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Chain Stitching Sewing Machines and Where to Get Them


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I envy all the denim nerds in the states.. There are heaps of machines there on sale. To even find a machine in Australia that does a chainstitch is hard enough.

Let me know if you want to me to list all the places i've seen that have stocked Union Special machines in the states.. i think i may have talked enough on this thread.

@denimotaku Hi there. I pulled up your post and wasn't able to find your list of shops in the states selling Union Special. I would be very interested in seeing your findings if you dont mind! I have an old Union Special patcher and am always on the look out for more Union Special machines. Thanks again.

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  • 1 month later...

I just bought a brand new 43200G Union Special.

Literally new, still in the original crate. Paid a fortune for it, literally.

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I just have to say that is not true for Blue in Green. I bought a pair of Samurais there the other day and it took less than 20 minutes from paying to having my jeans hemmed and walking out the door. I don't know the guy's name(not Gordon) but he is completely helpful with any questions and choosing the length to get them hemmed. I came back 3 days later to get them a bit shorter, same deal. Even said to bring them back again if I want them shorter. :D
^^Yep, depending on how busy BiG gets, most of my hems take place on the spot.

if gordon is there, I usually wait 20 minutes and he's done.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys thanks for the interest.

I've been following this forum for ages / years really... its about time I contributed and gave back.

Yeah for the past year I've been buying up alot if machines, (mostly union specials)

I've got 43200g, 2nd generation, 39200, 3 thread over locker from 1930, 30100 Single needle chain stitch from 1915. I've also got a 3 needle chain stitch machine coming. Plus a number of other machines.

Someone mentioned they needed parts (or needles), I found most of my parts and esp needles from eBay, but I found a great guy now in taiwan who sells needles for most union specials including 43200g. I got 2 pcs of 43208g, (which is the looper needle) at USD12/pc. Super cheap ! These needles go for 50-80Usd on eBay, plus I paid the guy via paypal He posted it all with ems tracking shipping ! I love being in the far east.

I agree, there seems to be a lot of union specials and other vintage machines in the states, but ive been lucky in ebay.co.uk also… Seems to be a lot of great union specials – chain stitch machines on there, going for 200-400 quid… lots of nice machines from 1930's and earlier.

Im living out in Singapore at present, and have met some amazing factory owners who have loads of machines gathering dust next door in Malaysia. This is because most of the manufacturing has shifted to china and HK, so Singapore / Malaysia have loads of vintage machines up for grabs..

So far ive found a few sellers of 43200g coming from Malaysia, at about 3000GBP which is pretty good price. I paid a lot more for mine, and its from a seller in Bangkok. ( same seller who just sold another 43200g on ebay at $3750USD)

Any way back to the contact:

For any needles or parts its important you know what your looking for – Tables and motors are pretty easy to come buy, even new ones are cheap if you go direct to Juki for example. Or a simple small Singer motor can do the trick with out getting a huge table. Most machines after 1930 have instructions online and nice parts lists. Its better to do your home work on a part, then start emailing and looking though sewing machine websites: like http://www.college-sewing.co.uk plus there are many sellers of parts in Mexico and China, some who I hear can do reproduction parts…

The guy I found super helpful ( where I got my needles from) is a guy called: Robert from YEONG TZAW ASSOCIATES

[email protected]






TEL::886-2-29060325 FAX:886-2-29035545

E-MAIL:[email protected]

MSN:[email protected]



Any way ill try and help where I can, and will post and contribute more. I hope my post is helpful.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Our New Union Special 43200G - Literally "New"

If there is one machine in the current world of vintage style jeans that has the mystique of a fairly tale it's the Union Special 43200G chainstitching machine.

This is the machine the Japanese first scoured the world for starting in the 1980's, they wanted them to place in their factories which reproduced vintage styles of American jeans from the 1950's and before. It was a good twenty years until the rest of the world realized what was happening in Japan, by that time most of the 43200G machines had been bought up by the Japanese factories, brands, and retailers to put in their stores for in-store hemming.

When we opened Self Edge San Francisco five years ago it took us a good six months to find a chainstitching machine that worked properly and wasn't missing essential parts. Two years ago Self Edge New York went through an even harder time finding one of these machines, the story continued a year ago with Self Edge Los Angeles' quest for a machine.

