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Help with cotton duck slipcovers

budge1
13 years ago

I'm planning on covering our sofa with some unbleached cotton duck. A local fabric store had a 25% off sale this week and I went to buy some. I was surprised to find there are so many different weights of the cotton duck.

I bought a sample of the 10 oz. to wash and see how it softens up, but I'm really unsure of what weight to get. I want it to feel substantial but not hard. There was also some unbleached cotton sheeting that felt nice but I don't think was heavy enough.

Anyone made their own slipcovers and can offer me any advice? TIA.

Comments (60)

  • pahance
    13 years ago

    Good to know, chelone. I probably need to get one of those walking feet. I was sewing piping onto a pillow the other day and had all kinds of problems with the needle breaking. Maybe the walking foot would help, as it was when I was helping the machine feed the fabric through that the needle would break.

    I don't mean to hijack, but have you or any one else heard of a Pearls & Piping foot (see link)? I was thinking about buying one of these but don't know if it's all hype. Looks interesting though, if it does what it says it claims to do.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pearls-n-Piping Foot

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Lots of great info here. I can see how well my mother sews reading all of this!

    I guess I'm a bit confused on the cotton duck. Maybe what I've seen and heard was a mix or something. One reason I was interested is from hearing how you could just toss them in the wash and bleach the stains out. Of course, then fabric breakdown comes to mind with the bleach.

    And I do love the look in European and shoreside interiors!

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  • chelone
    13 years ago

    My machinery is all commercial/industrial grade, rosewind. I am not familiar with what you've linked and it wouldn't likely be compatible with my machinery. But it may be REALLY beneficial for those with home machines.

    If you are breaking needles "helping" your machine feed the work I offer the following suggestions:
    1.) select a stouter needle. If you are using a 14, bump up to a 16 or maybe an 18.
    2.) do a stitch test! using a scrap "sample" of the same thickness as what you plan to sew. Study the stitches and determine which adjustments you ought to make; then do the whole thing again until it's RIGHT, this is cheap insurance.
    3.) if you're breaking needles "helping" your machine you are undoubtedly trying to force the work under the needle. Go back to #1 and #2. Trust me on this. I used to make bluejean skirts on Mum's White Rotary (1901!) and learned the lessons of tension adjustment and needle size in 1970.

    Home machines require more "fiddling" than do industrials. But they are every bit as useful. Learn to use the TOOL!

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    What confuses you with repect to cotton duck, Squirrel.? maybe I can help explain it.

  • mry193
    13 years ago

    Hey rosewind, I was just about to hijack myself! I wanted to ask chelone if there is any other foot to use to make piping besides the zipper foot. And when I am inserting it I always feel as though I am sewing backward as I always end up having to stuff cushion covers or whatever through the center opening of the machine. Chelone? Any words of wisdom? What am I doing wrong? TIA
    The Pearls-n-Piping Foot looks like it would work much better than my ole zipper foot to make the piping. :)

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Thanks, Chelone. I've heard the cotton covers were ones you could just throw in the wash with some bleach to get rid of the stains from spills or pets. Also, just the other day, I was thinking how bleach breaks down fabrics and they deteriorate -- maybe it depends on the fabric?

    I've recently been looking through vintage linens, too, and seem to remember those being a 'bleach the stains out' fabric also. But they are so delicate. Getting a bit confused!

    I not only love the look of the tailored whites, but have pets (and an older sofa I'd like to cover in the summer). Cats have a tendency to throw up, too, so the washing thing is very appealing!

    Thanks for your input!

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    Natural fibres (cotton, linen, silk, wool, even rayon) are great fibres. And they have their place. But as far as stain resistence goes... I don't rate them highly. In fact, I think they're "high maintenance". Vomit, urine, sweat are all natural by-products of our bodies and all are corrosive. Natural fibres have no magical resistence to any of them. Bleach is about the toughest thing you can throw at a natural fibres. BE CAREFUL using it! it can be very useful... but every bit as dangerous and destructive.

    The sythetics are the KINGS of stain resistence. Hands down! ALL the fabric recommended for use in hospitals, nursing homes, schools are SYNTHETIC. They don't absorb wet stains, natural fibres do.

