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Looking for a heavy duty machine

sewman | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi !. Does anyone know of a good brand of heavy duty sewing machine. I need something that I could use a heavy grade of thread in both the top and bobbin.  I occasionally sew on heavy denim and leather., And my regular machine just does’nt cut it. Thanks ! 🙂



  1. User avater
    CostumerVal | | #1

    Try Sailrite. I haven't personally used one, but I've heard good things and they're reasonably priced.Val

  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    Check out http://www.patternreview.com  They have sewing machine reviews by their owners which may be of help to you.  You may want to get an industrial machine if you do alot of heavy duty creations.  Mary

  3. Ckbklady | | #3

    Hi there,

    You may also want to look around a bit on Craigslist. I know in my area they have scads of industrial machines listed online. Looking at them may help you become familiar with the differences between home use machines and the industrials.

    That said, it sounds more like you just want a nice tank-like machine for occasional heavy home sewing. If it were me, I would look on Craigslist for a recent-ish vintage electric such as a Pfaff 130 (circa 1950s-1970s), an Elna Supermatic (circa 1940s-1960s), anything by Necchi before 1970 or a Singer electric pre-1960. These machines are workhorses with mostly metal parts and heavy, strong motors. They take modern sewing machine needles (like Schmetz or Klasse or Singer) and have very few things that can go wrong or break down because of the nice old-fashioned build quality. They also can usually be had for a song. I own machines of all of these makes and didn't pay more than $50 for each one.

    Buying a used, older machine is really no riskier than buying a machine in Walmart and thus getting no follow-up serivce with your purchase. (In fact, the old machines are so simply designed inside and so sturdy, that less goes wrong with them anyway.)

    You can of course bring any of these machines into a multi-brand sewing machine sales and service center, but it can be equally satisfying (and much cheaper) to troubleshoot them yourself. Your library can likely order you one of the two classic sewing machine repair/tune up manuals for machines of the era: Sincere's Sewing Machine Service Book and Sincere's Zig Zag Sewing Machine Service Book. If you're even a little bit handy, these machines are easy to clean and service yourself. You can also order just about any sewing machine manual online from SewUSA.com.

    I have no experience with machines newer than 1990, so if you're after a new machine, others here will have to weigh in and offer ideas.

    Let us know what you choose! I wish you happy sewing.

    :) Mary

    1. sewman | | #4

      Very helpful! thank you!.  I have been looking at Craigslist for a older machine. Your info makes me feel more confident about choosing one of those. :)

      1. Ckbklady | | #5

        Oh, good! I'm glad to help. I'm a huge fan of older machines and love to talk about them. I use them exclusively, and have no problems with them that I can't fix with a little screwdriver and a few minutes' time.

        I hope you have a positive experience with the machine you get. If not, and you come across any problems, post a discussion here and I'll see if I can help. Also, there is another terrific member here by the name of Damascus Annie who works exclusively with people-powered machines (treadles and handcranks, which you may also come across on Craigslist). She might also be able to offer tips and tricks along the way, as many of the older electrics share similar design features to the treadles and such. Annie has taught me so much as I got up to speed with my other "motor-free machines". If you start to get into collecting machines (which is VERY easy to do at Craiglist prices!!), she is an invaluable goldmine of information, sage advice and good humor about the incredible varieties and creative possibilities to be had with hand- and foot-powered machines.

        I wish you the best! Happy sewing!

        :) Mary

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