Normally I sew my fine jersey with Singer 48K because it makes the most flexible stitch of 60% stretch even on a very thin material. But it’s Spring, the sun is out and I don’t want to sit indoors, especially now that I rescued a garden machine – Vesta Saxonia.
She sews quite well, really well for wovens, but the stitch does not stretch, so no good for sewing jersey. But I want to! Want to be making my top in the garden! 🤔
The peculiar thing with 48K is that it drops bobbin tension with increased foot pressure. It has to do with submerging of feed dogs under pressure, as well as with the teeth of alternating height, and some other special ingredient, no doubt. But I wondered whether I could tweak my Vesta into some similar behaviour – after all, it has a similar design, except for the shuttle.
Yes! It can be done!! 😃
The secret is in the feed dog height.
You have to set the feed dogs ever so slightly too high. This is the opposite to Singer 48K and many other machines where you need to lower the feed dogs to increase stretch in your stitching.
You have to experiment to find the right setting. It should be such that at low foot pressure the movement would appear perfectly correct, without slipping backwards. Then as you increase foot pressure, you should start seeing a little slipping back so that the stitches become shorter.
Set the bobbin tension as low as you can and increase upper tension until the stitch is balanced. Play with the stitch length and upper tension until you get a flexible seam with short stitches. It is not straightforward because longer stitches also get more back slipping, so you get unexpectedly short stitches on some settings.
The shuttle really lets us down here – nowhere nearly as good as the bullet shuttle of 48K. So Vesta does not manage 60% stretch, even though I removed the tensioning screw from the shuttle altogether. Still, I get a very respectable 50% stretch – better than most other machines in my sewing room.