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Basic heavy duty sewing machine

KarenK | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I am looking to buy a new sewing machine. I’ve killed two in the last few years sewing tents, and the best repair place in Pittsburgh no longer has parts for
them because they’re so old.

I want a heavy duty machine that can sew through 3-4 layers of canvas but still sew regular fabric well.  I don’t generally sew on fine or stretchy fabrics, I do more craft sewing.  I don’t care about all the fancy embroidery stitches and electronic
folderol – forward, back and zigzag are all I need.  It needs to be under $250, and serviceable by the local repair place.

I’m looking at a couple of models I found on the Internet: a White 1866 Heavy Duty and a Craftmaster 4400 or 4500.  Anybody have any experience with these, or with other models that I haven’t mentioned that you think would fit the bill?

Thanks for your help!


  1. ChrisHaynes | | #1

    I am sorry, I have no experience with either sewing machine (except I believe White is part of Husqvarna/Viking).

    Over 12 years ago I went shopping for a sewing machine that would sew through 6 to 8 layers of Cordura (a heavy backpack fabric).  I bought a fairly high end home use mechanical machine.  It has never balked... and doesn't mind sewing through fine fabrics... It was one out 3 different machines that passed the test, several others did not pass.  I did pay a bit over twice your budget. 

    In your price range you might try finding a good used machine... and possibly a used industrial machine (like Juki, Pfaff, Brother, Bernina, Merrow... etc).  Most major cities have suppliers of these machines (and there is always Ebay), and I've noticed that the ones in my area have plenty of used machines. 

    You should also see if the repair place you have been using has a reconditioned machine approprate for your needs.

    There is also a walking foot sewing machine, http://www.sailrite.com .  Its name pretty gives a hint as to its focus.

    But the important this is that you bring samples of the heaviest (and possibly the lightest) fabrics you expect to sew through.  That should help you decide. 

    Check out:  http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00130.asp

    Edited 2/25/2003 12:08:21 AM ET by Chris

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