    Many people want natural fibres (I personally prefer them in my clothing), but often they AREN'T the best choice. However, when combined with sythetic yarns you can have the best of both with a few concessions. A high ratio of polyester with cotton greatly increases stain resistence and wearability. Nylons can do the same thing, but be careful of nylons in high UV areas. Look for acrylic in those areas, and if it is for outdoor use... acrylic is what you want if you aren't using a vinyl or coated, open weave meshes.

    I know this is late and not what you want to hear. But cotton duck is NOT the easy care fabric you've been lead to believe. If you are willing to preshrink it and treat it for stain resistence (repeatedly!), go for it. But it AIN'T gonna be "easy care". Of that, I am certain.

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Thanks for all the great info, Chelone. Amazing how they cover none of this in Materials & Textiles. ! Sigh.

    I guess I'll be going for the look then, not the fiber :)

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I've got the 1st cushion done and just wanted to thank you chelone. I have been having trouble with my machine for awhile and I thought I would have to take it in for cleaning and repairs. Halfway through this cushion my needles started breaking. I tried adjusting tension to no avail. I kept thinking about how you said not to be afraid to fiddle with your machine and how important it was for the feeddogs to do their work. Well I took the plate off (1st time in 23 yrs) and you can imagine how much cr@p was in amongst the dogs. I cleared it out and it is working great now.

    Also, I avoided the cotton welting that was the only type sold anywhere in our city. I went to home depot and bought polyester braided cord in the right diameter. If you hadn't mentioned about cotton welting shriinking I probably would have gone with what they were selling at the fabric store.

    I think I may have made one mistake in using snap tape instead of zipper. I couldn't find a zipper the right length that looked as if it could hold up to abuse. The snap tape is cotton twill and of course I forgot to preshrink. Oh well we shall see.

    I think I need to start a slipcover blog.

    Thanks again.

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    YES!

    Budge., I'm happy for you. I am so pleased you decided to "go for it" and clean your own machine. Isn't it easy? and now you know what a difference routine cleaning can make in its performance. And that makes sewing more fun, doesn't it?!

    My equipment is virtually all commercial/industrial grade. My overlock machine and my high-speed Juki (a needle feed) are "self-oilers", they sit in a reservoir of oil and as they're operated the oil is pumped throughout the machine.

    The other machines (2 single needle lockstitch machines; Singer and Willcox&Gibbs), a blindstitch (US Blindstitch), and button sewing machine (Chandler), and a needle-feed, walking foot machine (Juki) all require operator oiling. I tend to oil them before I use them since they often sit for weeks between use. I ALWAYS run a stitch test after oiling to allow the sample to sop up any excess oil. I clean my machines about once weekly, too. If I've worked on something particularly nasty (a filthy boat canvas, tent, pool cover, etc.) I clean the machine thoroughly after the work and then OIL IT again. Grit, grime, and accumulated lint sop up oil "like you read about".

    Cleanliness and thorough oiling is CHEAP INSURANCE. No machine ever dies because it was cleaned or oiled too often. It's the same thing as a car... precision machinery requires oil. And some TLC.

    Maybe you'll post some shots of your slipcover? if you're feeling really brave? I'd love to see it... . I love to sew and wish I could sit next to every frustrated sewer for a day to take some of the fear out "monkeying around with your machine". I'm glad I was able to give you some help and a little confidence. Your post made my day!

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I would LOVE to have you sit next to me for a day of sewing chelone, but I think you would be the one frustrated at the end of the day. I love to sew but really have no idea what I'm doing.

    I've got the 2 bottom cushions done and have a question for you if you're still out there. I made the box strips 5" wide (6" before sewing) but I'm not sure how wide to make the box strips on the back cushions. The 5" seems way too wide for the smaller back cushions, but is it okay to not have them be the same as the bottom cushions? The original cushions don't have any box strips so I can't measure from them.

    TIA

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    How thick is the foam on the back cushions? You base the width of the BOXING on the thickness of the foam you are going to cover.