Now all three of our stores have these machines for in-house hemming services. Needless to say these machines are becoming extremely difficult to find and when found the prices they're demanding are high for a retail store to pay, especially in the condition they're coming in. Recently on eBay a 43200G machine sold for $5000 that looked like as if it had been dropped off a cliff, machines in this shape will never work properly for long and will need constant service to keep them hemming in the way they were intended to.

We have just acquired what we feel to be one of the rarest Union Special 43200G machines in existence, a new one. One that has never been used and still has the sample piece of denim hanging out of it's teeth which they test the machine at the factory with before strapping it into a small crate. We went back and forth on whether or not we should be spending a small fortune on a machine that would essentially be redundant considering we already have enough chainstitching machines for our stores. We couldn't resist and honestly bought it purely for the reason of wanting to fondle the thing in person, photos weren't enough. We wanted to hear it's purr as it ripped through hems faster and smoother than any other machine we've seen.

This machine will be assembled with a custom table built by Roy Slaper and will be used on daily basis to hem your jeans at Self Edge San Francisco by Julian Dash of Holy Stitch, SESF's hemming and repair division.

This is otaku at it's finest.











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Kiya...You Lucky B@$~%?D (Jokes).

That is Incredible. Congratulations.

Im sure there cant be any others like that anywhere. It seems impossible that there would even be this one that was unused! Great Find, and im sure your now convinced that it was worth every penny (right?).

Does this mean you'll have a 'Spare' to sell from the in the store that this is going to be used in?

Make us a little video of it being used fully for the first time - on its new bench - go on, you could put it on your website as a demo for the hemming service...You know you want to share with us ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

hey guys,

we at BlackBlue have recently acquired a solid 43200G for the shop. it works great (knock on wood!!) but before we release this beast on the midwest and start hemming for the public, i have a few questions:

first: what is the maintenance schedule like? i oil it almost every time i use it but i'm worried that i'm either missing places to oil or am not aware of other preventative measures.

second: what's the best way to tie off both ends? almost every denim brand i look at seems to do this differently. unraveling hems is not the dream.

third: the bolt mentioned by the_clerk to adjust stitch length seems to be as far left as it will go which seems to make a pretty long stitch. is there a benefit or advantage to a long or a short stitch? i'm weary of taking off the guard to do the adjustment although i probably need to do it anyway at somepoint to lube up some key spots or to clean.

if is there anything else i'm missing please let me know. i'm still adjusting thread tension to see what will work best.







thanks a lot for your help and apologies for the huge pixxx

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  • 3 weeks later...

Satchel, I had no idea you acquired one. I guess that's the price of being too busy to stay in touch with anybody.

Good to know there is a chainstitcher pretty much down the street now. Hopefully you've gotten some good info re your questions.

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it's awesome. i've spoken a few times with John from Raleigh denim who knows what's up and was involved in the set-up of all the self edge union specials. it's been fun to hear people's responses.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I figured this was as good of a place as any for this...

I recently purchased a Consew 325 industrial chain stitching machine. I still can't get over how much this thing weighs!!! It's super sturdy and hums along like a dream.

Consew 325 Chain Stitching Machine

I'm excited to incorporate this stitch type into the stuff I build for myself, but I'm not sure how far to go with it. I've seen some jeans where only the cuffs are chain stitched, but on others I've seen the inseam, outseam, waistband, pocket bags, etc. done in this manner.

Is there a correct amount of chain stitching to use? Can a person go too far or does it simply depend on what period or style you're going after? I'm guessing that early denim was almost entirely chain stitched... or am I out to lunch on that assumption?

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Depends what you mean by early but I think you've got it the wrong way around.

The LVC models are a useful guide. My 1915s don't have any chainstitching at all and I think the earliest models that have chainstitched hems (and therefore possibly in other places) are the 1933 501 and the 1920s 201.

There are others on this forum who can provide a more comprehensive summary, but that's a useful starting point.

In terms of how much chainstitching to use, take a look at a classic LVC or Japanese model and use that as a reference point.

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Hmmmm… I see. I always assumed that the lock stitch was a newer invention intended to improve the durability of a seam. Why did manufactures start introducing the chain stitch? Was it simply to avoid the time waster of changing out bobbins?

I’ll admit that it’s nice to have two large spools of thread in open view and never having to worry about when the bobbin will eventually run dry :)

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