"64 to the inch"

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#151 Post by martin » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:42 pm

Dear Francis,

a big big thanks for posting those pictures here, just found them. They are another stone in the mosaic I'm slowly putting together to better understand how these shoes were made in their detail. I just found another interesting article from a few years ago on this shoe: http://www.museum-digital.de/nat/index. ... oges=29398
The article itself (in German) is in:
Waffen- und Kostümkunde 2/2002:
Irmgard Sedler, Wilfried Schreier, Gerlinde Koch. Schuhtechnik in Barock und Rokoko. Zur historischen Schuhsammlung im Museum Weißenfels

It shows a different construction method it seems to me around the white rand in that there is none of the fine stitching along the lower edge of the rand but coarser stitching on the upper edge of it, done so that it more or less disappears in the fold between the upper and the rand.

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#152 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:30 am

G'day Every-one,
Hopefully this is an interesting, multi part, post :)
This isn't about work at 64spi, but it is about prize work and trying to understand a little more about the methods.
Since recently seeing the photos of the 1800’s, prize work, black and green boots, I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at it, trying to figure out how the beautiful, diagonal, lay of the stitches was achieved. This is beyond the normal, subtle, lay that is produced with hand sewing, and though I didn’t achieve the same results, my sewing has benefited from the experiments.

The boots in question.
pic 1 copy.JPG
pic 2 copy.PNG
pic 2 copy.PNG (481.48 KiB) Viewed 360 times
One of the possibilities that came to mind was that, instead of making the holes vertical in relation to each other (my usual practice) viz. IIIIIIIII going from the bottom of one hole to the top of the next (All of these are stitching from left to right), maybe the shoemaker was canting the holes forward viz. ////////, so that the stitches, on the visible side of the work, would have to travel further, from the bottom of the first hole to the top of the next. Another possibility (though counter intuitive in my mind) was that they were canted backwards viz. \\\\\\\.
I was also wondering if he used larger holes and thread than I would have normally assumed, for the frequency of stitches, to accentuate the diagonal.
pic 3 copy.JPG

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#153 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:35 am

Pt 2

I decided to give it a try by sewing a test piece, changing my methods about every ten stitches and recording, on the back, what I did.
pic 4 copy.JPG
The reference to ‘knot’ is when you wrap one thread once around the other on it’s way through to the other side. It helps force the stitch into a diagonal. The method that turned out the neatest and most consistent was the second from the left; the holes tilting away from the stitches so that the thread has to travel a longer distance, and no ‘knot’.

The following pic. is the front, so you’ll have to reverse the order of the sections shown in pic. 4. The best section is the 10 stitches in the middle of the photo underlined in red. I repeated this stitch method after my last variation, to finish off the test seam, and check it wasn’t a fluke :) (underlined in blue).
pic 5 copy.JPG
The sections with the ‘knot’ in them tended to mush together, especially the section between the red and the blue lines.


Afterwards I tried 11 stitches at around 50% increase in stitch length, in case I was too short, but it didn’t come out as nice and was harder to be consistent. I suppose the most important thing with hand sewing is to work with your own natural rhythm. The prize worker that started this investigation has a beautiful rhythm, and technique, that suits him. I tend towards ‘squarer’ stitches, though will continue to think about the mechanics of producing different stitch lay effects.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#154 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:42 am

Pt3

For those who are interested, here’s how I produced the prime sections.

The awl doesn’t travel very far through the leather (kangaroo hide); the point is coming through just above the free end of the thread.
pic 6  copy.JPG
I’m using the tiny bristles that I showed in the ‘Thread rolling’ Vimeo clip (https://vimeo.com/190628622 ). One bristle per end of the thread, and they completely pass each other and swap sides.
pic 7 copy.JPG
Instead of pulling the threads straight through the leather (how I did the very first section, far left in pic.5), I pull the left hand thread forward, to keep it tracking in the far top of the hole, and the right hand thread I pull backwards to keep it tracking in the near bottom of the hole.
pic 8 copy.JPG

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#155 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:51 am

Here you can see that the thread loop, that is traveling over to the left side of the work, is forced to go over and past the right hand thread.
pic 9 copy.JPG
Around 19 spi (stitches per inch)
pic 10 copy.JPG
And for the metrics, a bit over 1mm per stitch.
pic 11 copy.JPG

Hope this has been interesting.

