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removable seam

Linda03052 | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all!

Several years ago I went to a Bablylock seminar about using the different feet that are available for their sergers.  The demonstrator teased us in the beginning, and showed us a seam that she put in that held well, but if you pulled the right thread it would just pull out, kind of like the way you would pull out the string at the top of the potato bag. 

Well, of course, I couldn’t stay until the very end, and never got to see the magic seam that (it seems to me) would be perfect for sewing muslins!  Does anyone know the secret?

Linda 03052


  1. MaryinColorado | | #1

    The chain stitch pulls out easily and is often used for basting, I think only the sergers with Coverstitch capability have it. 

    I also like to use the chainstitch for decorative serging, especially with YLI Glamour. 


    1. Linda03052 | | #2

      Hi Mary!

      Is the chainstitch the normal stitch that you would get on a normal sewing machine?  I know those come out easily if you make them long enough.  But this was a "one-pull-every stitch up the line" is out.  What is YLI Glamour?

      Linda 03052

      1. MaryinColorado | | #3

        No, a chainstitch is done on a serger. 

        1. Linda03052 | | #4

          Hmmmm!  I'll have to check that out!   Thanks!


        2. damascusannie | | #5

          Or on a chainstitcher. 8^) I have a chainstitcher permanently mounted in my big sewing table and use it mostly for basting, with a little machine embroidery thrown in now and again for fun.

          1. MaryinColorado | | #6

            Too cool!  You are awesome and have so many unique machines and tools.  This winter, you might be the only one sewing if our power bills get too high, nothing will stop you and your "natural wonders" though.  You go girl! 

          2. Linda03052 | | #7

            That's an awesome idea!  When you said it, I remembered that there was some "As Seen on TV" sewing thing several years ago that I believe I actually bought, and, although it wasn't advertised that way, that's all it did!  I was so angry!   I never even thought of actually using it that way!  It just goes to show that so much of life is ATTITUDE!  I'm gonna go see if I can find that thing!  Thanks BIGtime!

            Linda 03052

          3. damascusannie | | #8

            My chainstitcher is solid iron, made around the turn of the century, so it's seen a few years of use. Gotta think it's a bit better quality than any "as seen on TV" plastic wonder. 8^)

          4. Linda03052 | | #9

            Oh, absolutely, yours is beautiful!!!  But I'm more likely to be able to find mine than another one like yours! 

            Linda 03052

          5. damascusannie | | #10

            Actually, these are pretty common. They are on ebay all the time. The catch for most people is that they are just the heads--no power source. Of course for me, that's not a problem, I just dug out a set of orphan irons and my husband made a top and I was up and running in about 30 minutes.

          6. Linda03052 | | #11

            Orphan irons?

          7. damascusannie | | #12

            Oops! Forgot that I'm not on a sewing machine list any more! I sew with all treadle sewing machines--the old ones like our gt-grandma's used. The cast iron bases are called "irons". When I get an antique sewing machine in an unsalvageable cabinet, I save the irons, but now they are "orphan irons" because they don't have a cabinet to live in. I have "orphan heads", too.

          8. Linda03052 | | #13

            I went to ebay like you suggested-=-I see said the blind man!  I never knew these things existed!  I learned to sew from 4-H, and have made my own way since almost the beginning.  You wonderful women on this forum have provided me with fillers to so many blanks in my education--thank you so much!

            Linda 03052

            P.S.  God bless everyone who serves in 4-H--without it I wouldn't have found a passion for sewing that has lasted over 40 years (on and off!  LOL!)


          9. BernaWeaves | | #14

            Singer still makes the cabinets for treadle machines.  They're pressboard with wood veneer, but the treadle is cast iron and the drive band is leather.  I bought one about 20 years ago when I "unelectrified" my great grandfather's treadle machine that my aunt had electrified and put in a 1940's cabinet.  It was easy.  I just unscrewed the motor and placed the machine into the hole in the new cabinet and put the drive band on.  It still sews fantastic.



            Edited 8/24/2008 7:19 pm ET by BernaWeaves

          10. damascusannie | | #16

            Yeah--I know about the new treadle cabinets, but since treadles aren't rare anywhere, especially Singers, I much prefer to get an old cabinet than a new one. I have 16 treadles in my collection and find others every time I go to the antique shops. The most I've paid for a vintage treadle is $125 in a gorgeous oak cabinet. And just a couple of months ago I got a mint condition desk-style for $25, a much, much better deal than the new pressed wood cabinets.

          11. BernaWeaves | | #17

            Very true.  At the time I did this, I didn't have places to find old cabinets.  If I find one in the future, I would definitely swap it to a new old cabinet.



