In this video tutorial on automotive upholstery techniques, I am going to show you how to reduce the bulk on french seams joints. This simple trick will add time to your projects but used at the right time will make your fit and finish a step above the competition.
In this video you will learn exactly what size needles and what type you will need to get started sewing automotive or marine upholstery.
In this video I will show you how I find and make great deals on Craigslist. Over the years I have bought lots of my equipment at bargain prices from Craigslist. I wanted to share with you some tips that I use to get the best price possible.
Thanks to the advancements in technology in recent years, sewing machines have come a long way. However, there is only a certain amount of technology that can be installed on a sewing machine while the rest relies on good mechanics. If you’re currently in the market for a new machine, you will know just how many choices there are and it can be hard to know which to choose.
Today, we have a review of the Sailrite Fabricator model which we have been testing for the past couple of weeks. After taking you through the main features, we will go through the benefits and drawbacks and by the end you should be in a great position to decide whether this model is for you or not!
First and foremost, this is a full-size industrial sewing machine boasting a walking foot. Priced at $1,400, it certainly isn’t the most expensive model you will find but it also avoids being the cheapest which could prove to be important (we will discuss this a little later). With Sailrite’s Servo Motor included, the company promises an experience full of control even when sewing through thick materials. Even from a complete stop, the manufacturers say that the high torque motor will push through thick layers of fabric at any speed.
After this, the foot lift reaches 9/16” to allow thicker materials underneath and you can wind bobbins as you continue to sew with the attached bobbin winder. Finally, we should also mention the Posi-Pin clutching system which transfers power from the balance wheel to the needle and this feature is actually patented which means you won’t find it anywhere else.
As you can see, Sailrite certainly promises a lot but can they deliver? As mentioned, we have been using the model for around two weeks so we have gotten to know the ins and outs of the machine; with this in mind, let’s find out!
When the package arrived, it came in four separate boxes which is something you should consider when ordering. For us, the postage cost around $115 which we didn’t think was too bad considering the four packages and the sheer weight of everything together. After we started unpacking, it was easy to notice the quality of the machine. Even before everything was put together and in position, we could tell that Sailrite aims to impress by including quit a few extra items we didn’t know were included.
Once everything was ready, it was time to test and we tried to stay neutral in our opinion for a few days after arrival just so we could build the most accurate review possible. As soon as we felt comfortable, we thought it was time for the first test and what better way to throw a sewing machine in the deep end than to test just how thick of a material this machine will sew.
At first, we weren’t quite sure how to test the strength of the machine because we wanted to make it fair as well as accurate. Ultimately, we decided to start with one layer of vinyl before then adding more and more as we continued. Comfortably, the machine got to seven layers so we decided to add two layers of half-inch scrim foam. As the machine continued to stay strong, we were already surprised. By the end of the test, we had nine layers of vinyl and two pieces of half-inch scrim foam before we started to feel the machine struggle. Although it was still going, you could tell it was putting in more effort to get the job done and we decided to end the test there.
In upholstery, we would never have a need to sew anything this thick so we were surprised and amazed at the results. For a model that only cost $1,400, we didn’t expect it to be so strong and even at the end we felt as though it wasn’t the motor causing the problems. With the many layers in place, the motor was still powerful and we thought it was probably the thickness of the materials preventing further progress.
All things considered, this isn’t the best machine on the market but the Sailrite model doesn’t make any such claims. Instead, it is a nice machine that will meet your needs with ease. If you sew regularly with various different materials, we highly suggest the Sailrite Fabricator Sewing Machine and here’s for why.
Over the course of two weeks, we found a number of good points to discuss about the model but we will start with what we think is the biggest benefit of choosing this particular machine.
Superb Control – When deciding on a sewing machine, control is a huge factor because it will impact your experience. With this machine, we found the control to be nothing short of amazing. Not only does it have speed when required, it slows right down perhaps slower than any other machine we have seen. With this ability in your locker, it will help you stay in control of the machine on those difficult parts of projects that can sometimes cause major headaches.
Perfect for Beginners – Even if you have never used a sewing machine before, we believe this model to be a perfect starting point. Normally, we will recommend a cheaper model to get started but there are a couple of reasons why the Sailrite machine is perfect. First, the aforementioned control means that you can get used to the foot pedal and how far you need to push down extremely fast. Second, the machine offers some really great extras that are easy to dismiss or overlook. For example, the ingrained needle plate has measurements so you don’t need to mess around with a tape measure. Additionally, the machine is self-oiling.
