Things I’ve learnt in May

Things I've learned _may

So I’m a bit late again with these post, but I’m not giving up… By the end of the year, I’ll get back on track, somehow…

I still haven’t gotten over how quickly May has gone by. It’s like I blinked and I missed it… And unfortunately, not a lot of sewing got done either, so I will keep this one short and sweet, with only one point this month.

I have been making my second pair of Ginger Jeans in May (still not finished, let’s not talk about it). The first time around I had a lot of issues with the  topstitching thread and ended up using two strands of normal thread through the eye of the needle at the same time. Details here.

The second pair is made of proper Ginger recommended materials, i.e. nice denim with spandex, in a dark blue colour (white sofas beware, it still bleeds like the dickens, my fingers are forever blue). So I used proper jeans topstitch thread in a golden mustard, but I continued to have topstitching issues. Still, I loved this combo, so I persevered. Here’s trick that worked for me.

 

  1. Topstitching thread issues and potential solution

As you know, a good pair of jeans is all about the topstitching. However, mine was just not working out at all. The topstitch thread kept showing on the wrong side, and the tension was just not right, in spite of increasing the needle tension to the max (9 on my machine).

So of course, I started googling. And I came across this article in good ol’ Threads Magazine. I went through their checklist and realised that my bobbin tension was too loose and that is why I could not achieve the correct tension for my topstitching. To test your tension in the bobbin of a front loading machine, like my Pfaff Select 4.0, put the bobbin in the case and pull the thread through the tension spring. Then let it drop (careful not to hit the floor or desk). If the tension is correct, the bobbin case will drop for about 25-30 cms and then stop. If it’s too loose, it will fall more or not stop at all, and if it’s too tight, it will not fall or only go for a few cms. This video explains how to do it. After that, my topstitching worker like a dream, and I managed to achieve some great results.

As an example, the topstitching on the wrong side of the back yoke and waistband. The yoke was done before I figured out this trick and the waistband after. As you can see, the yoke is showing the yellow topstitch thread peeping through, while the waistband is not, just the black bobbin thread.

TIL May (2016) #01.jpg

WARNING: In general, it’s best not to mess with the screw of the bobbin case. So do the test first and then only proceed very carefully in very very small increments. For me, it usually works to move the tiny screw with the nail of my thumb, so no need for a screwdriver. Also, different threads will require different tensions, so be sure to test if you change thread type. And btw, did you know that darker threads are thicker than lighter threads, even if they are the same brand? It’s because the dyes add to the diameter of the thread. So do the test every time!

So what other tips and tricks on top stitching, and jeans making in general have you figured out? Mine are still not finished, so plenty more to absorb and apply.

Alex x

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9 comments

  1. Excellent tips Alex! I know this is going to come in handy when I get ’round to my first pair of Gingers, rather nervous about the top stitching.

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    1. Don’t stress, just take it one step at a time. The most important thing about topstitching is to go slow and test on scraps until you feel it’s right. Good luck and can’t wait to see yours!

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  2. That’s so good to know. Especially since I got my Ginger jeans to make as well. Will have to get back to your post later when I finally get to them.

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    1. Thanks! In general, it’s not good to mess with the bobbin tension, so make sure you test as is before you do anythings else. Good luck!

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  3. Your so good! Jeans are the one garment I’m pretty sure I’ll end but always buying.
    Good tips I’m still learning about top stitching I had no idea there was even top sticking thread! I have so much to learn hahaha.

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  4. Ooh, good tips! I have jeans in the pipeline and I’m slightly terrified, particularly of all that top stitching! Trying to get as much info as possible before I make a start. Thanks!

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