          12. MaryinColorado | | #27

            My vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds!  Love it!  Wish I'd inherited Grandma's treadle!  I also wish I'd known that she could hold a piece of fabric up to a person, and create beautiful suits and clothing without a pattern or measurements, just draping and incredible knowledge.  I spent summers with her when I was in high school and could kick my mother for not telling me or showing me all the photos of her excellent "designer" one of a kind clothing.  It irks me to this day, but all is forgiven of course.  It's just one of those strange things.  I taught myself to sew, then took Home Ec in high school too.  Grandma taught me many other wonderful things, but I never could get "tatting" down.  She did beautiful handwork and drawn threadwork.  I found a book on how to do it by machine so some day hope to try that too. 

            Your quilts are beautiful, you are an inspiration!  If it wasn't for the arthritis, I'd be trying out the treadle again too.   Mary

          13. damascusannie | | #28

            I'm assuming you have arthritis in your knees and ankles. One thing that I have been hearing is that the gentle movement of treadling is good for moving the leg joints without stressing them. Maybe treadling would be good for you! 8^) One friend who recently had knee replacement surgery was encouraged to sew on her treadle for short periods of time as part of her therapy.

          14. MaryinColorado | | #30

            Thanks, that's food for thought.  I'll keep my eye out for a good deal on a treadle machine, my son would love it if it doesn't work out for me.  If I still lived in Wisconsin, I'd request a lesson to see if I am able to do it!  (Grandma lived in Wausau, that's where I was originally from too.) 

            Kayla Kennington does a retreat up there that always sounded like a great one to go to!  Mary

          15. damascusannie | | #31

            I have retreats here, too, you know. You could learn treadling and then if you liked it, you could take one home with you! 8^)

          16. MaryinColorado | | #32

            That would be "sew" fine!!!  I will definitely keep you in mind.  I drive to Northern Illinois at least once a year to visit relatives and friends.  This year I added Arkansas and Missouri to my adventure (An extra 800 miles, whew!)  What part of Wisconsin are you in?  I usually go in the late Spring.  I'd love to hear more about your retreats, maybe I can get Rodezzy to join us too as she is another "northern gal". 

          17. damascusannie | | #33

            I live in the NW part of the state--about an hour and half east of St.Paul, MN. I'm working on my retreat schedule for 2009 right now and I'll let you know when things are finalized.

          18. MaryinColorado | | #34

            Great!  I look forward to hearing about it.  I looked at the pictures on your website, your studio looks huge and so organized!  Mary

          19. damascusannie | | #35

            Mary wrote: I looked at the pictures on your website, your studio looks huge and so organized!ROTFL!!! Only because I took the pictures right after I'd cleaned it! Believe me, it doesn't usually look like that!

          20. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #36

            What! You actually got to CLEAN? YOUR SEWING ROOM? What happened? did you lose something? tee hee. Cathy

          21. damascusannie | | #37

            No, I held a quilting retreat in it so I had no choice! Actually, I do clean it thoroughly about four times a year, when the piles get so high that they are threatening to engulf me, or when I can no longer access my cutting table. When it begins to interfere with my quilting something MUST be done!

          22. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #38

            Is it hard to plan a Retreat? We are discussing a get together under Suede Doll. Cathy

          23. rodezzy | | #39

            Yea, what did you do, and how did you get people interested and there?  Were they from your area, or other states, countries.....what.....drooling now.

            Edited 9/2/2008 2:27 pm ET by rodezzy

          24. damascusannie | | #40

            Ok, well, I knew there was a lot of interest in free-motion quilting on one of my other forums, so I decided to have a free-motion quilting retreat here at my house. I picked a date, then asked if anyone would be interested and I got eight takers. Since this was an actual class-style retreat, I did charge a fee for the class. Folks stayed either here at the house (first-come, first-served) or at a little motel in a nearby town. The ladies came from as much as six hours away, and there were actually a couple from across the country that tried to make it work. Future retreats will be held for free-motion quilting, learning to use people-powered machines and some general bring-your-own-projects retreats.

          25. MaryinColorado | | #44

            Looks so impressive and open, you lucky gal! 

            I just reorganized everything so I can mess it up again making my grandson's quilt and the puppy harnesses and hopefully start on some dollies and and and.......

            You all are such an inspiration here!  Thank You for helping me get through the rough spots!  Mary

          26. damascusannie | | #46

            I'm truly blessed to have such a wonderful work space--it makes quilting a joy for me. And, that said, it's time to get upstairs and get quilting!

          27. MaryinColorado | | #47

            Yes you are and you make great use of your blessings and skills!  Way to go!  Enjoy!  Mary

          28. Josefly | | #42

            Annie, does quilting on your machines, treadle or other, hurt your hands? Holding the heavy fabric and moving it around would seem to be to be hard on hands. Or have you some way of using your treadle machine with a hoop or some other aid that makes it easier?