Self-Oiling – Underneath the actual unit, you will find an oil reserve and this is fantastic news for those who forget to oil regularly or don’t want the hassle of constantly oiling. With this reserve in place, you can save time and get going immediately and sewing becomes less of a chore. Of course, you will still need to oil from time to time but the oil reserve makes this task less frequent and it makes it ok if you forget every now and then.
Foot-Tension Disc Interaction – Next, We like that when you lift the foot, the tension discs will loosen which offers a little slack. Rather than awkwardly trying to relieve some tension by pulling, the raised foot loosens the tension making the whole process easier. It is little things like this that make the sewing experience much easier.
Interesting Tooth Belt – With most sewing machines, the belt will be similar to the one you find in a car. However, the Sailrite Fabricator machine has something we have never seen before; a tooth belt. Running from the machine to the motor, the belt is a vital cog in the sewing machine wheel and we believe it helped when sewing at slower speeds. With some models, the machine can slip when running at slower speeds but this just didn’t happen with our tests and we think the belt is to thank for this.
Helpful Pin – As we head towards the last couple of benefits, they don’t get any less useful as this one is a pin you can remove when winding the bobbin. Essentially, this action will disengage the motor which means that nothing will happen even if you put your foot on the pedal accidentally. Just as we saw before, this is patented meaning you will only find this feature on Sailrite models.
All-Round Help – With all of these benefits in mind, it is a superb model for beginners at part time trimmers. You will appreciate just how easy the machine is to use as well as the extensive starting manual that comes with the product. Normally, sewing machine manuals are less valuable than the paper they’re written on with black and white pictures and a lack of help. With this product, the manual is full of pictures and provides genuinely useful advice.
On the flip side, not everything can be perfect and we did spot a couple of problems during our time with the machine. Although they aren’t groundbreaking, they may affect your purchasing decision. This being said, we did manage to find easy fixes to all three problems we will discuss.
Peeling Sticker – On the side of the table, you will find a measurement sticker to help when measuring fabric and various other tasks. After just a few short days, this sticker started to peel and it made the whole product look worn despite its young age. However, we never really use this sticker so our solution was to take it off and forget about it. If you like this yard ruler in place, we contacted the manufacturer and they were more than happy to send a replacement sticker so this should also be available to you.
Wobbly Table – Next up, we noticed that one of the cross joints only had one bolt. Even when putting it together, we noticed that this might be a problem and our fears were confirmed when the table wobbled from left to right. Luckily, this isn’t a huge problem for two reasons; one, left to right movements are less common than front to back when sewing. Two, if the problem becomes frustrating there is enough room to drill a second bolt to match the various other models with two bolts at this intersection.
Access Cover Problems – Finally, we also had issues opening and closing the access cover for the bobbin. Of everything we have praised on this fantastic machine, this is one area where the design is a little poor and could be improved. When sliding the cover back and forth, it gets caught and you have to tilt the machine in order to open it smoothly. For us, we are planning on raising the rubber feet a little and this should free the access cover and allow it to open easily.
As you can see, all three of the problems are fixable but they are still important to know for your buying decision.
For the trimmers out there just starting out or partaking in upholstery part-time, we believe this would be a superb option for you. However, as good as the machine is, if you are a professional sewing every single day. We recommend looking to the more expensive end of the market and making a bigger investment in your profession.
There we have it, your complete review to the Sailrite Fabricator Sewing Machine. Ultimately, we were impressed and we can’t wait to keep using it and getting to know its limits. Above all else, the control is amazing and this allows for accurate sewing on various projects. If this machine fits your budget and you are in the market for a new sewing machine this year, you will surely be happy with this Sailrite model!
In this video I will walk you through all the steps of building, assembling and setting up a brand new industrial sewing machine and table.
The machine and table in this video is the SAILRITE FABRICATOR
In this video I will show you a little trick on how to control the depth of your drill bit by simply using a socket. This will help stop you from drilling too deep and protect anything behind what you are drilling through.
