Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine For Leather And Denim in 2017

If you’re an experienced sewist, you will know first hand how hard it is for a basic sewing machine to work through heavy duty projects.

When it comes to heavy duty sewing, i.e., working through leather, canvas, denim, jeans, webbing, vinyl, etc., many machines will struggle through these fabrics, and when you add multiple layers, well, the result can be frustrating to say the least.

What classifies as a heavy duty sewing machine? Well, in a nutshell, a machine that can produce good quality stitches through heavy fabrics, quickly and easily.

Firstly, most heavy duty machines incorporate much more metal to give them strength and weight. So, the machine could have a heavy duty metal frame, and may also have a stainless steel plate and metal outer casing.

This allows you to work on heavier projects without the machine slipping around on the table, and be able to plough through the multiple layers easily.

Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine For Leather And Denim Comparison

  • choose your machine

  • Price
  • Customer Feedback
  • Stitches
  • Presser Feet
  • Buttonhole
  • Extra High Presser Foot Lift
  • Metal Needle Plate
  • Heavy Duty Motor
  • Heavy Duty Metal Frame
  • Heavyweight Needles
  • Heavy Duty Motor
  • Foot Pressure Adjustment
  • Hard Case
  • Stitch Balance Adjustment
  • Bobbin Setup
  • Adjustable stitch width/length
  • Free Arm
  • Free Motion
  • Quilting table
  • Speed
  • Double Stitching
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Tension Control
  • Automatic Needle Threader
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Because these machines are mainly used for basic sewing together of multiple layers, the need for computerisation, vast numbers of stitches and other fancy features is reduced, so they are mainly mechanical machines, with simple levers to change stitch type, length, width, reverse stitch and button holes.

Of course, not all sewists actually need to have a heavy duty sewing machine in their arsenal.

But if you find you are regularly producing soft furnishings, making leather jackets, sewing jeans, or repairing upholstery, you might look to adding to your sewing machine tally with a heavy duty machine that can work their way through these projects easily and quickly.

No.1 Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

Pros
  • 7-Piece feed dog
  • Foot pressure adjustment
  • Stitch balance adjustment
  • Amp heavy duty motor
  • Hard Case
  • High Stitch Quality
  • 6 needle position
  • Cast aluminium body
Cons
  • Expensive
  • 860 stitches/min
  • Poor manual

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The Janome HD3000 is a full-bodied, mechanical sewing machine that is specifically designed to manage heavy duty sewing for multiple layers, and various thicknesses.

This machine comes with 18 stitch types, adjustable stitch length and width settings, and reverse sewing, all adjusted using the no fuss levers located on the front of the machine.

The snap on presser feet that come with the machine are reported to be good quality metal and extra tight, and the extra high presser foot lever will help with bulkier sewing with fabrics like denim and leather.

It’s extraordinary 7-piece feed dogs give you the ability to zoom over thick quilts, canvas or denim jeans fabric, and then straight on to the finest voile or silk, without missing a beat.

The one step button hole is an added feature that will be welcomed by most sewists.

While it does come with a needle threading system, some reviewers have reported it can be troublesome, and others have reported that the push-pull bobbin is a bit his and miss with winding consistently tight bobbins.

Importantly, the weight of this machine makes it solid enough that it should not slip about when handling those heavy duty projects.

No.2 SINGER 4423 Heavy Duty High-Speed Sewing Machine

Pros
  • 1100 stitches/min
  • Affordable Price
  • Portable Size
Cons
  • 7 Amp motor
  • Low stitch quality

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The “cheap as chips” Singer 4423 is by all accounts a powerful little machine that has the grunt to sew through heavy denim, leather, and jeans just as easily as you please.

Its 23 built-in stitches, automatic needle threader, automatic button hole means it will do everything a basic sewist needs.

Reviews show that this machine can zoom through projects at 1100 stitches per minute, and will plough over multiple layers of leather, denim, canvas, webbing – almost anything you can throw at it.

Although it has a heavy duty metal frame, it is lightweight and easily transported.

Many professionals have reported using it to good effect, so for the low price, this one is worth considering.

No.3 Janome HD1000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

Pros
  • Cast aluminium body
  • Large extension table
  • 4-step buttonhole
Cons
  • Front load bobbin
  • 860 stitches/min

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The Janome HD1000 is a mid-price range,solid machine with a lot going for it.

This machine comes with 14 built in stitches including utility and stretch stitches, 4 presser feet and a 4 step button hole function.

With a cast aluminium body, it feels and operates solidly, and using its drop feed, you are able to easily carry out darning, stippling, attach buttons and use other free motion applications.

Both the bobbin tension and main thread tension are easy to adjust when needed, and the extra high presser foot lifter allow you to handle bulky denim, leather, multiple layers and the like.

Users have reported that it will handle fabrics such as ripstop nylon to canvas and denim easily and performs well.

