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Heavy duty sewing machine choices

Alan_Kim | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on


Kinda new at this and have a very general question to start with.

I am interested in working with outdoor fabric such as canvas, ripstop and others that are normally seen in awnings, sunshades and tents.
The goal is to fabricate custom shape sun shades (for windows and doorways) for our house. They would be used only during the warm season to cut down on heat gain.
Patterns would be worked out on the computer and I’ll be looking into that also.
What brand or type of sewing machine should I be looking at ?
I am familiar with the Bernina name and ofcourse Singer, but that’s about it with ZERO experience on a sewing machine.

Thanks for any advice,



  1. karen_morris_ | | #1

    Hello, Alan. I'm not an expert on sewing heavy fabrics, but I can tell you that you don't *have* to use a really heavy fabric to make sun shades. The nylon ripstop you mention is not too heavy for a normal home sewing machine (at least the ripstops I've seen). To learn more about different brands of machines, read through the discussions in this folder.

    If you really want to sew on heavy canvas, I think you may need a commercial or industrial machine. As with any high-quality machine, you can get a better deal (in my opinion) by buying a good used one (often can be gotten with a warranty, from a dealer).

    1. Alan_Kim | | #2

      *Thanks for replying, Karen -Yes, I have noticed used offerings at various web sites.The industrial/commercial machines seem to range $1,000 - 2,000 and up.I'll give one of them a call and try to get a better idea.Take care,Alan

      1. Paula | | #3

        *Look at the machines available through ATS [Alanta Thread and Supply] call them at 1-800-847-1001.With the fabric that you are using you will not need a super heavyduty sewing machine such as an upholstery machine but rather you will LOVE the high speed of a straight-stitch machine such as one designed for alterations, tailoring and draperies. ATS has several to offer you. I have a Singer and a Juki. I love them and use them a lot. I bought both of them used at $250. and $400. The amount that was quoted above for USED machine is rather high, that is about the prices that you can buy NEW machines for through ATS.But you are right you will need commercial machines not domestic machines.

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