Complete Guide to Sewing Square Corners
As we all know, sewing can be relaxing, fun, enjoyable, and a whole lot more. As we experiment with different materials and techniques, we improve our skills and this progress makes the whole experience worthwhile. However, we would be naive to say that it also isn’t sometimes very frustrating. If you get stuck on a particular seam or working with a tricky fabric, it can lead to frustration and recently we have seen many people struggling with square corners. As a result, we have compiled a short step-by-step guide here for you today!
Step 1 – To start, you will need to sew until you reach the seam allowance; if the allowance is 0.5 inches, sew until you have around this distance of fabric left until the corner. If necessary, go as slow as you need and even feed it through by hand. To get the perfect corner, it can be tough and you may need to practice on some scrap first. It is always good to learn exactly how it works first. You don’t need to be winning awards for speed!
Step 2 – Once you reach this point, lift the foot and place a relief cut from the side towards the needle. Instead of cutting all the way to the needle, you need to leave an eighth of an inch or so.
Step 3 – As soon as this cut is in place, put your hand on the bottom material and bring it around 90 degrees so you have what looks like a ‘7’ shape; the already-sewn material should be pointing left. The relief cut will open up and the two edges will become parallel to each other.
Step 4 – Now you can bring the foot back down and continue sewing. Once again, be sure to take your time. When people struggle with this process, it is normally because they put too much pressure on themselves to do it quickly. Taking your time is one of the biggest tips we can provide.
Step 5 – Now you can cut some of the excess material to make the corner look a little neater when you install the cover. Other than that, you should have yourself a beautiful square corner. Once you have finished, fold the material open to see your work.
Conclusion – There we have it, your guide to sewing a square corner. Yes, it can be hard at first but you will soon become a master if you learn these short steps. Watch the video and follow the tips we have provided here today , you can make all your friends jealous of your new skill before teaching them like a pro!
Thread I Use
Running out of bobbin thread in the middle of a project can be a real pain, but it will most likely happen to you at some point. We are all human and sometimes we forget to check how much bobbin thread we have left before we start sewing. Don’t worry it’s not time to start your project over. In this video I will show you how to fix this common mistake. First I will show you what to do if you run out of bobbin on a decorative top stitch. Then I will show you how to fix it if you run out of bobbin on a normal seam.
Thread I Use
With our cars, we have a fantastic machine that helps us to get around town and perhaps even further. Over the years, they experience many different problems and they normally fall into one of three categories:
- Huge issue needing immediate attention
- Potential problem which should be fixed over the next year
- Aesthetic problem which doesn’t affect the performance of the car
As you would expect, the first two issues are the first to get sorted and this is because they have a direct impact on the safety of our vehicles. However, this isn’t to say the third problem isn’t just as frustrating. Ultimately, it could be scratched paint, a broken sun visor, or perhaps a damaged headliner. Today, we will be focusing on the headliner because a sagging or damaged headliner can cause just as much frustration. Especially when the material flaps in your face as you drive.
Fixing Your Headliner
At first, you might feel as though this is something that needs professional treatment but this isn’t necessarily the case. Every year, thousands of people fix their own headliner but we have been seeing some common mistakes on various websites and videos which is why we want to provide the ultimate guide here today. With this video and the step-by-step guide, your headliner will be back to looking brand new in no time.
What You Will Need
In order to do the job correctly, there are a few things you will need:
- Glue Gun
- Contact Cement
- Wire Brush
- Hand Tools
- Headliner Material
- Tape Measure
Initially, you might be worrying about the glue gun but we should point out they aren’t as expensive as they once were. Nowadays, you can find the gun for around $29 and the glue for around $30. If you want to keep costs to a minimum you can use 3m upholstery spray can adhesive. They should run you around $20 per can. The reason we suggest a glue gun is because they are more efficient, they tend to provide a better stick. Also, you will need two cans per headliner so your already at $40 compared to $60-$70. Plus, the glue gun will come in handy for future jobs while the spray can will only get used once.
We mentioned ‘hand tools’ and these are any tools you have that will make the job easier. For example, some of the trim parts will require a screwdriver. Some parts you might need something to get underneath with a plastic pry bar and pop it out. If you have a drill, this helps if most of your trim panels are held on by screws. Also, some basic tools like wrenches and sockets will be needed.
A Word Of CAUTION!
