Author Topic: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)  (Read 26248 times)

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Offline billie5150

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Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« on: January 17, 2012, 11:46:59 PM »
i would like get your opinions on what sewing machine i should buy, i want to use it for sewing up some heavy canvas and some heavy leather now and then.

it will not really be used for anything delicate or anything fancy like making button holes or what have you.

i want to make some canvas covers for machinery and whatever else i can come up with.

what machine would work best for me ?

i have been looking at EBAY and that is most likely where i will buy one and if needed take it to the local sewing machine repair place for a tune up.

thank you for you help :)

Offline amandabab

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Re: sewing machine choice
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2012, 12:30:47 AM »
with ebay and a tune up (assuming just a clean/oil/adjust tune up) your $150 into the machine.

Ebay is full of "Industrial" machines  that are really old home units and the seller spotted a metal part on the outside,  and they wont run 4 ply polyester/V-90-V130 thread or take a 130/135 needle.
Even if the home machine will stab a needle through the material, there is no point making a machinery cover with weak sewing thread that rots under rain and UV exposure or a leather item with thread thin enough to cut through the leather over time.

for really sewing canvas and  leather you need real industrial walking foot upholstery machine.  sump/auto oiler and compound feed helps.

I wouldn't look at anything less than a machine branded
Sailrite
Consew
Econosew
Maybe a Tacsew GC6-6 if your on a sub-$1000 "head/motor/stand and freight to your door" budget




« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:21:19 AM by amandabab »

Offline melissamade

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Re: sewing machine choice
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2012, 12:31:36 AM »
i know everyone here loves older mechanical machines for heavy stuff like that.  if you dont want older you can get a straight stitch machine  i heard they are power horses

Offline Jennifer Hill

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Re: sewing machine choice
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2012, 01:51:59 AM »
Like Amandabab says, forget any household machine.   You should really have an industrial for such use.  There is a popular misconception circulating on some SM fora that industrials are more expensive than home machines, which immediately turns lots of folks off that option.  However, indies are almost always cheaper than quality home machines.  And used or vintage indies - well, some of them are downright CHEAP!!!  Older industrials hold their utility value much better than home machines since the models don't get updated so often.  And unless you are planning some 24/7 production runs, it is unlikely you need the newest features, or will notice if a unit is too worn for constant factory use.

As an example, I have a vintage Singer 78-1 walking foot/needle feed machine in my garage that cost a whopping $50 on Kijiji a few years back.  I really didn't need it, but I couldn't not get it at that price.  (It's since been resold and is awaiting a ride to its new home).

Jennifer in Calgary

Offline billie5150

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Re: sewing machine choice
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 02:04:48 AM »
thanks everybody :)

what do you think of a machine like a PFAFF 130 like this ?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HEAVY-DUTY-PFAFF-INDUSTRIAL-STRENGTH-SEWING-MACHINE-/230729193000?pt=BI_Sewing_Machines&hash=item35b8881628#ht_33967wt_1253

or a PFAFF 230, 260 or 360 sewing machine ?

i want an older machine anyway

Offline amandabab

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Re: sewing machine choice
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 02:17:40 AM »
you'd be happier with a Pfaff 138/145
"industrial strength" means "home machine" in ebay speak.

I like old pfaff's (own a 360) but those polyester/metal tooth timing belts are getting rare(as in tear down a machine to get one). the 230/260/332/360 MOTOR belt is available but the timing belts are
pure unobtainium.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 02:46:33 AM by amandabab »

Offline billie5150

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SINGER or PFAFF machine for canvas
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 02:24:05 AM »
what SINGER or PFAFF machine would work for sewing heavy canvas ?

i asked about this in another post and got some good replies


http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php/topic,16871.new.html#new

would a PFAFF 130 do a good job  or a 230 or 260 or 360 ?

 i am not doing a lot but i dont want a toy and i wont buy china made anything

what about this machine ?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/140680986678?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_719wt_1037

thanks

Offline amandabab

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Re: SINGER or PFAFF machine for canvas
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 03:09:25 AM »
that singer 251 will do it, but I don't see an oil pan with that machine

