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I need help! I want to get a sewing machine. I have never owned one or used one although I have numerous friends and family that would be willing and able to help me - and there's always YouTube ;)
  • I want to be able to sew my own tugs out of nylon, leather and other thick material
  • I want to be able to sew my own leads out of BlueWater webbing (used by climbers).
  • I want to be able to sew blankets, bed skirts and other household craft-type stuff.
  • I also want to be able to make my own ferret bedding out of fleece etc. These are the major plans for it.
So, I think it has to be fairly heavy-duty to sew through the dog things but it needs to be exceedingly simple for me to use (or have amazing directions, I am super good with following directions) and it needs to be reasonably priced. Since I will be using it as a hobby thing, I want it to last a long time as well (within reason). I have done some research but I honestly don't know what I'm doing!








Any advice?!
 

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I don't think any of the ones you listed will be able to sew through leather :( You will probably have to spend a bit more...probably closer to $300?? I was looking into ones to sew leather at one point but I don't remember exactly which I was looking at.

I have this one:
Amazon.com: Brother Sewing Machine, Model LS-2125: Arts, Crafts & Sewing

It won't sew leather or leads, but can do household stuff and I make a lot of fleece hammocks for my rats and they come out pretty nicely. It's fairly simple but I think I would have had a hard time figuring it out - luckily my mom is good with sewing machines so she showed me how to thread the bobbins and set everything up.
The downside is that it's not super consistent - sometimes I can sew a dozen hammocks with no issues, but then without changing anything, I'll start having issues with the stitches looping really badly and I still haven't quite figured out why. I eventually get fed up and just start again another day and it'll sew fine without changing anything.
 

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I would look for a vintage machine. You can find a machine on craigslist or ebay for $150 that will do twice the work of a machine for three times that price today. Like everything, they don't make them like they used to and to get a new machine that will do heavy duty work you are going to have to spend several hundred dollars.

Anything made from the 1940's to the 1960's will be easily repaired if need be and will be a workhorse. You will want something with a straight stitch and a zig zag as a beginner.
 

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Brother is one of the better sewing machines out there, although it doesn't get as much publicity as other companies.

When you start talking about sewing leather, doing production work etc. you might be better off to look into a used industrial sewing machine. (new ones can be very expensive)
 

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I have a Brother CS-8072 which is a computerized machine without an LCD panel. I've had it for many years (probably around 10 years now) and it's still going strong. I've sewn multiple quilts, hemmed tons of pants, made dog beds and crate covers, sewn through webbing for custom collars, the list goes on and one. I've done heavy not-so-exacting work with it (crate cover, dog bed in faux leather with fur) and I've done delicate exacting work (like lingerie). It's not a perfect machine, but it has been perfectly sufficient for my vast interest in sewing.

I doubt it would do really well with leather though. You need a very heavy duty machine to sew leather...

I bought a Singer Sewing machine that was built into a sewing table at Goodwill. I gutted the old Singer and mounted my machine in there. The machine sits flush with the sewing surface (which is awesome) and the whole cabinet can close up with the machine collapsing inside.

Here's a few photos of thick material:










 

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Discussion Starter #7
Those are awesome!

I am not looking for insane amounts of leather sewing, just two pieces together, for a 2"x10" tug for example - if I work slow and have a strong needle it wouldn't be ok?
 

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The biggest issue is the ability of the machine to pierce the leather. They make leather needles as well. If you are using relatively thing leather, I think it might work ok. If you want to jump to any thickness of leather with substance, you'd want to prepunch your holes with a leather punch. It is really easy to adjust the stitch length so that the machine needle falls through your prepunched holes. Leatherworking is not my forte.

Wildo I just love that crate cover. That is awesome.
Thanks! You can see more here: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/pictures-pictures-pictures/162990-diy-custom-crate-cover.html
 

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I know around my area Craigslist has a ton of old antique machines giving away for free that would be ideal. The proper needle and thread type and some wax when it sticks at all should do well. The old machines don't have all the nifty features, but sometimes less is more when you're learning.
 

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I bought some very thin lambskin to make tugs - unfortunately even with special "leather" needles my sewing machine was not able to pierce them. And forget sewing nylon straps on :(
 

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I sew all the time and have my entire life. I make nearly all of my daughter's clothing (she is quite thin so clothes just don't fit her). I LOVE my Bernina and recently added in a husqvarna (viking). I have never met a material I cannot sew. I have a new singer and 2 brothers in my inventory and I ABSOLUTELY hate them. The heavy use of plastic in the machine casings leads to all sorts of issues. I love my 2 singers from before I was born, but none of the new stuff. I thought they would be perfect for teaching sewing skills to my Girl Scout Troop (all the girls think it is easy ever since television fashion competition shows hit the scene) but these machines and their poor quality would be too frustrating for the girls. Perhaps slightly more pricey models (these were in the 300 range) would be better, but for now I have a bad feeling toward them all.

Assuming you get a machine that does not have alignment issues (another problem with the plastic part machines Brother puts out there) the needle and picking the right size for your material is super important. Most any machine should be able to do what you want if you give it the right tools. Consider the importance of thread quality as well- I swear by gutterman and silkey. I like that they are strong but also produce less lint to clog the engine.

It's a shame you aren't close to me- you could test drive all my machines. Heck you could have one of the ones I hate!
 

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soft leather tugs are relatively inexpensive - I doubt that it is very cost effective to buy a super machine just to make them....Meghan - I just got some suede ones, I will get one to you...is the lambskin with or without fleece??? I can send it to the Amish harness maker I use and have it done into tugs if you want!

Lee
 

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Thanks Lee, I'm sure Kira would love one :)
The lambskin is without fleece - but is soo thin I honestly don't think it'd even hold up to the dogs. I got it online just to try, luckily it was cheap because I couldn't sew it and even if I could, I would've had to get something thicker...
 

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My wife has a Singer 4432 and she is very happy with it. She bought it on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/SINGER-4432-Stitches-Automatic-Stainless/dp/B00JJ6L6PY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=SINGER+|+Heavy+Duty+4432&qid=1577072753&sr=8-1 It is fast and steady, solid enough to handle strong and heavy fabrics, so you can use it with leather and other thick materials. In the same time it's small and lightweight! And, if you're looking for your first sewing machine there is almost nothing complicated about this model.
 

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Hi...I work with leather as a hobby. $300 will NOT get you a machine that can sew leather!! I paid $1200 U.S. for a USED machine. This post on the Leatherworker forum will tell you what to look for: https://leatherworker.net/forum/topic/25239-the-type-of-sewing-machine-you-need-to-sew-leather/

To sum it up on one sentence, though: To properly sew leather you need an actual Walking Foot sewing machine. And these machines are HEAVY! The older machines are cast iron, and the head alone, not counting the table, weighs over 100 lb. My modern Seiko machine weighs about 80 lbs, not counting the table. The man who sold me the machine had a special dolly which he used to move the machine down the stairs. The height could also be adjusted so he could move the machine up to the same level as my SUV bed.

Another thing to consider is the speed on most industrial machines is very fast. You don't want that with leather, so you will need to buy a new servo motor that will allow you to control the speed. Either that, or find a machine that has already been customized to sew leather.
 

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This thread is from 2012. The OP is no longer active on the site.
 

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ah, another zombie thread has risen to the surface. It is fine. Someone might be looking to work some leather.
 
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