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indigo_junkie
31st December 2007, 09:57
After getting sick of not being able to find a tailor in Sydney who can do a chainstitch (let alone a vintage one), I gave up and gave some serious thought about buying a chainstitch machine myself. Ebay was a good source. There were a couple of chainstitch machines, mostly $50 to $350 USD, but the shipping cost would have been astronomical. There's also a warehouse that sells second hand Union Specials in Victoria, but the problem with that is that there wouldn't be enough space in my house for a machine/table/motor. So I started researching smaller units. The problem with smaller units is that they can't do a 5mm stitch like the big industrial machines. The biggest I can get my Bernina to is 4mm. Still I reckon it's close enough. Here's a pic:

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain01.jpg

I picked it up second hand at a sewing shop in Castle Hill for about $400. It originally goes for about $1200. Unike the Brother 2340CV and the Janome 1000CP, both that go for about $800 or so, is that the Funlock eats denim. I asked the sales person to show me, and she tested the machine by rolling a hem off a piece of 21oz Ironheart denim I had brought along to test. It ripped through it like butter. I paid for the machine in less than a minute. I've been playing around with the tension and settings on it, as well as seeing how much play I can get from 30w thread (normally only uses 40-50w). I think I've gotten pretty close. This is a comparo between the Bernina (above) and my Denime.

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain02.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain03.jpg

Not exactly like a vintage chainstitch, mainly because the tension on an industrial machine is so much higher than something domestic. I figure I've got about 20 pairs of jeans and even if it's not exact, it's better looking than a standard lockstitch. I figure about $20 per pair to get them tailored, this machine has already paid for itself, and that's not including all the other jeans I'm going to get in the future. This is my tapered WH660. The tailor cut off the BiG hem and did a lockstitch instead.

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain04.jpg

What does everyone think? Close enough? I'm going to experiment with a pair of Levis 501 STF when I find time, make a pair of shorts out of them.

edmond
31st December 2007, 10:20
hey rob .. try dipping the hem in boiling water after hemming and chianstitching them.. youll partially see the effect of the ropping.. post pics.. ill call you the korean kangaroo chianstitcher hahahah ill send you my jeans!

indigo_junkie
31st December 2007, 10:23
These'll rope naturally over time. Not as nice as a vintage/industrial chainstitch, but it'll do. If this ever gets really serious, I'll fork out for a proper Union Special with hedgehog attachment. I've already broken my first needle. And that was brand new this morning. Luckly I picked up a five pack along with the machine.

edmond
31st December 2007, 10:25
cool imma send my jeans to you hahahah

superslim_zac
31st December 2007, 10:33
Man thats sick. Would you consider helping me with a pair of my jeans?


Can you clarify which pictures are your machines sew, or is it all of them?

indigo_junkie
31st December 2007, 10:43
It's the amber and yellow stitching on the top. I'm using Gutermanns thread which supposidly is a 30w, but feels thicker. It's made for topstitching and not for chainstitching. It looks a little thicker than the regular denim thread used on the Denime. The white and orange stitching is off my unhemmed Denime 15oz. I've ordered some proper 30w poly core thread online and should (fingers crossed) have them in a week or so. Then I'm going to get down and do some serious practicing. It's going to be a while before I attempt to sew a hem on, say, my natural indigo Fullcounts. Plus. I've never really sewn before outside of one term of Textiles in highschool. I taught mself to use this machine this morning by reading the manual. I figured if I can set up a graphite furnace AAS, I can set this machine up.

It'd be kind of weird if I'm the only person in Sydney who can do a chainstitch hem, albeit off a domestic machine. I'm going to hem a couple of jeans, test out different threads, tension settings etc... roping effect, to find the set-up that works the best.

Bobbejaan
31st December 2007, 10:50
great pickup man.. i almost bought a union special but that damn table is so large

indigo_junkie
31st December 2007, 11:01
great pickup man.. i almost bought a union special but that damn table is so large

Tell me about it. I was just a hair's space away from ordering one from down in Victoria, but shipping would have cost as much as the machine, and that massive table and motor, I have zero space at my place as it is. Maybe in the future...

M!ch
31st December 2007, 11:49
The chainstitch made with your machine looks very good, even thicker than the original.
Really nice buy, makes life a lot easier ;-)

edmond
31st December 2007, 15:41
looks good to me rob so how much you charging for a bulk hemming? hahahaha

Tiro
31st December 2007, 16:08
nice rob! next step, making your own jeans :-D
I always thought there would have to be 'modern' machines that could pull of a nice chainstitch... :-D

indigo_junkie
31st December 2007, 23:16
It wouldn't be hard for me to do. I've got a normal lockstitch sewing machine as well (hand-me down from my mother). Now all I need is an overlocker (they're easier to find and cheaper to buy than a coverstitch) or go the Ande Whall route and french seam everything. I also need to take a few sewing lessons as well. Then I'll probably give it a try.

A coverlock machine can do a chainstitch easily enough. You'd think that a tailor would have one around for hemming T-shirt cuffs or something. But no one does it. I would have preferred to have found someone in Sydney with a Union Special, but I guess this would have to do.

indigo_junkie
14th January 2008, 11:16
I finally got my machine back from the shop. The timing was off. Now it stitches just fine. I have to push it pretty hard to get any missed stitches now. Fingers crossed, hopefully it'll stay that way for a while. So I managed to restitch the hem of my 501STFs. Nice and simple. Just removed the lockstitch and sewed the chain on. A little bit crooked, but it looks alright. I got a really nice variated thread in 30/3. 100% polyester. I could have gotten cotton, but with the small sample I had, I got tired of it breaking on the machine all the time (probably got the tension up too high). I'm not that old school. Some pics.

