Sewing with heavy fabrics like denim, leather and fabrics for draperies and slipcovers requires durable equipment that is designed for the job. As you start to take on more advanced projects, you may consider opting for a good quality, heavy duty sewing machine. We’ve sorted out the top rated heavy duty machines to show you, but first it’s worth asking yourself if you really need one, or if a more simple sewing machine might fit the bill for your sewing endeavors.
Do I Really Need a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine?
The question of whether you really need a heavy duty sewing machine depends on your range of sewing skills, the sewing projects planned and the volume of work. Certainly, sewing hobbyists who use a sewing machine for large projects in high volume need a heavy duty sewing machine.
These type machines are work horses and built to last. There’s no worry about fabric weight or fabric sizes. Virtually any large sewing pattern for the biggest projects requires a heavy duty sewing machine. Sooner or later, there’s always a pair of denim jeans that need mending and that compact model sewing machine just can’t manage it.
Most of the top rated machines on this list are light enough in weight to make them quite mobile. When the PTA needs the stage curtain mended for the next student play, a heavy duty sewing machine travels well and can work magic. There’s always a need for a heavy duty sewing machine for alterations like newly purchased drapes that are too long or too wide for a non-standard size window.
In less than a half hour, alterations can be made on a heavy duty sewing machine that would take hours on a regular compact machine. Mending torn leather or suede jacket sleeves is another reason to consider one.
Here are 5 top rated heavy duty sewing machines that have been getting fantastic reviews from raving fans lately:
#1 – Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Model 4423
One of the most popular machines for large sewing projects is the Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Extra-High Sewing Speed Sewing Machine. It features a metal frame and stainless steel bedplate, and can handle 1100 stitches per minute. It has a total of 23 different stitches from which to choose. This machine is made for heavy sewing projects with its durable metal frame. The metal frame gives stability when working with heavy fabric. Other features of this Singer Model include:
. Automatic needle feeder
. Automatic four step button hole
. Top drop in bobbin that’s easy to load
Perhaps the most appreciated feature of this machine is its stainless steel bedplate. When working heavy fabric beneath the needle, a smooth fabric feed produces even stitches. It also has an adjustable tension that produces stable stitching. It weighs approximately 14.5 lbs. and its dimensions are 15.5 x 6.2 x 12 inches. The size and weight make it ideal for heavy duty sewing projects for home or commercial use. It’s priced at around $200.
#2 – Janome Heavy Duty Sewing Machine – Model HD3000
The Janome HD3000 has 18 Built-In Stitches is a great machine for someone who is more than a casual hobbyist. This is the machine for those really big sewing projects. Janome HD3000 will perform as well as an industrial sewing machine and has all the right features to produce highest quality results.
It has a durable aluminum body, with automatic needle threader, a handy reverse stitch lever, an adjustable foot presser, an automatic one-step button hole and can manage up to seven layers of fabric for draperies and slip covers. Another feature is stitch length and width control to adjust stitches. The Janome HD3000 weighs approximately 24 lbs. The most appreciated feature of this machine is the bobbin system. It’s top loading and jam proof. The Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is priced at around $400.
#3 – Brother PQ1500S High-Speed Straight-Stitch and Quilting Machine
Although the Brother PQ1500S model is listed as a high-speed straight-stitch and quilting machine, it handles large sewing projects and thicker fabrics with ease. It performs well with an SPM of 1500 and four feed dog settings, the advanced sewing hobbyist can look forward to completing their most complex sewing projects. Other features of the Brother PQ1500S are:
. A vertical bobbin system
. Auto thread cutter
. Adjustable presser foot
. Upper tension
. Knee lifter
. Programmable needle stop positioning
The Brother PQ1500S weighs 24.2 and is 12.6″ W × 7.9″ W × 19.3″ D in size. Another feature is the 25-year warranty.
#4 – Juki TL2000QI High Speed Sewing and Quilting Machine
Another heavy duty sewing machine that deserves mention is the Juki TL2000QI. The Juki TL2000QI features a single needle lockstitch for straight stitching and quilting. It fits neatly into a sewing cabinet, on a table or can be attached to quilting frames. Other features include:
. Auto thread trimmer
. Easy load bobbin
. Up/Down Needle control
. Adjustable presser foot
. Knee lifter lever for hands free adjustment of the presser foot
The Juki TL2000QI High Speed sewing machine produces 1500 stitches per minute and has a thread tension scale for convenience. In addition, this machine offers a 6 mm stitch length for heavy duty fabrics and quilts.
#5 – SINGER CG590 Commercial Grade Sewing Machine
The second Singer model to make the top five list is the Singer CG590 Commercial Grade sewing machine. There are lots of reasons for this. It weighs 16 lbs. and is sized at 16 x 7 x 12.5 inches. It has a heavy duty metal frame and produces 1100 stitches per minute. With an extra-high speed for sewing and a stainless steel bedplate, this Singer model can manage zippers and can blind stitch a hem up to one-quarter inch thick. It comes with accessories like spool caps, a pack of needles, bobbins, and multiple feet to tackle a variety of tasks. With 18 built in stitches, this Singer is a solid model for professional work.
What to Look for in a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Graduating to advanced sewing skills necessitates investing in a machine that will provide smooth performance on heavy fabrics. There are differences in features of heavy duty sewing machines that should be considered before choosing one. These include:
. The number of stitches per minute
. The types of fabrics it can sew
. Ease of threading needles
. Bobbin volume
Stitches per Minute (SPM)
Since a heavy duty sewing machine needs to pass the needle through thicker fabric, the number of stitches per minute is important. The stitches per minute may vary from one heavy duty sewing machine to another depending on the type of sewing project and machine use.
Types of Fabric
There’s a difference in the performance of a heavy duty sewing machine used for heavy weight fabrics. If the machine is to be used for leather clothing, for example, leather may need lining material. This adds to fabric thickness. Use a heavy duty sewing machine to mend quilts or to create slipcovers or draperies from large bolts of fabric.