Sewing machines with a zigzag feature are ideal for sails because they distribute stress evenly on the seams. So, with its zigzag function, the Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine is undoubtedly one of the best sewing machines for sailors.
If you want to sew your sails but do not know where to start or what sewing machine to use, you came to the right place! In this post, I will share some must-knows for sail work and, of course, the best sewing machines to do the job!
What is a Zigzag Stitch?
It is vital to know what a zigzag stitch is to see where you can use it! Simply put, a zigzag stitch is a geometric side-to-side stitch used for seam finishing, etc. Also, it has more flexibility and stretch than a straight stitch, which is essential in sailmaking.
The zigzag stitch forms an elastic seam that can elongate, distributing stress across seams. Also, its broad stitch width holds down large seam sections well, and it is more decorative than straight stitches.
When stitching a stretchy material, such as knitted fabrics or neoprene, it is critical to use a stitch that can stretch with the cloth. So, one of the most common ways to use a zigzag stitch is to sew elastic materials, like knitted fabrics, neoprene, and sails.
Over time, a sailcloth’s qualities evolved through time, and what was once a reasonably elastic material is now dimensionally stable. However, the zigzag stitch is still the conventional, recommended method for sewing sails.
Compared to other stitch types, zigzag stitches can distribute the strain over many runs of warp threads, resulting in a stretchy seam that allows the sail shape to shift without puckering. It is why spinnaker sails, an elastic material made of nylon, require zigzag stitches.
The origins of modern sailcloth can be traced back to industrial fiber and film. Sailors recognize these products well because of the brand name of a particular provider.
Nevertheless, many people do not always understand the qualities of sailcloth well, which may significantly affect their choices in tools and other supplies. Also, note that a better grasp of the properties of these fibers might assist you in choosing the best sewing machine for your sails.
So, please continue reading to know more about the types of fibers used for sails. Besides learning about their properties, it is also essential to understand how they could affect your choice of sewing machine for your sail work!
For decades, polyester has been the most regularly used sail fabric because it is strong, durable, and relatively inexpensive. But polyester is a synthetic material and is mainly made of plastic.
When heated throughout the finishing process, premium polyester yarns intentionally exhibit very high shrinkage. High shrinkage combined with very tight weaving results in a densely packed sailcloth that is sturdy without additional resins for stability.
Nylon is a popular material for spinnakers and asymmetric spinnakers because it is inexpensive, lightweight for its strength, and has good UV stability. Additionally, it is relatively elastic, an advantage in downwind sails where some sail stretch is needed.
One thing to remember about nylon: while it is a rigid material, it is susceptible to damage from chlorine exposure. So, when washing or rinsing nylon sails, it is best to avoid using bleach and soaking a nylon sail in a swimming pool.
Aramid fibers are lightweight, have a high stretch resistance and a high breaking strength. So, many people use aramids in racing sails, but you can also use them in laminated cruising sails if adequately protected from UV and bending.
Within the same racing sail, manufacturers and sailors usually combine aramid fibers with even lower-stretch and higher-strength carbon fibers to enhance their quality. Additionally, while not cheap, aramid fibers come at a reasonable price compared to exotic fiber kinds.
What is the Best Sewing Machine for Sails?
You can tell the suitable machine based on their available functions, like the zigzag function that is vital for sails. So, with its functions and features, the Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine is one of the best sewing machines for sailmaking.
- Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine
The Janome 4120 QDC is ideal for all types of sewing, including everyday general use, home decor, patchwork, quilting, and sail work. This machine is an excellent, feature-packed computerized sewing machine that suits the needs of many sailors.
With 120 built-in stitches, the possibilities are endless with this machine! Additionally, it has a built-in alphabet feature, so you can use it to sew or quilt labels and more!
The Janome 4120QDC is a user-friendly machine with a built-in automatic needle threader that helps prevent eye strain. Plus, its simple control panel makes sewing a breeze.