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Unfortunately there isn't foam either. It is just fibrefill sort of stuff packed in there and then, since that had packed down quite a bit, I added a down/feather pillow in each (which works remarkably well)

    The pic is before I added the pillows.

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    Why don't you simply cut one of the existing back cushions apart and copy it? That's what I'd do. :)

    If you aren't using foam, using boxing is going to be problematic and you're probably going to wind up unhappy with the overall appearance of the finished cushion. Don't torture yourself on such a big project, kiddo. Copy what you have, it's "right" for the couch aesthetically, and it will make your life a helluva lot easier.

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Oooh that would be easy, but DH is having a bird over me cutting just that little strip of material holding the cushions to the back of the sofa. I could just see him if I actually cut the cushions. However, I think I can just lay them down and make a reasonable pattern. Thats what I did with the bottom cushions and it worked well.

    DH is very supportive of my "projects" but until he sees the finished product is always wary. He comes from a family that hires a pro for every little thing, but is slowly learning to enjoy the highs and lows of DIY.

    Thanks again.

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    Blow him off, Budge!

    Tell him all QUALITY sofas have cushions that you can remove at will and, get this: acually, turn over!

    He's being a knucklehead. You suspect it, and I KNOW it. :)

    You can also take a hunk of discardable bedsheet and, using pins mark out the edge of the cushion along the seamline where the welt is. If there is a "tuck" in the corners make a mark there and slash to the point so the fabric pattern will lie flat; remember to add the SEAM ALLOWANCE when you cut the piece out (usually it's A 1/2" allowance).

    OR, you can defy your beloved knucklehead and cut the damn thing apart shortly after he's left for work and you have the time to replicate the cushion... that's what I'd do. ;)

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Budge, had a thought after reading about your cotton twill tape that didn't get preshrunk -- what type of thread are you using?

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Ah ha Squirrelheaven, I did think of that! 100% poly and I can't believe how much of the stuff you use making a slipcover. I went through 2 full bobbins for each cushion!

    My 3 yr old is in nursery M W &F for 2.5 hrs and that is about the only time I have to sew (or anything else for that matter) and of course I was called in to work today and didn't get anything done, but I will post progress pics when there is progress.

  • paddytc
    13 years ago

    I have been watching this thread for awhile.. I can't wait to see the finished project Budge 1. Glad you went with the welting. My current denim sofa is welted all around top and bottom cushions and arm rest area. It has held up great just the top of the arm rest are faded like a old pair of jeans but no holes, rips etc..

    I would love to have my denim sofa recovered in denim again. Chelone if you live in the NJ area let me know..Paddytc

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Whew! I remembered my mom telling me that one :)

  • redbazel
    13 years ago

    I just finally had time to read this thread or I would have attached this link earlier. This girl is too cute!

    The reason everyone thinks cotton duck will make a great sofa cover (and I don't know, I've never made anything with duck) is that many, many, decorating magazines show them done that way, or suggest using "simple cotton duck" for furniture covers. For myself, I've often thought of using white matelasse for my own sofa. I have half a dozen off white cotton matelasse spreads that I bought all in the same pattern for that very purpose. Just haven't done the work yet.

    Red

    Here is a link that might be useful: Vrya makes a slipcover

  • emagineer
    13 years ago

    Squirel,
    My covers are fitted, separate cushions, welted, in white denim. Fabric is a bit heavy, but doesn't look it. Their used primarily during the summer. I've bleached them once a week at times and they have worn like iron. To this day I wish I'd bought a couple of the sets, even in different colors. They were an option with denim covered living room furniture which was on sale at the time. I will swear by the white denim, all cotton. Have big dogs and cats, never a stain remains.

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    No, I'm not done yet. Just felt the need to vent. I've got most of the body of the cover done, but I can't get the #@##$%%% arms right. Instead of making proper pleats, I tried to just ease in the material around the top of the arm front and it looks very amaturish. If I don't get called into work tomorrow I will rip them out and try again - with pleats.

    Overall it looks great but I am at that point where I just want it done.

    Chelone, I can't believe you make these for other people. There is no way I would do this if it wasn't to satisfy my own personal decorating demons.

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Emagineer, missed your post -- thanks for the info :) My jeans deteriorate with bleach, but I like a medium weight fabric, not too heavy for comfort.

    Budge, my mom is a great seamstress but when she has done curtains and covers she loses her religion and swears never again :)

    I'm with you, I just keep ripping things out if they're not right :) You have to be careful not to pull fabric threads, but it is so worth it, imo, to get it right. Maybe Chelone will comment on whether this is a bad idea and whether she ever does that! :)

    Keep workin' those tough spots -- much more satisfying in the end!! esp after all your hard work :)

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Chelone ~~ I wish you'd come sit by me for a while!

    My machine keeps making huge loops of the top thread on the bottom. I've changed needles three times, and have changed threads both top and bottom. I've re-threaded both top and bottom repeatedly and tightened the top tension. It will sew nice a little (maybe) and then start that stuff, and snaggle up the thread down below. I'm so frustrated and have projects I want to complete.

    Any ideas?

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Oceanna, if Chelone doesn't chime in you might try googling your problem. I found there were several good sites on sewing machine problems, but I ddin't bookmark any - sorry.

  • mry193
    13 years ago

    Budge, hang in there! Hopefully Chelone or someone will see this and give you some HELPFUL advice ... all I have is try, try again :)

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Thanks Budge, and I have looked, but they just say tighten the top and/or loosten the bottom tension... which I already knew. But I can look some more, I guess.

  • emagineer
    13 years ago

    Oceana,
    I'll post later as I have to get going. But for now, how old is your machine? You may want to get it in for cleaning/oiling. Did you get the walking foot? What you are describing is why one works so well. It keeps the machine at a speed dependant upon the fabric, which eliminates thread breakage and pulling. If your machine has more than one speed, use the slow speed. Also use the widest stitch possible and adjust both machine tension and bobbin. The bobbin also has an adjustment on it. If this is too tight it pulls the thread from above, which causes the mess. Try a leather needle too, they work great on heavy fabrics and going through many layers.

    I will try and find a link for you later on sewing slipcovers which can answer a lot of questions. Should have done this earlier, but got lost in a lot to be done around here.

  • emagineer
    13 years ago

    Here is a link for sewing slipcovers

    Here is a link that might be useful: sewing slipcovers

  • emagineer
    13 years ago

    The link above isn't the right one. Take a look at this gal's instructions. She shows every step. Hope this helps a bit. I'm off. Messed up heading for a blood test...drank coffee, so had some time to find this.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Try this

  • moonshadow
    13 years ago

    Red, that was a really good link you offered. To think she did such a great job using a little 1960's portable machine. Just goes to show... ;)

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the great advice and links. I only have a minute just now so will post more later. I redid the arms and they are great now. I cut the arm front a bit larger this time and it solved the puckering problem and looks nice and clean now.

    I did get called into work yesterday, so I have been ignoring my 3 yr old and dust bunnies rolling on the floor begging me to vacuum and trying to finish this up today. Just the back and hemming to do. I'm not doing a skirt as I wanted a cleaner European look.

    Thanks again all.

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Emagineer, thanks for answering. The machine is only a few months old and I've only sewed on it a very few times. It isn't dirty. I can't find any mention in the booklet about a bobbin tension -- but the bobbin doesn't seem to be too tight. I've been sewing and messing with sewing machines for decades -- and I sure miss my Viking, which finally gave up and died in a too expensive way to warrant fixing. This is a cheapie New Home.

    I'm not sewing on heavy fabrics right now, but I am doing three layers -- cotton, an old towel, and flannel. Plus was attaching some velcro. So it's not thin, but neither is it at all resistant.

    I've been thinking about getting a walking foot for it.

    I think I'm going to have to call the guy who sold it to me again. I'm really regretting that I live in WA and bought it from Texas or I'd take it in to the guy who sold it to me. :/

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Woooohoooo, I'm actually done!! Well, I still have to take it off to trim some seams and corners and give it a final pressing, but for the most part finito!

    It looks pretty much the way I had hoped, except for one back corner where no matter what I did I could not get it to fit correctly and I am just going to leave - nothing a strategically placed throw won't fix. It's the corner against the wall anyways thank goodness.