While not as fast as others in this review, it is a reliable brand name, with positive reviews as to its suitability for heavy duty sewing.

No.4 SINGER 4432 Heavy Duty High Speed Sewing Machine

Pros
  • 1100 stitches/min
  • Portable Size
Cons
  • 7 Amp motor
  • Low stitch quality

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The SINGER Sewing 4432 is by all reports a fast and basic machine that will cut through your heavy duty sewing in no time.

With 32 built in stitches including 6 Basic Stitches, 7 Stretch Stitches, 18 Decorative Stitches, and 1 Auto Buttonhole, you get a little more versatility for your money than the Singer 4423.

Once again, this Singer is fast at 1100 stitches per minute and although it only has a 0.7 amp motor, reviewers report that it will fly through multiple layers of denim, jeans, canvas, vinyl – even flat fell seams of up to 12 layers of stretch denim.

The automatic needle threading is reported by some to be a little finicky, and there is no dedicated speed control settings, however the 3 needle positions, professional sewing speed, and heavy duty metal frame are a plus.

No.5 Brother ST371HD Strong and Tough Sewing Machine

Pros
  • No Oiling Maintenance
Cons
  • Heavy weight
  • Slow stitching Speed

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As you’d expect with its excellent brand name, the Brother ST371HD holds its place among the low priced heavy duty sewing machines as a reliable, light and compact machine that works well.

Although it’s a little on the slow side, it offers an easy to use machine for heavy duty sewing of canvas, leather, vinyl, denim and jeans etc.

It comes with a spring action zigzag foot for thick seams, and helpfully, also comes with heavyweight needles and a non-stick presser foot, so you can test it out on your multiple layers and vinyl/leather straight out of the box.

Although it does not have the bells and whistles computerised machines offer, Brother has added durability and sewing performance to allow you to tackle your heavy duty projects with confidence.

What should be considered when choosing the best heavy duty sewing machine for leather and denim

  • Can it handle the fabric?

Look for machines that can work through heavy duty fabrics and multiple layers, quickly and easily.

Whether you’re manufacturing curtains, leather jackets, vinyl upholstery, canvas bags –you need a machine that can handle these types of fabrics on their own, as well as in multiple layers.

Some fabrics such as leather and vinyl may require a Teflon foot to flow smoothly over these “sticky” materials.

A walking foot will also help you with foot pressure when working with multiple layers to keep them moving under the presser foot together at the same time.

You may need to know if the machine comes with these types of feet or if you can purchase them if needed.

Also invaluable for working with thick layers, is an extra high lift presser foot, and presser foot adjustment which will allow you to man-handle your thick projects under the presser foot while keeping all layers moving smoothly through the machine with the least amount of fuss.

  • Is the motor strong enough?

If your machine does not have enough power to continually work its way through the multiple layers of denim and canvas, this will affect stitch quality, performance and speed.

Look for the strongest motor you can afford, and combined with the ability to handle the fabric, this should have you zooming through your projects in no time.

  • Is it fast?

If you are a professional sewist who works with heavy duty fabric for a living, you could need the speed of a fast and durable machine to help you meet your production targets.

Some machines have a slower speed than others, so balance the stitch speed with the machine’s performance.

Also look for automated options that can help reduce the time you spend on projects, such as automatic threading.

  • Do you need a purpose-built heavy duty machine?

Ask yourself, what is the main reason you’re purchasing this machine: is this a second machine for your heavy duty work, or do you need it to cover all bases, as it were? Do you need the machine to work with all fabrics – light and heavy duty? Base your purchase on what you need it to do, and then you will be able to justify how much to spend.

Our Recommendation

Although at the high end in price in this review, the Janome HD3000 offers the best bang for your buck in terms of the 1 Amp motor, 7 piece feed dog, foot pressure adjustment, and reported high stitch quality.

A real work horse, this machine is basic and no-fuss, with all the features you need to manage multiple layers and various thicknesses.

Although there are faster machines, the performance, reliability and ability to easily work its way steadily through multiple layers of heavy duty fabric make this machine top of our list.

With a good5 star rating on Amazon this is a popular machine which appears to be making a lot of heavy duty sewists happy in their work.

This is a solid and reliable sewing machine that forsakes all the fancy bells and whistles of computerised machine, to focus on doing what it sayson the box – consistently sew heavy duty projects well.

Simply and easy to use, if you’re a beginner sewist this could also be a good machine for you to start with, that will see you working through whatever projects you decide to throw at it.

If you’re looking for a high performance, sturdy machine to support you in heavy duty sewing projects, then this machine is highly recommended.

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One thought on “Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine For Leather And Denim in 2017

  • October 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm
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    Thank you for such a well written article. It’s full of insightful information and entertaining descriptions. Your point of view is the best among many.

    Reply

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