Cheers
Duncan
When you see what people were doing before the Industrial Revolution had completely effected everything, you can see that we, basically, gave up believing it was possible. I'm trying not to :D

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#156 Post by homeboy » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:15 am

Very interesting Duncan! :bowdown:
What one man has done....another can do.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#157 Post by das » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:50 am

Duncan,

Looks like you're onto it :thumb:

Only thing I might add, historically, that fine stabbing was done with a round awl, so no ///// or \\\\\\\ shaped holes. And as I offered at HCC AGM this year, odd-stranded threads stay round, even-stranded threads lay flat. Making the "half cast" (knot) gives that rope-y effect, as does insuring you always insert your bristles exactly in the same order/same one to the front at every stitch. Any deviation here results in a stitch out of alignment.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#158 Post by dw » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:54 am

das » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:50 am wrote:Duncan,

Looks like you're onto it :thumb:

Only thing I might add, historically, that fine stabbing was done with a round awl, so no ///// or \\\\\\\ shaped holes. And as I offered at HCC AGM this year, odd-stranded threads stay round, even-stranded threads lay flat. Making the "half cast" (knot) gives that rope-y effect, as does insuring you always insert your bristles exactly in the same order/same one to the front at every stitch. Any deviation here results in a stitch out of alignment.
Great work Duncan! 1mm stitches comes out to about 24spi by my calculations.

Al,

I have always thought...from talking to you, perhaps...that in order to do really high frequency work--50+spi--the unstitched leather would have to be forced up against the previous stitch perhaps with a bone or the side of the awl itself. This is a fairly common technique at other junctures and would maximize the substance in each stitch and help to prevent the awl.

I also wonder..and have asked but don't remember any answer I might have received...what the thread would have been. It seems to me that a single strand of even #20 linen yarn would be a little too coarse and fragile. Where as silk thread--so much more appropriate for high end work anyway--would have been the better choice.
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Re: "64 to the inch"

#159 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:33 pm

G'day DW,
The 40yrold, single ply, linen I use takes several pounds pull to break, and if you think about it, every stitch has two 3lb threads going through it, one from each side, making each stitch about 6lb breaking strain, times by the number of stitches (lets say 50spi) which equals an inch having a collective breaking strain of 300lb! The 48spi, single strand, seam I did, and tested some years ago, sewing together two 1/4mm thick pieces of veg. 'roo, only failed when the bottom vice slipped off (under 14kg/30.8lb strain) resulting in it pulling down on one end of the sewing, zip style, tearing the leather (not the thread) for about 1/3 of the stitches. So 14kg focused on a 0.5mm stitch ( to start the chain reaction) would equal how much force? As a comparison: It was calculated that the tiny area under a ladies stiletto heel, being the focal point of the wearer's weight, exerted around 1 or 2 tons of pressure, hence they had been known to punch holes in aeroplane floors etc.

So, in the end, the quality of the leather is, I think, more important than the thread, so that it can cope with the frequency of the stitches. Within limits, a higher stitch count with hand sewing will increase the strength of the seam as the collective breaking strain of the stitches goes up, and there is more support from the leather.
eg: Two identical set-ups for a seam 1 inch long.
One has 5 stitches joining the pieces; the other has 25 stitches.
Apply an increasing pulling force to them both.
The 5 stitch seam will have all the force focused on those 5 stitches and they, if the thread is strong enough, will act like cutters through the leather.
The other seam will have the force distributed over the 25 stitches, dividing the force by 5, therefore enabling it to take 5 times the load.
This is why I use Veg. Kangaroo :)
Sound good to you? :)
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#160 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:45 pm

Only thing I might add, historically, that fine stabbing was done with a round awl, so no ///// or \\\\\\\ shaped holes. And as I offered at HCC AGM this year, odd-stranded threads stay round, even-stranded threads lay flat. Making the "half cast" (knot) gives that rope-y effect, as does insuring you always insert your bristles exactly in the same order/same one to the front at every stitch. Any deviation here results in a stitch out of alignment.[/quote]