    For anyone attempting this in the future (squirrel?) I won't post during pics because I'm sure my methods were all wrong and looked nothing like the well organized ladies in the above links. But some tips of things I might do differently:

    I did use the cotton duck and am so far still pleased I did, but if I were to do it again I would take it to the drycleaners to have it pressed after preshrinking at home. It was a real pain to iron - esp. 20 yds of it.

    Don't scrimp on how much fabric you buy. I could have gotten away with less but it was nice to have extra for those screw ups.

    Using a solid that was the same on both sides made my life much easier.

    If you have a 3 story house and your sewing machine is on the 3rd floor and the couch is on the 1st floor, you will get a good workout.

    Also, wanted to share costs:

    20yds cotton duck $135 plus tax

    4 new turned feet $40

    feather/down stuffing $50

    welting cord $15

    chelone's advice to fix my sewing machine before continuing - priceless

    So for about $250 and a heck of a lot of labour, I have what is basically a new sofa. It is the look I wanted but didn't want to buy a new one right now when the kids are little and so hard on things.

    Thanks everyone for your encouragement and advice. It really made a difference.

    Now I just have to choose a paint colour for those da*% walls.

    Before


    After

  • squirrelheaven
    13 years ago

    Great job! Looks like you did well with your pattern and all those curves.

    Curious, did you note how many hours you spent on the sewing portion? I am wondering why you spent $40 on new feet, but maybe they were shot.

    Show us when you paint :)

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Thanks squirrel. I bought the new feet just for looks. I'm not a big fan of bun feet and the old feet were huge light coloured bun feet. It's hard to see in the picture, but the new feet are turned and I stained them dark.

  • mry193
    13 years ago

    Budge, that's looks fantastic!! Seriously, you did a great job on it!
    loved the "workout" :D

  • les917
    13 years ago

    Congrats on a job well done!

  • emagineer
    13 years ago

    You did a great job. But, now you are stuck. Stuck in the world of doing one more, and than another, and maybe another. Well, that is what happens to me. Such great fun to know we can do it.

  • moonshadow
    13 years ago

    Wow, very nice!! ;D

    This post is a keeper, because I have wanted to do this to my living room furniture for a long while now. I'm impressed - and inspired!

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    SUPER!

    I am very impressed by your first attempt. I think it looks great.

    Big loops from the top thread immediately alerts me that the bobbin tension is too tight. Damn, wish I'd stopped in sooner.

    Here's something for you to stew on... properly adjusted thread tension is actually the interplay of the top thread tension RELATIVE to the bobbin thread tension. What you strive to achieve is the perfect balance of the two. This is important: the balance of the two is absolutely dependent on what you are sewing and how many layers you're sewing through. You want the twisting of the bobbin thread and the top thread (this is the "lockstitch" home machines perform) to occur directly in between the TOTAL number of layers of the fabric you are joining. SO, if you have 4 layers "on top" you will probably need to loosen the top tension to play out more thread. If you have 4 layers on the bottom, you will have to loosen the bobbin tension to allow more thread to be played out. Make sense? This is a very subtle distinction and it's one you hone in on with experience. So don't give up!

    It's hard for me to explain it in writing. I could demonstrate it in a jiffy. And it's hard to summon the guts to GO FOR IT when you're unsure and alone in your home struggling to finish a project.

    I think you did a great job... YOU WENT FOR IT, and you refused to be "cowed" by a silly sewing machine. You've earned my respect, Budge. :)

  • redbazel
    13 years ago

    No Way! That looks absolutely fabulous!

    Red

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Thanks, Chelone. I guess I'll need to call the guy and ask where on earth the adjustment is for the bobbin. I knew where it was on my last machine, but haven't found it on this one.

    Budge, wow! That looks great! My hat's off to you. You're an inspiration.

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    The adjustment for bobbin tension is located on the bobbin case. If you look at the bobbin case you will see a small, tongue-like piece of metal that is held in place by one or two teeny-weeny screws. When you put the bobbin in the bobbin case you pull the thread under that tongue before inserting the case in the race mechanism. Your machine should have the very fine screwdriver required to adjust the screw. Look to see if you have it and haul out the manual for a quick "looky-see" for advice.

