The old support strap and the new support strap. I matched the dimensions really well.

Here’s the latest on the stroller: I cut the new support strap and stitched its edges.Β 

To finish the outer edges, I stitched them twice, trapping the raw edge inside the finished edge. As I mentioned in my last post about the jogging stroller, I added a 1-inch seam allowance to all the strap’s edges. The plan was to fold and stitch each edge twice at 1/2 inch.

Well, the stitching was closer to 1/4 inch than 1/2 inch. It slipped my mind that the presser foot spreads the fabric, and the seam allowance math that works on paper did not work in reality. The moral of the story is test how the fabric will spread before attacking the final piece, and keep measuring to make sure you’re on track! I knew the strap needed to be 8-by-20 inches, and I measured the support after each seam and made adjustments accordingly.

The hole is marked but uncut.

I haven’t yet cut the holes. My plan is to test different ways of finishing raw edges of the ripstop nylon before I slice into the strap. While I haven’t done research on sewing with nylon, I’ve got three ideas about how to treat the edges:

  • Use liquid seam sealant, which I mentioned in this post.
  • Before cutting out the rectangle, sew a small zig-zag stitch around it, and add bar tacking/backstitching at each corner for reinforcement. Liquid seam sealant then would be applied to the edges after the hole was made.
  • Cut out the rectangle with a hot knife or razor (per a reader’s suggestion). I need to do a burn test with the material to see how it melts. If the burn test goes well, this could be fastest and cleanest way to finish the edges.
I frequently get tangled thread on the bobbin side of stitching, and it drives me crazy!

In semi-related business, work on this piece has lead to a revelation. My sewing machine is fairly temperamental. I frequently end up with wads of thread on the bobbin side of projects, and at this point in my sewing career, I don’t think it’s technique.

MVH and I bought the sewing machine about five years ago off eBay for about $80. The machine is a Kenmore and was new when we bought it; we were told it’s a Janome clone, and I believe it retailed new for about $125. Based on the price, it’s not a high-end machine, but it’s not disposable either. We bought a cheapish machine to see whether we (and I in particular) enjoyed sewing. If we lost interest, we would not have sunk a ton of cash into the hobby.

As I whipped the strap and its bunched-up-bobbin-side stitching across my sewing table in frustration, MVH said, “You know, every time you sew, I hear you swearing. A LOT. Maybe it’s time to get a better sewing machine.” I said I had been thinking about it, and he suggested that I do some research and visit local sewing stores and that maybe a new sewing machine could be a Christmas present!

So I want your suggestions, fellow sewists. What do you sew with? What do you like about your machine? What do you loathe about it? Know any good sewing machine stores in the Milwaukee area? Please advise!