Factors to Consider When Buying a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
There are a few features you need to have on a machine used to sew heavy materials and large projects. The following are a few tips to help you find a good machine that meets all the requirements.
- Weight: You need a heavy sewing machine to handle thick and tough materials. You want one that weighs at least 10lbs and the heavier the better. You want something heavy because lightweight machines may tip over, skip around, and produce uneven stitches when you feed a thick or heavy material through it. Be aware of the difference between shipping weight and the actual weight of the machine.
- Long arm or table: You can get fatigued when you sew heavy materials without a table or a long arm. This happens as a result of you having to hold up the heavy material you’re working on with your hands. However, it’s not all about you getting tired. A heavy material will fall away from the machine when you feed it into the machine, which will create crooked and uneven stitches. Having a machine with a table or long arm gives you a place to rest the material while you sew. Get a heavy duty machine with an extension table if you can’t buy one that comes with a full table. This especially true if your projects feature large items like upholstery and curtains.
- Presser foot: Ideally, you want a machine that comes with an adjustable presser foot, so you can raise it to accommodate thick fabrics and multiple layers of fabric. You should be able to adjust the height of the presser foot to work with the thickness of the material you’re working on.
- Stich Options: You also want to get a machine with the necessary stitches and adjustable stitch length. The length of the stitch is very important when working on thick and heavy fabrics. Longer length stitches are ideal for sewing heavy fabrics such as leather and upholstery. The stitch length options on a standard home machine will not be enough to handle these kinds of fabrics. It should have at least 3 stitch length options.
Some Helpful Features
Not all of a machine’s extensive list of features is necessary, but there are a few that are helpful when sewing heavy duty fabrics. Some of these features include:
- Adjustable feed dogs: machines with this type of feed dog allows thick fabrics to move through easily.
- Automatic thread cutter: After spending hours working on a project, it will be nice not to have to bring the fabric out and cut the thread with a pair of scissors each time you reach the end of a stitch.
- Stitch styles: You need the right types of stitches to complete the project if you will be working on specialized projects.
- Presser foot knee-lift: A knee lift provides a way for you to lift and lower the presser foot with your knees. You won’t have to let go of the material to do this.
- Automatic threader: To be honest, most of us do not like having to thread the machine manually. A machine with an automatic needle threader accomplishes this task with the touch of a button.
Types of Machines
Heavy duty sewing machines come in three broad types, which are mechanical, mid-range electric, and computerized.
Mechanical: This type of machine is ideal for someone just starting to learn the basics of sewing. However, many experienced and professional sewers prefer this type of machine because they don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with a modern computerized sewing machine. We prefer the classic-style mechanical machines for sewing heavy fabrics because they are strong and sturdy. Most modern mechanical machines are flimsy and not ideal for tough sewing projects.
Mid-Range Electric: This type of machine is more user-friendly than a mechanical machine. It does not have most of the features of a computerized machine, which makes it the ideal machine for those who do not want those features. This type of machine is ideal for beginners and comes with many features that prevent you from doing some manual tasks. This type of machine also gives you better feed dog pressure control and comes with several stitches and tension settings.
Computerized: This type of machine comes with a whole bunch of features. It comes pre-loaded with hundreds of stitches and allows you to download stitches from the internet and load them onto your machine. Some come with a touchscreen display that allows you to manipulate designs right on the screen. The touchscreen can also have tutorials that guide you through various tasks. This type of machine is very easy to use once you get used to it. Computerized machines generally have the most powerful feed mechanisms of all three types. Most computerized sewing machines are very powerful and make sewing heavy-duty fabrics easy. However, they are usually more expensive than the other two types.
Heavy fabric projects require a heavy duty sewing machine. We’ve done our best to list the best models capable of handling any project.