    Bobbin tension is a routine part of working with your machine and anyone who tells you NEVER TOUCH THE BOBBIN TENSION knows very little about sewing. True, you should go racing for it, but when working with very thick materials it can be a real help to know how. It's one more arrow in your quiver of alternatives, that's all. A tip: lay down a pale pillow case and work over that. It's really easy to loosen the screw too much and have it fall out, on a large flat area with a pale background you're less likely to LOSE the screw, you guys. I learned that one the hard way, lol.

    When adjusting the bobbin remember that a little goes a long way! I start with a quarter turn and then do a stitch test. You have to be patient and methodical. Another good test is to put the bobbin in the case, hold onto the thread and see if the case falls away in a steady, controlled way. It shouldn't hang there (too tight) nor should it fall rapidly down (too loose).

    Get out those manuals and fiddle around, ladies. You really have nothing to lose by trying. There is always a mechanic to bail you out and don't be afraid to ask questions and have him/her SHOW YOU. This is what you're paying for, afterall.
    1.) is the machine clean and oiled?
    2.) is the proper size needle inserted properly and without burrs?
    3.) is the machine threaded properly?
    4.) have you checked the tension adjustments with a stitch test?

  • moonshadow
    13 years ago

    Thanks chelone, for taking time to type out the tips. I'm glad to hear the "NEVER TOUCH THE BOBBIN TENSION" statement does not mean dire woes are sure to come if we do tweak it ourselves. Some excellent tips in this thread! ;)

  • lkremodel
    13 years ago

    This is a great thread! Budgel: You've done a wonderful job and your sofa/slipcover look terrific!

    To make you feel even better: I'm about to do the same thing. I went to a professional and her estimate for the job with me supplying my own fabric was $800. She gave me some good tips. She said a major problem is that most people buy too little fabric which worries me now. I think the charts say that my sofa needs 14 yards. I bought 16 yards about a year ago (not sure if the stuff is still available). The professional says that amount of fabric is a common topic on forums of upholstery/slipcover makers: apparently the fabric needed charts don't recommend enough fabric.

    I'm wondering if I should try to get more fabric before starting this big project. I appreciate the walking foot advice and think I'll talk to local great sewing machine store where I bought my Bernina, too.

  • budge1
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Aw, you guys are makin' me blush but thanks. I am really proud of myself too. I am going to redo the hem (did it at 11:30 pm and nothing I ever do at that time of night turns out right) and a few other details but, yes, overall it is exactly what I wanted.

    1kremodel, how wide is your fabric? How many cushions? Like I said I bought 20 yds and I have probably 2yds leftover and lots of scrap pieces. My fabric was 72" wide though and yours is probably 54". Our sofa is quite large and I wasted alot of fabric. I couldn't fit large pieces in our old washing machine so I would cut a big piece wash it and then cut out my pieces from that. Becasue that method is so inexact, I had lots of scrap.

    Another way to reduce your yardage would be to use a contrasting colour for the welting. I was surprised how much fabric you use for the welting. Another trick is to use different fabric for the part under the cushions that you don't see. Most manufacturers do this to save money.

    I'm going to tell my DH about the $800 - he loves it when he thinks I've saved us money :-)

  • chelone
    13 years ago

    Cording eats up yardage! In the shop, we allow 1-2 yds. for cording (aka: welting) on large interior jobs.

    Yardage requiremnts vary greatly, and depend upon the repeat or nap of the fabric you select. Big repeats eat up fabric FAST. My drapery fabric has a 32-34" repeat; I "wasted" about 15" of fabric for every run I cut. Ouch. But I've found ways to use it up, too. Toss pillows, "ruching", placemats, etc.. But patterned fabrics can translate into BIG money in the final analysis.

  • oceanna
    13 years ago

    Chelone, thanks. You are describing the bobbin in my last machine, my Viking. But this one has no bobbin case like that. The thread drops directly in. And actually I've been sewing for about 48 years. lol! This machine is new to me though. I've only sewn on it about three times.