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I need tips for sewing webbing!
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Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Re: Nylon vs. Polyester thread? on 08/13/2013 20:34:58 MDT Print View

"And I wear a couple pairs of shorts all the time for years."

Well, Jerry, live and let live but I prefer to wear one pair of shorts at a time and wash them at least once a week.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Nylon vs. Polyester thread? on 08/13/2013 20:51:25 MDT Print View

ha, ha, ha...

that's why I have two pair : )

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
Re: Nylon vs. Polyester thread? on 08/13/2013 22:08:45 MDT Print View

#69 thread is about tex 70. Different measurement systems, so it's just coincidence the numbers are close. A home machine may or may not sew these well. Many will, some won't. you'd have to try on your machine, and see. For your purposes, I think either of the threads you mention would work. Buy some of both, and see which you like better. It's important to match thread to the needle size. If you're using a big needle, you generally need a larger thread. Different thread diameters may require some tension adjustment. The gutermnan Jerry is using is probably mara 100. That's what's on the little spools of 'sew all' at fabric stores. It's usually much cheaper to buy it from someone who calls it mara 100, and sells it on 1000 or 5000 M spools or cone; one downside is that the color numbers don't match from the two sales channels.

As an aside, thread measuring systems aren't measuring diameter. They all measure linear density -- the amount a given length of thread weighs, or in older system, the length of a given weight of thread. Tex is nominally the number of grams a kilometer of thread weighs, but that's just nominally. There are only certain tex numbers defined in the standard, and there's rounding. The linear density is because it's heard to measure the diameter of something small and squishy, and because even on good modern threads, there's pretty substantial variations in diameter. Variations of 10 or 15% in spun threads are usual, less in extruded threads.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
webbing with a cheap machine on 08/14/2013 09:41:01 MDT Print View

You have a few options.

Adjust tension as mentioned above.

Alter your design so you don't have too many layers of fabric and webbing at any one point.

Use poly webbing. It's not as durable as nylon webbing, but a lot easier to sew and for many applications is more than strong and durable enough.

A use a slightly older, high-end Babylock machine. It's on the burly side for a quilting machine, but has shortcomings when it comes to pack making. I've broken many needles, and last month stripped a bunch of teeth off the belt. Fortunately that was an easy and fairly cheap fix. I've learned that I get better results with thinner threads, and shorter and more dense stitch patterns. You can make a perfectly good pack with embroidery thread if you do everything right and don't cut corners. Many commercial pack makers use Tex90 thread as a substitute for good design and careful construction.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: webbing with a cheap machine on 08/14/2013 09:49:16 MDT Print View

On thin fabric, do not have needle holes closer than about 1 mm or it will weaken the fabric.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Pairing needle size with thread size on 08/14/2013 13:38:06 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the help so far, I feel like I'm learning a lot.

One point of confusion for me still is how to properly pair needle size with thread size. A few of you have suggested using a "denim" specific needle, which I take is in the 90/14 or 100/16 size range. Meanwhile, others have suggested using a lighter weight thread for ease of sewing...

But now I read online that pairing the size of needle with the size of thread is very important for getting a nice end result and smooth sewing. This implies that the heavier "denim" needles will require heavier thread, and the lighter needles will need lighter thread.

Which one should I go with? Also, should I be using sharp needles or more rounded needles?

I'll be sewing through 210 denier double ripstop nylon (pack body), nylon webbing, and maybe a little bit of 600 denier polyester (pack bottom), though not necessarily all of those things together at once.

Thanks again for all your help!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Pairing needle size with thread size on 08/14/2013 14:25:34 MDT Print View

"Which one should I go with?"

There is no one perfect needle size for everything. Be prepared to have a small, medium, and large one available to swap in instantly whenever your sewing changes.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pairing needle size with thread size on 08/14/2013 15:47:57 MDT Print View

> heavier "denim" needles will require heavier thread, and lighter needles will need lighter thread.
Correct. That's part of the reason for having different sized needles.
You don't use light thread on heavy fabric or webbing of course.


Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Pairing needle size with thread size on 08/14/2013 15:56:23 MDT Print View

Could one of you make the distinction for me of what light, medium, and heavy thread is defined by in terms of something like tex number (or some other thread metric)? This is all getting a little relativistic and I'd like to bring it back to real world numbers if at all possible. Thanks!

David Scheidt
(dscheidt) - F
needles on 08/14/2013 16:41:32 MDT Print View

Denim needles are not a size; it's a needle construction method. The blade of the needle (the part above the eye) is thicker, which makes needle a bit stiffer, and less likely to deflect. they're hard to find in small sizes, but Schmetz do make them in sizes down to 70/10. The other style of needle that's very useful for gear making is a 'sharp' or 'microtex', which have a sharply pointed point.

As for matching needle size to thread (or vice versa), I'd suggest starting with these recommendations:

on a domestic machine you can almost always get away with using a size or two smaller than that chart suggests, because the speeds are so low.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: needles on 08/14/2013 16:44:00 MDT Print View

smaller needle makes smaller hole in fabric which weakens it less and allows less water through?

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Check this out on 08/14/2013 17:37:38 MDT Print View


Here is a good summary on thread size, needle selection, etc. for nylon thread. Should help answer some questions. It also has the same info under polyester thread and the others.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: I need tips for sewing webbing! on 08/14/2013 20:31:53 MDT Print View

Hi Derek,

I just found this thread and was wondering how long it would take you to get back to the comment about 'Denim Needles".

My first sewing machine was a sort of cheap Walmart Brothers. I used it for several packs and one day was pushing pulling the webbing through the needle and the machine stopped. I couldn't get it to run.

Brothers has a repair service at a local Sewing Center in my home town. I called and told them I broke my sewing machine. The lady asked me how and I explained. I told her I wanted to buy a new sewing machine. She said bring what you were sewing to the store. It was a short drive and about 15 minutes later I was showing her what I was sewing when I killed my sewing machine. She asked me if I had a "Denim Needle, I said I what. (Deer in the headlights moment). She looked at the webbing a had been sewing and walked to the needle section. Picked out a "Schmetz - Jeans/Denim 130/705 H-J pack of needles. Went over to the least expensive Brothers machine they sell, put in a needle and sewed through the several layers of webbing like it was nothing. I said I want to buy that machine. She had sent my broken machine to the back to be looked at. A man brought it back and said it was fixed. I had knocked something out of balance or something. She sat the machine next to the new one, exchanged needles and sewed the webbing with no problem.

I think the "Denim" needle is made stronger and thinner then a standard needle. I still bought the new sewing machine and now use both.

For light stuff such as Cuben or Pertex Quantum I use a Titanium coated needle size 90/14. The pack of needles I am looking at is the Organ Needles brand.

The nice thing about buying a new sewing machine from the Sewing Center was a group of free class that went with the purchase.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Sewing 101 on 08/15/2013 08:19:38 MDT Print View


This article really helped me:

Sewing 101