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain04-1.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain05.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain06.jpg

Going to get a lot more practice in before I start on my other jeans. I also broke 3 needles just doing that one hem. Regular sewing needles can only go through a maximum of 6 layers of denim. Had to be a little creative when I got to the felled seam part of the hem. It's all a learning process. I'm getting there.

offyatree
14th January 2008, 11:57
you should start your own tailoring business, indigo! great job, really!!

superslim_zac
14th January 2008, 16:08
Wow man thats a pretty nice first hem!

indigo_junkie
14th January 2008, 17:53
There's so much I'm only beginning to learn. Stuff like motor strength (which on the bernina compared to the Janome, is very good), special pressor feet for denim, reading the gauge of the needles properly (so I don't break so many next time). I even ordered something called a Jean-a-ma-jig, which is this tool that lets you sew over seam folds without missing stitches. If I find time tomorrow, I'll probably drop in at the Bernina centre in Chatswood to see what their blind stitching pressor foot is like (because on non-union specials without the attachment, the only way to hem is the blind stitch).

indigo_junkie
15th January 2008, 08:40
I think I've got it now. A pair of Wrangler 13MWZ which I've gotten too fat for. I've put in an order for some grey thread so I can do the hems of my black kings next.

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain07.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain08.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain09.jpg

indigo_junkie
30th January 2008, 15:29
Imperial Dukes come with a lockstitched hem.

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chains01.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chains02.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chains03.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chains04.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chains05.jpg

indigo_junkie
7th February 2008, 08:39
It's just a variated thread I had left over from another project. Thought I would just use it up testing the machine.

I guess it's as close to an authentic chainstitch as you can get on a modern domestic machine. It can't go through more than 8 layers of denim, so for felled in seam hems, I have to be a little creative with the hemming. Close enough, and looks a lot better than just a simple lockstitch hem.

indigo_junkie
12th February 2008, 02:39
Practice makes perfect.

Imperial King Black
http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain06-1.jpg

Sufu660 (chain redone after the tailor just lockstitched it when I had them tapered)
http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain07-1.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain08-1.jpg

indigo_junkie
12th February 2008, 15:20
Finally got around to my Fullcount 105NA. Hemmed from 36 to 33in.
http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain12.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain14.jpg

Original hem.
http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain13.jpg

http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain11.jpg

Comparo: Union Special vs. Funlock 009DCC.
http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z116/sixquid/chain10.jpg

Note the difference in stitch length.

-nudiefive-
12th February 2008, 15:37
awesome job IJ! amazing work there.

cameland
12th February 2008, 16:22
Nudiefive lets chip in to buy a union special from this place in Vic. We'll start a hemming business and be ga-jillionaires.

Awesome stuff rob btw.

-nudiefive-
12th February 2008, 16:36
lol good idea dom, im planning to open up my own jeans store maybe bringing Japanese brands and European brands alike. can include the idea of having chain stitch service too!:) owh dreams!haha

indigo_junkie
12th February 2008, 16:40
You mean the single needle chainstitch at Peter's Warehouse? That was what I was originally going to get before I figured the table would be too big for my room (and there wouldn't be anywhere to put it). The last 43200G in Australia was sold to a clothing factory in India about 6 years ago. There's a small industrial sewing machine distributor in the US that has a 43200F (don't know if this one has the same hedgehog attachment as the G model), that I can't get over here, because the thing weighs a brick and there's no international surface mail available at USPS. One day, I'm going to go over to the US, buy a machine and bring it back over. In the future... Until then, we've got this. I got really lucky with the Funlock. A new one of these would set me back about $1200. I got mine for $400.

cameland
12th February 2008, 16:45
lol good idea dom, im planning to open up my own jeans store maybe bringing Japanese brands and European brands alike. can include the idea of having chain stitch service too!:) owh dreams!haha

Man, honestly, if your being for real about opening a store, there is no way you can leave me out of that! I think I'd probably just drop out of uni and start on that right away. Although I do have a friend who is 2IC at carhartt and he seemed quite enthusiastic about starting something up. I mean it could be something, the owner of carhartt and dakota 501 is the same guy after all. :mrgreen:

-nudiefive-
12th February 2008, 17:00
Man, honestly, if your being for real about opening a store, there is no way you can leave me out of that! I think I'd probably just drop out of uni and start on that right away. Although I do have a friend who is 2IC at carhartt and he seemed quite enthusiastic about starting something up. I mean it could be something, the owner of carhartt and dakota 501 is the same guy after all. :mrgreen:

yeah mate, been thinking for it long time ago, plus having you with all the knowledge it would be an awesome thing to start up. plus ive been in contact with some of the denim brands person and it would not be a problem. after ill get my degree for sure i can do anything.:)

cameland
12th February 2008, 17:26
Alright, then lets hope we keep in touch till then. Honestly, I couldn't imagine myself any happier than working at a store that sold dry denim (japanese or european). It's like a dream come true lol.

-nudiefive-
12th February 2008, 17:28
yeah mate, the 1st thing thats gonna pop outta my head is u when the time comes.lol and yeah we should take a trip to the holy land and Europe to meet the old timers. before we start up sumthin :)

zer09er
12th February 2008, 17:56
Awesome stuff.....and a great move! I am inspired to get 1 myself too..:roll: