Anyone use those little hand-held "sewing machines" ?

I’m trying to solve a very vexing problem. I am using sheets of carbon fiber. It’s a coarse weave- akin to burlap. But it lacks the texture of burlap threads and so cutting and working with this stuff is brutal. It comes unwoven really easily- and more easily when it’s wet with sticky epoxy liquid. :eek:

The only areas that do not become difficult to work are the pre-sewn seams on the roll of cloth I bought. It occurs to me that if I tried to do a loose but useful basting stitch using my sewing machine, the foot that moves cloth along would rip loose the carbon fiber threads and wreck it.

BUT- if I find one of those hand-held sewing machine doohickeys, I might be able to affect a basting stitch without pulling the fibers loose. Does that sound like a plan, and has anyone out there used one of these things? Do they work, even moderately well? I don’t need fancy and clean, I just need some kind of stitch that will keep the loosely woven fibers in place as I cut and glue them up in the form.


I have a cheap-ass $4 one from Discount Drug Mart, and it works really well. I used it for basting a quilt (which I wasn’t expecting work) and it did work - it moved a bit fast, but once I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy.

Highly recommend it.


Does your sewing machine not allow you to leave the foot lifted up? The cloth kind of bounces around, but it still works ok if you hold it taught.

It may well, but this cloth unravels SO fast that I am inclined to find a way to move the stitching through the fabric, instead of the normal sewing machine method of moving the fabric through the stitching mechanism.

Yes, if I lifted up the foot I could do it. However, and this is key- the upper foot would be lifted but the fast-moving and rather sharply serrated lower “advance foot” would still be moving back and forth, churning up the underside of the cloth and displacing tons of threads. Not good.

If you get one, DON’T get the Handi-Stitch - Mr.AFG works at Michaels’ where they sold them, and he said most of them were returned due to one problem or another with it.

I have the “Sew Crafty Mini”, made by ProvoCraft, which I got from Michaels. It does a pretty good job. It runs on 3 or 4 (can’t remember exactly) AAA batteries. I’m not sure if it has a jack for an AC adaptor or not (I’d look, but it’s buried in a box under another couple boxes).

Huh. I bought a Handi-Stitch, from Michael’s even, and it worked fine for what I wanted it to (sewing a quick and dirty halloween costume). I was actually impressed at how well it worked for what I needed it to do. However, mine was really simple - sew two pieces of cotton together in a straight line. Not rocket science. I was aware that it was in no way a replacement for a proper sewing machine; I just didn’t want to sew the seam by hand - didn’t have that much time.

It says it’ll go through several layers of denim, but I’m not certain it’s really that sturdy. Your burlap-type stuff might give it a workout. But if you can find one cheap, it might be worth it.

Well, now I have two brand names to work with. As for the burlap being too thick, fear not.

I used the burlap analogy ONLY to try to explain how easily the fabric pulls apart in both weave and weft directions. It’s a very thin slick fabric, made entirely carbon fibers, woven into strands and then woven a la burlap. As far as thickness or toughness, I have no doubt but that either of these brands will do.

And, I’m not even throwing together two pieces for a costume- I’m just in need of a basting stitch to make a seam so it doesn’t unravel. And, so it keeps it’s tension across the weave as I pull and adjust it. Once I soak it in the epoxy, it’s oogey and sticky and tough to work with. I’ll get one of these items tomorrow. I live near a Michael’s.

And, will report back when I try it out !!