Besides the easy-to-use threader, the bobbin is also user-friendly! So, with a jam-proof, top-loading bobbin system, it is simple to change your bobbin: follow the track, and the machine will bring up the bobbin thread for you.
This machine also features other functions like the following that make it more beginner-friendly:
- The thread cutter button cuts both the top and bottom threads with a press of a button.
- With the reverse stitch button, your machine will sew in reverse for reinforced stitching.
- The lock stitch button completes the stitch so that you do not end up with half a stitch pattern.
- The needle up/down button will let you move the needle up and down with ease.
- The start/stop button will let you start the machine without using a foot control!
- This computerized sewing machine can also accommodate various types of sewing feet, most especially the zigzag sewing foot and the zipper sewing foot.
Buy it here: Janome 4120QDC Computerized Sewing Machine.
Like the Janome 4120QDC, the Janome 3160QDC is also perfect for various types of sewing, including sewing sails. It is a full-featured machine designed with quilters’ requirements in mind, which gives all the benefits of a top-of-the-line model at an accessible price.
Janome’s exclusive superior plus feed system adds specialized box feeding to the SFS system, ensuring equal, steady feeding with any fabric. Plus, its time-saving features like memorized needle up/down, a one-handed needle threader, and a lock stitch button make sewing simple.
The 60 built-in stitches, including six buttonholes, provide the ideal range of stitches for every application. But, the best part is that this full-size machine weighs only twelve pounds, making it easy to transport to courses and organization meetings!
The simple-to-use control panel and LCD screen allow for greater detail in ornamental stitching and exact adjustments in all stitches. And with a stitch width of 7mm, you will surely appreciate this type of dramatic detail.
Complex sewing tasks usually start with a lot of strain, but the precision tension dial lets you set your tension and maintain it. Also, even at rates of up to 820 stitches per minute, the quality of the stitch is superb, and the specific built-in features will assist you with any stitching issue.
With the needle up/down feature, you can do so many things like:
- pivot on corners
- set the maximum stitching speed for precision work
- trim off threads with the built-in automated thread cutter
- thread the needle automatically
Like the 4120QDC, the Janome 3160QDC also features other functions like the following that make it more user-friendly:
- For example, the thread cutter button cuts both the top and bottom threads with a push of a button
- With the reverse stitch button, your machine will sew in reverse for reinforced stitching.
- The lock stitch button completes every stitch so that you do not end up with half a stitch pattern.
- The needle up/down button lets you move the needle up and down with the touch of a button
- The start/stop button lets you start the machine without using a foot control!
The Janome 3160QDC also comes with an incredible amount of accessories, including an extension table, a darning foot, and, most significantly, a zigzag foot.
Buy it here: Janome 3160QDC Computerized Sewing Machine.
This machine is one of the most comprehensive machines from Juki. It has a plethora of stitches and features that are sure to impress. So, you can take pleasure in the delight of developing your design while employing high-quality finishes.
With the new JUKI HZL-DX series, you can make the most of your sewing experience and convert your crafts into masterpieces. Here are some of its fantastic features:
- Automatic One Step Button
- Free Arm Sewing
- Jam Resistant
- An Ideal Traveling Companion Case
- Auxiliary Bed Slides Off
- To change to a single needle hole, slide the front lever!
- With precise needle penetration, sew the lightest fabrics.
- The single needle plate prevents materials from being forced into the needle hole.
- Precision and perfection in free-motion stitching
- The float function prevents uneven seams and allows you to sew fabrics without pressing layers by lifting the presser foot to float.
Juki HZL-DX5’s BOX Feed lets you make flawless, high-quality stitches on various fabrics and sew bulky materials evenly and effortlessly. Also, it can feed difficult-to-sew high pile fabrics evenly!
Additionally, it maintains longer contact with your textiles for a consistent, dependable seam every time. So, even when stitching on lightweight cotton, there is no fabric shrinkage.
Here are other features that make the Juki HZL-DX5 more user-friendly:
Buy it here: Juki HZL-DX Series Sewing Machine HZL-DX5.