Reply To: Dr. Vinyls Working Together

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Techs and Owners,

I was sewing an upholstery job the other day that was bulky and cumbersome when all of the sudden my machine stopped sewing correctly. I know for some of you more experienced upholsterers that would not be a big deal but for me it caused a great deal of concern. Since I bought this machine 5-6 years ago it had sewn perfectly. Then I remembered a similar experience I had with another Dr. Vinyl….

Jason Cole, Dr. Vinyl of Lexington, KY, was doing his first Steak N Shake booth upholstery job and I offered to come up and give him a hand. Jason had his own sewing machine and material and all I had to bring to the party was what little experience and/or knowledge I had. So we cut the patterns out and started sewing the welt cord and ends on when I noticed that there was something wrong with how Jason’s machine was sewing. The seams were loose and loopy on the back side of the stich work. I had never seen this before, but I was fairly confident that it involved the tension on either the thread from the bobbin or the spool or both. I had no experience adjusting the tension on either one and told Jason I was not comfortable experimenting on his machine. I thought I would surely mess it up further. So I headed home. It wasn’t very long before Jason called me to let me know he had adjusted the tension and now the machine was sewing fine. I was amazed! How did this novice upholsterer accomplish this? So I just had to ask “How did you do that?” His reply still amazes me today. He said “I knew that machine was already not working right and I would have to take it in to get it fixed. So, I thought if I messed it up any further then I could still take it to the repair shop.” I was amazed at his insight. It was just like we were taught in Interior Training. The piece is already broken you can at least try to repair it and you might just surprise yourself with what you are able to accomplish. I thought I was going to teach him something about upholstery and he ended up teaching me.

So getting back to my story…I was sewing an upholstery job the other day that was bulky and cumbersome when all of the sudden my machine stopped sewing correctly. It felt like I was reading Brail on the top of the stitch and it was all loose and loopy on the bottom…my mind flashed back to that time I was helping Jason. I immediately knew it was a tension issue. I guess the bulky work must have hit one of the tensioners and knocked it out of what I like to call the “Lifetime Setting Position”. Now knowing what is wrong and knowing how to fix it are two very different things. I had never touched the tension on my machine…ever. I didn’t know whether the top or bottom needed to be tightened or loosened or by how much. Then I remembered that I had sent Jason a picture of my machine that showed the settings of both the tensioners. I immediately scrolled through my phone and there it was…an exact picture of the “Lifetime Setting Position”. I turned the knobs to match the picture and the machine started sewing like a champ. I was again amazed how trying to help someone else out had actually benefited me in my upholstery work more than anyone else.

Morale of the Story: Helping another Dr. Vinyl out is a great thing to do…You may just find out the one you are helping the most is You!

Mitch Reid
The Wandering Upholsterer
All Who Wander Are Not Lost