          29. damascusannie | | #43

            Manuevering heavy quilts is very labor-intensive. I wear gloves with rubber-coated fingers and palms to help me grip the quilt, plus my husband built me a huge table with a glossy finish that both supports the quilt and helps it move easily. Hooping the quilt would be more trouble than it's worth as I'd have to stop and reposition the hoop about every two to five minutes. You can see pictures of my quilting table in the "Studio" album via the webshots link in my signature.

  2. jjgg | | #15

    If it was a serged seam, you just have to pull the NEEDLE thread. If you use two needles, you have to pull out both needle threads and then the whole thing just comes apart.

    1. Linda03052 | | #18

      So the needle seam on a serger, is, in essence, just a chainstitch?  And if I disabled the overlock part (I believe that's easy to do) I can just pull the stitch, and VOILA!?!

      Linda 03052

      1. vwren99 | | #19

        Not all sergers are capable of making chainstitches. The typical serger/overlock seam is not a chainstitch.

      2. Josefly | | #20

        Just want to say that my old 1965 or '66 Singer Touch'n'Sew does a nice chain stitch. It is great for making a muslin, with easily removable stitches. The bobbin isn't used when chain-stitching, and the machine is threaded slightly differently. I never thought to use it for decorative purposes, but it could be done. My old machine has lasted all these years, with very few problems. It has several features that I really like, and though I sometimes wish for a new machine with so many "new" features, I dread the day when I can't use my faithful machine. It's a mechanical machine - uses cams for the decorative stitches. I wonder if it could be converted to a treadle?

        1. Linda03052 | | #21

          All the time I was growing up I had a machine (it was a small Singer) that my parents had bought from the old lady next door.  I loved it, too.  It even had a table that went with it, and the machine would fit right in.  One day, a friend of mine gave me her machine because she wasn't going to sew anymore.  So I gave the old Singer to my niece, to keep it in the family.  I'm still kicking myself!  Though to be honest she's used and loved it like I did, I MISS it!  I don't know if it would chain stitch though!  I'll have to go visit her an look through the manual!

          Linda 03052

          1. Josefly | | #22

            It's worth checking. The "Touch'n'Sew" machines were zig-zag machines, produced in the mid-sixties. Not sure how long they were made. Would your machine have been of that era?

          2. Linda03052 | | #23

            No.  My mom bought it in about 1960, so it was probably made during the 50's, even possibly the late 40's.  It was a great little machine, in its own little suitcase, and I used to lug it up the street to 4-H, along with my sewing supplies.  Truly a lobor of love!  LOL!  I never did any chain-stitch with it, but maybe only because I didn't know about it! 

            Linda 03052

          3. MaryinColorado | | #29

            I have an old Touch and Sew Singer, will have to dig it out of the garage and see if it does chain stitches.  It sounds strange to not use the bobbin. 

             I use my chain stitch feature on my Huskylock serger, but now am so curious.  I had no idea there were all these possibilities or that there was a machine just for chain stitching!  We really learn something new here every day!  Mary 

          4. Josefly | | #41

            Yeah, check out your old Touch & Sew. Mine is a model 603E. The chain stitch is easily removed. Funny thing is, I use the feature more now than I did when we (the machine and I) were young. I was too impatient in those days and preferred to sew the seam once and hope it didn't need altering; and most of the time, in those days, I didn't have to alter the patterns. Boy, did that change.You know, I was looking at some of my not-so-new issues of Threads, and came upon a short article on the early Singer sewing machines. I was surprised to learn from it, (and I think this was reiterated by damascusannie in one of her history postings), that the earliest sewing machines were all chain-stitchers, and didn't go over well because the stitch wasn't stable and pulled out too easily. Singer's machine was the first (if I'm remembering the article correctly) to use two threads.

          5. MaryinColorado | | #45

            Thanks, if it does the chain stitch, maybe I can just leave it set up for that instead of switching the serger over to chain as often.  I had planned to bring it in the house before winter and make sure it's in good working order as I hope to start experimenting with leather on it. 

          6. damascusannie | | #24

            Sounds like you let a Featherweight with table get away from you. It wouldn't have done a chainstitch, but they are great for straight stitching and sell like hotcakes to quilters who want a good, lightweight machine to take to classes and retreats.

          7. Linda03052 | | #25

            It definitely was a great machine!  And my niece does use it for her quilting (which I don't do).  And  while I miss it terribly, I know that it's still in the family and being used productively!

            Linda 03052

          8. damascusannie | | #26

            I think it's great that it's still in the family and a testimonial to how well they were made that it's still in use. But, of course, that comes as no surprise to me. 8^)

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