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indigo_junkie

Modern vs. vintage chainstitch.

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One of these is off my Denime, which (to my belief) is sewn with a Union Special. The other one was done on a Bernina Funlock 009DCC. Can you tell which is which? (Of course anyone who actually owns a pair of Denime could tell straight away, but I couldn't find that colour in a 30w. I had to fiddle with the contrast a little because of the flash.

chain02.jpg

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The one on the bottom is a picture of the hem of my Denime. The one on the top is a chainstitch that I did on my new (used) Bernina. The stitch length is a little shorter and the tension is a little weaker than an industrial Union Special that the Denime was sewn on. Not exaclty the same, but at least now I can hem my own jeans at home, since no one in Sydney does a chainstitch hem. As far as I know, Richie at Another Inch did his chainstich on a domestic as well (before his gf took her machine back).

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Here's a pic:

chain01.jpg

Next on my list are a proper chainstitch foot and some quality polycore thread.

A few tailors I've spoken to said that it's better to have a lockstitch on the hem. Because with a chain stitch, all it takes is one loose thread and the whole thing can unravell. Even with this machine, it recommends using a needle and tying off the chainstitch properly after it's been removed from the macine. There was a big debate between chain and lockstitch (the infamous Jomon thread off the other SF). All I know is that chainstitch looks a heck of a lot better than lock.

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Oh I know Richie, I like his store.

I like the first pic....but no matter what Chainstitcht is more weaker than normal machine, but you did a good job, can you post the Bernina pics, because I use Brother Made in Japan for all my Chainstitch job.

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I was going to get the Brother 2340CV, but I got a better deal on this one. If I was to ever get another machine, it'd definitely be a Union Special. They look similar but they aren't the same. For now though, it's going to save me from using a tailor if I can't get my jeans hemmed at the store I buy them from.

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You can visit Australian Union Specials distributors

Capros Center

189 Paramatta Rd

NSW 2129

ph: 764 4455

been there and they have good stuff over there :)

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i am a die-hard US fan ( its the nostalgia) but no matter what you used, your tailoring is very good. the hem is lovely

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There are chainstitch machines and chainstitch machines. As ringring would say, the chainstitch such as those featured on vintage jeans is often referred to as a double lockstitch, it's not the same as a chainstitch on a domestic machine, many of which are actually designed for temporary 'tacking' so they're designed to unravel really easily.

Of all the denim used and abused over the years, I would have thought that enough to attest the durability of the chainstitch over the lockstitch. It's been discussed ad nauseum already. Besides without Union Special's hemmer attachment, the hem will not be rolled as oppossed to folded anyway and thus the hems won't look, feel or rope in the same way. If one cares for such things only a Union Special will do.

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I totally agree with Synthi, not just any Union Special will do.

There are so many variations and you need the right set up to achieve the true vintage feel and style of hem on a pair of jeans.

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it's not the same as a chainstitch on a domestic machine, many of which are actually designed for temporary 'tacking' so they're designed to unravel really easily.

I absolutely agree. This is just for appearances because I prefer the look of the chainstitch over a modern lockstitch. They do unravel easily, which should make it easy for me to undo when I get a proper Union Special (which won't be for many years yet). I only got this machine because no one in Sydney will do a chainstitch hem.

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Not a Union Special chainstitch by any means, but to my knowledge, the closest anyone is going to get to a chainstitch hem in Sydney. Just an old pair of 501STFs.

chain04-1.jpg

chain06.jpg

Bit crooked, but that's what practice is for. :rolleyes:

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I think I've got it now. A pair of Wrangler 13MWZ which I've gotten too fat for. I've put in an order for some grey thread so I can do the hems of my black kings next.

chain07.jpg

chain08.jpg

chain09.jpg

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There are chainstitch machines and chainstitch machines. As ringring would say, the chainstitch such as those featured on vintage jeans is often referred to as a double lockstitch, it's not the same as a chainstitch on a domestic machine, many of which are actually designed for temporary 'tacking' so they're designed to unravel really easily.

Of all the denim used and abused over the years, I would have thought that enough to attest the durability of the chainstitch over the lockstitch. It's been discussed ad nauseum already. Besides without Union Special's hemmer attachment, the hem will not be rolled as oppossed to folded anyway and thus the hems won't look, feel or rope in the same way. If one cares for such things only a Union Special will do.

This machine is doing a double lock chainstitch. This will do the same as a union special, save for posibbly going slower and working through thicker denim as union specials are industrial. The roping is due to the stitch length and thread tension.

don't feel like you need to upgrade to an industrial unless you plan on doing a shitload of chainstitching. This will do the same for hemming your jeans (although you have a lot of jeans :P)

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This machine is doing a double lock chainstitch. This will do the same as a union special, save for posibbly going slower and working through thicker denim as union specials are industrial. The roping is due to the stitch length and thread tension.

don't feel like you need to upgrade to an industrial unless you plan on doing a shitload of chainstitching. This will do the same for hemming your jeans (although you have a lot of jeans :P)

The jean-a-ma-jig takes care of the one thing a domestic machine can't do. That is, jump over felled seam humps (like 8 layers of denim). It serves its purpose, I guess. I was talking to a couple of guys who sell industrial strength thread, and they told me, eventually, the use of thicker (30/3, tex-60) thread is going to tax the looper and wear it out. It would eventually do to get myself a proper Union Special. Then the guy tells me that they had a used Union chainstitch hemmer complete with hedgehog attachment for sale only a couple of months ago. Apparently a work clothing factory shut down and they auctioned off all their machines. These guys picked them up, had their mechanic give them a go over and sold them for about $1000 each (that's motor and table included). I would have paid that amount without blinking. The guy said to keep in touch, maybe another one will come along. Just as a reference, a new one would set me back about $6000.

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well done, indigo_junkie...does this make you the regional hub for chainstitching in the south pacific? :o

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We'll see... I haven't got my order of #18 needles yet (don't know if these needles will blow up my machine. It's a Bernina though. It's supposed to be tougher than the Janome coverlock), I've got the thread tension up to max and until I figure out how to sew through 12 layers of denim (felled seam folded 3 times), I still have to cheat a little to get the chain on (cut 3 layers off to make 9 layers). So not an authentic chainstitch yet. But I'm working on it. :D

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Finally got around to my Fullcount 105NA. Hemmed from 36 to 33in.

chain12.jpg

chain14.jpg

Original hem.

chain13.jpg

chain11.jpg

Comparo: Union Special vs. Funlock 009DCC.

chain10.jpg

Note the difference in stitch length.

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We'll see... I haven't got my order of #18 needles yet (don't know if these needles will blow up my machine.
Way late, but don't get these needles, it's just like putting a nail through your denim and the stitch doesn't really look any better. If you fuck up and have to pull thread out you'll have big needle holes as though you'd run at a very small but consistent machine gun nest.

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even vintage jeans had variance in the chainstitch... always remember that the japanese repro version is the ideal... but not always true of vintage jeans.

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