Oh, don't worry Al, identical alignment of the bristles has been the norm since I learnt hand sewing in the '90's. Putting the half cast in these fine stitches, as I commented, seemed to 'mush' them together and make each one less distinct (as opposed to using a heavy welt thread), so the neatest variations were 'half castless' :) The thread I used in this was a 3ply, but will have to give the round awl a try for some really fine work. I have made a couple of fine round awls and have used them for regular sewing, and for where a row of stitching crosses over another row.
:)
Cheers

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#161 Post by das » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:53 am

Duncan,

Didn't mean to insult--your hand-stitching is very nice. For super-fine, try clamping a tiny sewing needle in a pin-vice for a stabbing awl.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#162 Post by dmcharg » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:21 pm

My comment was typed with a smile on my face, Al :) That's the problem with typing, lacks subtlety even with emoticons.
I do have a pin vice in my collection. Hadn't thought about using one of those to try out a selection of different needles quickly to find the one that suits the stitch the best. Thanks. I tried one of my fine 'point' awls yesterday after your post. I need more practice before it's as neat as my regular awl. The crease line to sew on, for a start, has to be *much* finer than usual so that the super fine tip drops into the same line each time.
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#163 Post by martin » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:17 pm

Thanks a bunch for sharing this Duncan and also for the link to your video about how to prepare your "bristling threads" :-)
Prime work and an inspiration!

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#164 Post by SteveBarrus » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:40 pm

Excellent collecting of stitching history. This was a fun read. Duncan thank you for the Vimeo video doing your waxed ends.

Cheers,
SteveBarrus

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#165 Post by dmcharg » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:07 am

Thanks Steve and Martin. Yeah, give it go if you can get a hold of good enough linen thread. A long fibre, single ply, 'Z' twist thread is difficult to get. My stuff is over 40yrs old, and I met up today with a flax spinner with a view to getting her to hand spin fine 'line' flax (3 foot long fibres) for me to try out. We'll see how that goes.
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#166 Post by lancepryor » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:21 am

Duncan:

I've thought about trying to find someone to spin flax for me as well. It is easy enough to get the long fibers from various sellers. I've also tried to locate someone to sell hemp fibers, which I guess can be as much as 10 feet long (and which don't rot), but don't think I ever succeeded in that search. In the USA, growing hemp has been illegal for decades, due to confusion with marijuana. Now, some states are allowing its cultivation, so perhaps the long fibers will become available.

Let us know how that goes!

Lance

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#167 Post by Damien » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:43 am

Hi all,

I want to say thanks to all the contributors on this topic. I didn't knew it was "possible" to sew so small. It is very interesting.
I have made some tests about sewing size, thread and awl. My finest test was 19 dpi using a thread number 1032 (the finest I have found) http://travail-du-cuir.fr/astuces/adequ ... -t980.html. I think I will try to go further now I read this topic ;-)

@lancepryor for your interest -> viewtopic.php?p=41983#p41983

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#168 Post by das » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:16 am

Damien,

Great to see your efforts at achieving this. I think the antique 64/" stitching was done with silk thread. But more than finding thread to do it, I would think, is finding a leather today that would hold-up to that many stitches per inch.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#169 Post by dw » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:00 am

das,

I always thought so too...not so much because I have any great historical knowledge but simply because linen is so coarse.

That said, some of the same problems as with linen or hemp applies to silk as well--there is long "staple" silk and, what do they call it? "tow"? I have some commercially spun silk thread ( I think it's Rice) in three or four colours for use in a sewing machine. It is disappointingly weak. Pick it apart and the fibers are short...maybe an inch at best.
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Re: "64 to the inch"

#170 Post by dmcharg » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:35 am

Well, the lady who I met with the other day looked at the single ply thread I use as the basis and said 'That's very thick'. I suppose if you pulled apart the antique 'Shoemaker linen single shoe' thread I've got, it would have at least 50 fibres in it at any one point. This lady talks about spinning 'line flax' at 2 or 3 fibres! and commented that it's very strong for it's thickness; the fibres in line flax are around 30" long. This stuff might be saved for fine upper sewing :)
Looking forward to the end results over the coming months.
Cheers

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