Before we head into the step-by-step guide, we should point out that many people suggest trying to glue the fabric back on from inside the car rather than removing the headliner but we think this is wrong for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it will only at best be a short-term solution and you will find yourself having to do the same thing again just a couple of months down the line. Essentially, it is a ‘Quick Fix’ solution in that it doesn’t actually treat the root cause of the problem. Secondly, this ‘Quick Fix’ can create more work because the new glue will create more of a mess to clean once you decide to fix your headliner properly.
Therefore, today we are showing you a long-term solution involving the removal of the headliner completely to peel off the old fabric and foam. Once this is done, you can replace it with new material and it will look brand new. Yes, this will be more expensive initially but, as long as you follow these instructions correctly, it will last for years to come rather than causing more stress in just a few weeks’ time.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the guide and it begins with a tape measure and your headliner so you know how much material you will need to order. Of course, every car is different and therefore you will need to order more than enough material for your model of car. Aside from this, the instructions below will be the same for most cars.
Step 1: Remove Trim Holding The Headliner in Place – To start, you will need to remove all the trim and fittings attached to the headliner including sun visors, roof lights, clothing hooks, and anything else. However, you should keep the dome light in place because this will prevent the fabric and foam from falling down as you try to unscrew the outer fittings.
In terms of the trim parts themselves, some cars use screws so these are easy to undo. For others, they use clips and perhaps even some type of strange fitting you haven’t seen before. When it comes to attaching trim panels, car manufacturers like to be creative but you should be able to pop them out with a flat-headed screwdriver or a plastic pry bar. Regardless of what you use, remember to be careful not to damage any of the parts, as they will need to go back on once the headliner is finished.
Step 2: Remove Headliner – Once you have everything off but the dome light, you can carefully release the screws of the light and you should be able to slide the headliner out and lay it on your workbench with ease.
Step 3: Remove Foam and Fabric – Now, it is time to remove the old fabric. You can normally rip this off by hand.
After doing this, the wire brush comes into play as we recommend brushing away the old foam. At this stage, you need to be cautious because you don’t want to scrape too deep. After the foam has been removed, you should be left with a solid material.
If you notice any cracks or broken sections to the actual headliner underneath the fabric and foam, we recommend covering these with material. For example, a simple piece of canvas glued on top will add protection and it will strengthen the area to ensure it lasts the test of time.
Step 4: Cut The Amount of Fabric You Need – With your roll of headliner foam, lay the material over the top of the headliner and cut off a little more than you need. We always recommend cutting more than you need because it prevents cutting too short and having to start again
Step 5: Start Gluing – In truth, there are many different ways to glue down the new headliner but our experience has told us the easiest is to split the process into thirds or fourths. Starting with the first third, roll it back and spray glue on to both the material and the headliner and let the glue dry until it no longer feels wet.
After doing this, you can stick this down and fold back the unglued section and continue the same process.
If you’re happy with both sections so far, glue the very last section and stick it down.
Don’t rush and it is always best to take it slow and glide your hands over the top to ensure it has fully attached itself to the surface.
Step 6: Fold Over and Cut – Now it is time to fold and glue the material over the edges that need it and to trim of the extra material.
You will always need to fold over the material on the edge that faces the windshield because it is visible. Sometimes you will have to do this to other areas as well. Just make sure to take note of these areas when you first remove your headliner.
Step 7: Reinstall – From here, you can slide the headliner back into place and secure the dome light. With the light holding the headliner in place, you can attach the trim back on install everything.
Essentially, you are reversing the process you did in the first couple of steps. Once all the pieces have been reattached, you have yourself a brand new headliner and you will notice what a great difference it makes to the inside of your vehicle!
Conclusion – There we have it, your complete guide to fixing your sagging or damaged headliner. For something that can be done in an hour or two, it is well worth the investment and it will make the inside of your car look brand new. Whether you need these tips yourself or maybe your friend is experiencing the problem currently, feel free to share the information around and show the world that you don’t need a professional service to get the job done!
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
Have you ever had your sewing machine skip a stitch right when you finish that prefect seat cover or upholstery project? This can be really frustrating! Don’t worry. I’m going to show you an easy little trick to fix your skipped stitch so that you can salvage that project. You won’t even be able to see that it ever happened. All you will need is a needle and some thread. I also explain why this happens and what you should do to fix this problem so that it doesn’t happen in the future.
Tools and Supplies Used