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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Using the Speedy Stitcher

I've been using the Speedy Stitcher this weekend. One thing I can say is that it's not such a speedy device, making one stitch at a time. But it works and works well.

The first thing to note it that the needles supplied with it are huge and the waxed thread pretty thick. More suited to huge canvas sails I think. So I used the polyester thread I've been using and sewing machine needles. They're not the strongest, but they work. I've also found that leather needles work better on several layers of sailcloth with the Speedy Stitcher than the denim jeans needles I've been using previously.

I've been using zig-zag stitching. Not so tidily when I have to stitch a new row, but when re-using existing stitching rows and holes, the results are excellent.

Here's how it works:

First push the needle with thread through the fabric.

Then pull the needle back slightly. The thread makes a loop. Use something to catch the thread and withdraw the needle. Then pull enough thread on the opposite side of the fabric to the stitcher to run the length of stitching you are doing. If you are zig-zag stitching then add a fair bit more length of thread:

Now push the needle through the next hole:

Withdraw the needle slightly so the thread makes a loop:

Now pass the long thread through the loop:

Now pull the needle back out while keeping tension on the thread below.

The thread below should not be pulled to the top so keep tension on it while you pull the stitcher back to tension the top thread:

Repeat ad nauseum until the stitching is complete. As you can see its easy to make tidy stitching when following previous stitching holes. Not so good when you freestyle like the zig-zags in the stitching above.

But the speedy stitcher works surprisingly well even with thin thread. It's a handy little tool if you are required to fix your own sails and you don't own an industrial sewing machine. But it's really only for small jobs.

But the jib is now well on the way to completion. After finishing the head of the sail, I stitched the bottom UV strip along the foot of the sail today. All that's needed now is to finish off the ends.


  1. A good job done!
    I find that a good audio book or some podcasts from help when on a laborious job.

  2. I was listening to the Grand Prix while I was doing it on Sunday.

    I just keep thinking about being able to get the sails back on and do some sailing.

    I just need to tidy up the clew now. It looks like I'll need more thread though, to finish the job off and double up on some of the stitching for strength.

  3. It would be an excellent little device to have on any boat. When away cruising it would come in very handy - I am not in the habit of carting around an electric sewing machine!!!

  4. Nor me Alden! I suppose if you're into ocean crossing and need to repair the sails it's as good a way of keeping occupied as any other, but it is a slow process. Whoever came up with the name "Speedy" for it must have had a sense of humour. :-)

  5. Not as "speedy" as a machine, but it is probably faster than using a palm and needle. You could make up a tape or paper template for the new areas, if you wanted it really neat.

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  7. I've only got the thickest part of the sail, the tack to finish off. At that part there are several layers of material, glue and webbing to get through. Even the speedy stitcher is struggling, I've already broken a needle. What I'm thinking of doing is piercing a hole with a thin nail or tack and then using the hole with the stitcher.

  8. Eventually I got a awl out and made holes first with that. It made the job a whole lot easier.

  9. Eventually I got a awl out and made holes first with that. It made the job a whole lot easier.