Offline Merl

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Re: sewing machine choice
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 04:10:46 AM »
Hey billie5150, welcome to Stitchers Guild !
I don't know what happened to my last post so, I guess I'll try it again...
Anyway, what has already been said about using a home machine for the kind of work you're talking about, is quite true.
You might as well forget about running the kind of canvas you want to use, through a home machine.
I have a rather large fleet of so called "heavy duty" home sewing machines and I can tell you that none of them will touch multiple layers of the canvas used for truck tarps and the like.
Basically, anything with a self contained motor is not going to hold up to the kind of work you are talking about. I also have a Pfaff 360 and I can tell you it's not even one of my most powerful home machines. Actually, I have a Viking 6360 that is the "most powerful" home machine I have and that is because it has a "back gear" or a low speed gear arrangement that allows the motor to run at a much higher rpm to provide the needed torque while the machine runs at about half of its normal speed.
Still there are some critical components in that machines drive train that are plastic and there by negate the increase in piercing power.
The greatest advantage that industrial sewing machines have here is that the motor is running all the time at full speed and the operator starts and stops the machine with a special clutch (this is usually referred to as a "clutch/motor")
Many newer industrials may come with a servo motor instead of the clutch motor but the operating theory is the same, to provide full motor power at all speeds.
Remember too that the typical industrial machine is designed for a specific task and are not always very versatile. For example, my old Singer 31-15 only does a straight stitch and has no reverse feed but, it does that one thing VERY WELL and it will do it all day long every day of the week if I want. I can get most any kind of accessory foot or attachment for it and still get brand new repair parts for it even though it has been in production since 1899.
You will have to do some hard thinking and decide just what you want your machine to do.
Then go out and find the industrial that does those couple of things or maybe just that one thing, and go get it.
One thing is for certain, we will have a great time helping you get it figured out ! ;)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 04:19:04 AM by Merl »

Offline amandabab

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Re: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 04:59:24 PM »
various models of the Singer 16 (U, K, 188) show up on Ebay from time to time

Offline Pina

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Re: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 07:11:11 PM »
billie5150,if the model in your post is a Singer 251- 1,( I can't tell by just looking at it ),it only has a 9/32 inch presser bar lift.A bit more than a 1/4 inch,I think.Not enough to get real thick,double folded jeans side seams under the presser foot when shortening jeans,without hammering the seam down first and using a hump jumper.

Depending on how thick the canvas and other materials are you are thinking of sewing,I would think real hard before I would buy that model.Here is a free Singer 251 pdf manual.If you like to,you can read all the good things about that model.( I have seen another ad with a better looking 251 for two hundred dollars.)

In the manual it also says.....Machine 251 - 2 has a needle bar stroke of 1-13/64 inches and a presser bar lift of 5/16 inch;can sew a maximum of 5 - 1/2 stitches to the inch on heavy to to light weight fabrics.

There is also a Singer 251 - 3.The 251 - 3 can be furnished with a presser bar lift of 7/16 inch,enabling it to sew extra - heavy to light weight material.If I wanted to sew a lot of heavy weight material,I would only buy a machine that has at least a 1/2 inch or more presser bar lift.  ;)

Some domestic sewing machine brands and models can be used for occasional heavy weight materials and thin leather.I have sewn teepees for DH.One with an older model Kenmore domestic sewing machine.It had a 1 amp motor.Another,much larger and taller,teepee I decided to sew with my Pfaff 262 - 261 domestic sewing machine because of the speed.It has a 1.2 amp motor and can sew 1500 stitches per minutes with the original motor.

All my Pfaff domestic machines have very good needle penetration.With my  Pfaff 1200 series machines I can sew one single stitch at a time - without ever touching the balance/hand wheel.That took some getting used to for me. ;D The Pfaff dealer,who sold me the machine,pretended to slap my hand when I started to sew and wanted to turn the hand wheel first.I had to do that with all my other brand vintage machines.  ;)
The teepees didn't have very thick seams.I could get the canvas material under the presser foot without pushing or pulling.The feed dogs transported the material on its own.My 262 has only a 7 mm,(a bit more than 1/4 inch),presser bar lift.I have sewn thin leather and a few other outdoor things on it for DH,but ...I don't like to sew over bulky jeans side seams with that machine.  ;)

« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 07:19:31 PM by Pina »

Offline billie5150

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Re: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 02:09:45 AM »
thanks for the help  everybody :)

Offline judith

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Re: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 05:58:34 PM »
Some years ago, my husband wanted me to sew some patches on his leather jacket and do some repairs to his leather chaps. My delicate machines would not have been up to it. He paid for half of a new machine, and, after a lot of online research, I bought a Juki 98q.

This is a dream machine for leather. I have been so impressed.

More recently, I've decided to learn quilting and the juki will be used on a quilt frame.

This is not an economy machine, but it is well worth the investment.
Most people are as happy as they allow themselves to be. (Abraham Lincoln)

Offline Claudine

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Re: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 02:37:13 AM »
The Singer 107-W1, a vintage industrial, is made specifically for that kind of work.  I have one, and it is very sturdy.  It is good for shoemaking as well.

Offline CyndyKitt

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Re: Sewing Machine Choice (for canvas & leather)
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2012, 01:04:39 AM »
Hi Billie,
When you say "heavy" leather, how heavy are you thinking; motorcycle/upholstery weight or heavy harness? And what sort of jobs are you planning; small craft or repair projects or something more ambitious? Finally, How much sewing experience do you have, what's your budget and is it just a couple of projects, or is this an ongoing thing?
For general leather sewing I recommend machines with a walking foot or walk-feed, make and model depends on how much you are going to use it and what you can afford.

 

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