to get to the other two sections of the Brother DB2-B791-015 parts book. Also there may be updates on industrial sewing machine shops in the Chicago (IL) area, with possible new information leaking from these retailers, into the category of Brother Feet.

In the meantime, some passing thoughts on needle gauge and heavy vs. light-weight vs. heavy vs. light-weight.

First off, two new packs of needles were purchased recently, a set of #19 gauge needles and a set of #21 gauge needles. The #19 needles were purchased to use with the Gütermann “heavy duty” & silk threads (used for the recent pair of jeans) – these #19’s are still in the box. The #21 needles were more or less purchased for the same reason, except they would be used to test out the heaviest weight Coats&Clark “button & carpet” thread, which we have never had much luck with here – around the DB2, or with the old Singer 600WI. So, with the heavy thread in mind, and the new #21 needles, a material situation had to come about. With the last two Dow bags (the “messenger”-style and the walking bag) finalized, ideas for the next generation of bag brought up a good scenario to test the new needles and thread to see what the Brother would do. Is everyone still on target? – As this conversation is going back and forth between heavy thread/needle, and older bags making way for new ideas (which will test this needle-thread combo). The new bag will be calling for a shoulder strap system, that will hopefully use “dive” belt webbing as the main strap. However, “dive” belt webbing has provided many obstacles in the past. Unlike seat-belt webbing which has become somewhat of a standard material for shoulder straps in “messenger” bag production circle’s – “dive” belt webbing is much more dense, and stiff. Such, could be why seat-belt webbing has become the norm for these recent bags, it is soft and flexible, and easy to work with*. But “dive” belt webbing seems to have better load distribution qualities, and is also inherently stronger, and can withstand much more abrasion – thus it may be a better material for the job. The difference being (to bring the mono-conversation back) it takes more umph (technical term) to sew through “dive” belt webbing. This is where the #21 needles come in, surely, the Brother will be able to feed the material’s thickness, but it is the puncturing, and thread allowances that have hampered the process in the past. Also, the needles added thickness will provide a more accurate feed, as the needle will flex less when pulling the material, so there will be less lag time (and more consistent stitching). Now, to the thread side of things, in the past when trying to (always un-succesfully) sew through “dive” belt webbing, we have used the Gütermann “extra strong” thread, and inevitably it would break at some point in the run of the stitch, but not due to core strength, but rather abrasion, from being passed through such a dense, coarse, stiff material, the strap’s fibers are more than likely actually harder – equalling rougher areas to pass the thread through. Anywho, the Coats&Clark “button & carpet” thread was chosen, this is/was the densest/hardest thread available (at the moment) and would ideally be more abrasion resistant (imagine a climbers top-rope hanging from a mountain rubbing against the rock). Long story short, success, the coupling of the needle and the thread has alieviated any pains or concerns, the pass took two layers of “dive” belt webbing, plus two layers of vinyl coated nylon. Whilst not the most exciting thing or controversial result, it seemed like news around here.

Another topic, about heavy vs. light-weight came up after making the walking bag, and wondering what it would take to make something very light-weight. Obviously light materials would be a start, however this means a slight re-tooling of the Brother, the challenge is then, how light can it go? For the most part industrial sewing machines only do one thing well, and that is whatever it has been delegated to do. But, maybe the Brother could sew some light nylons too with a little attention to it’s internals – needle-bar-height adjustments, a finer feed-dog, and maybe even a different hook. The lesson being proposed, when do you decide to move to lighter materials, and does the machine influence a resistance to this?

Your patience is appreciated, and concerns heard.

*One thing to note, is that the companies that almost strictly use seat-belt webbing, usually incorporate some kind of additional padding system, what this is to accomplish can be mysterious (old-timers will probably tell you this is unnecessary hoo-ha), it could be to distribute load more effectively due to the very pliable nature of seat-belt webbing which could use added stiffness, or maybe it is just to be gentler on the body?