[balloon-makers] Seams and stitches

Bob LeDoux bobledoux at proaxis.com
Fri Jan 25 19:59:42 CST 2002

When I first started homebuilding, in 1988, I considered other seam systems
for building a balloon.  My old Balloon Works repair manual discussed a
commercial multi-step zig-zag machine that was used for inlay work.  They
still use a locking chain-stitch machine for their construction.  There are
no bobbins, which increases productivity.  Machines, like the Singer 300,
permit setting multiple needles at desired spacings, without the necessity
to incorporate a bobbin assmebly underneath.

I met builders who used a single needle home machine, a Pfaff 130 to build
their AX-7.  They folded the seams and passed each seam through the
machine, twice.

I think a double thread overlap seam would be fine for amateur balloons.
But it leaves the cut edge in the open where it tends to unravel--even when
cut with a heated knife.  I chose to buy a double needle, double bobbin
Singer 112W140, and have never regreted it.  My wife loves the consistency
and quality of the stitch.  We often use it as a single needle machine.

Other seam systems are possible, but I'd want to test alternatives as a
small section in a part of a balloon that was otherwise constructed witha
proven seam design.

>Hi All,
>Thanks to encouragement from some of the kind folks on this list I have
>decided not to sell my "stuff" and am back to building.
>I am looking at alternatives to the french felled seam and would like
>input. Does anyone one know of a web site where standards for stitches and
>seams might be found.
>What would the difference in strength between a felled seam and just a
>flat seam be?
>Any thoughts appreciated.
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