The primary dilemma of a sewist who already owns a sewing machine is always – Is my sewing machine enough? Do I need to buy a better one ? Wouldn’t my sewing projects be better with a better sewing machine. Then, which one should I buy? Do I buy another home sewing machine or Should I look for an Industrial sewing machine ?
How do you decide on these questions?.
Here are the criteria that will tell you if you really need to buy an Industrial sewing machine or not.
First and Foremost , do you belong to any of these category of people ? If you are looking for an industrial sewing machine, you need to be –
- An Owner of a retail shop with a small alteration section or
- An Owner of tailoring or alteration shops or
- An Owner of a sewing unit, who want to expand number of existing sewing machines or
- A Home sewist who wants to venture into sewing business or
- A designer who expects professional results in every garment made or
- A Home sewist who wants to sew all the time
An industrial sewing machine looks huge – and it is.The sewing machine itself is bigger than a domestic machine. Then there is the table. You need a table with the Industrial sewing machine unlike a table top home sewing machine which you can carry anywhere and use anywhere ( as long as you have a power outlet and the surface is somewhat flat) and then store inside a cupboard.
The motors are attached outside the body of the industrial machine and there is the big table with a big foot pedal. In a home sewing machine the motors are attached inside and it is compact and you can simply carry it anywhere.
If you have a space constraint you simply cannot buy an industrial sewing machine. The almost 50 inch table would not fit into most apartment bedrooms.
Industrial sewing machines are costly. They are more than double the cost of the simple home sewing machines. I am taking about the base model. If you want better machines you have to rob your bank. Not so much, but you know what I mean. The cost includes motor and machine and the table.
But then domestic machines are not cheap either. There are many highly expensive home sewing machines with many features a home sewist may never use in her or his sewing lifetime. They are prohibitively costly and may even give you a bad straight stitch which is after all the most important stitch.
You need to see the value in what you buy – it is a balance between what you can afford and the feature that you need.
Most higher end Industrial sewing machines come with features like automatic thread cutter, easy speed control, better motor, good warranty etc
If you sew for one hour every week or something like that, you do not need an industrial sewing machine. They are meant to sew continuously for many many hours and sew hundreds of garments – yes, they are the superheroes of the sewing world. Do you really need them, even if you can afford them. Do you sew enough?
Industrial sewing machines are work horses – they sew over layers of clothing like a bulldozer go over whatever they go over. They have very powerful motors, much much more powerful than the home sewing machine. Working with some fabrics with a domestic sewing machine can be very frustrating at times.
If you want to sew many many layers of fabric at once without breaking multiple needles and groan with frustration many times over, this is an option you should consider. ( of course there are some industrial sewing machines meant to sew only thin fabrics, you will have to double check this ). Most sew light and heavy fabrics and many many layers.
Most of the sewing machine problems you will find in domestic machines are not there with these machines. Even if there are, it is probably you and not the machine.
The advantage of the industrial sewing machine is that the foot pedal is effortless and very powerful. This may be a disadvantage for some too- as it could run away with you and need some time for you to master it. It also has a lever to operate the presser foot by leg. The take up lever in industrial machine is under the table and you will be using your leg to use it. This is convenient when all your hands are involved in guiding the fabric. It leaves your hands free for more important sewing functions.
The maintenance is also pretty effortless – with most machine being self lubricating.
For those that want a treadle version, when the electricity is a problem, this is also available. Infact they are inexpensive compared to the fully electric versions.
Industrial machines are not multi taskers. They either sew straight stitch, or do buttonholes or do serger stitch. If you want a sewing machine with 100 stitches, buy a home sewing machine.
You cannot use industrial sewing machine for anything other than what it is intended for. There are industrial sewing machine that will only sew leather . If you buy it and then sew dressmaking fabrics with it the whole tension and timing and everything will be disrupted and the machine will stop doing anything.
Some Industrial machines sew only a straight lock stitch and if you want to finish the edges with a simple zig zag you will have to buy another machine. Some machines only stitch lightweight fabrics ; some only do heavy weight fabric sewing. Some do not do reverse sewing; some do. Some only sew leather type materials; Some only do buttonholes and button attachment; Some machines even talk to you – just kidding.
Industrial sewing machines are stable, strong and long lasting – they live, like forever. They have good strong metal bodies and repairing them even when they develop glitches is easy for a sewing mechanic.
The sturdy structure of an industrial machine is something else; Unlike the plastic bodies of home sewing machines which even develop cracks with passing of thread
Ease of use
Most home sewists are intimidated by industrial machines. But that is unnecessary trepidation. Today the industrial machines are as easy to operate as a domestic machine. Both sewing machines operate with the foot pedal. With both types you can adjust the speed of the machine as per your need. Some even have sensors for pressure feet – you just bring the fabric to the pressure feet – it will sense and lift itself. A little practice and some patience and sewing with these machines becomes easy.
The consistently perfect stitch quality of Industrial sewing machines is the most important advantage. They are perfect in what they do. The crisp stitches of an industrial sewing machine is impossible to replicate with a domestic sewing machine.
Brands and types
Juki, Jack and Yamata are the major brands in Industrial sewing machines. There are many more equally good brands.
You can buy industrial machines in many models. As said, most do one single action.
The machines run with two types of motors – servo motors and clutch motors. Clutch motors are powerful and can sew heavy materials with ease but servo motors run very efficiently with much less noise and energy efficiency. The reason is that the clutch motor is always running when the power is on where as the servo motor runs when you operate the pedal. So the noise level is more with the clutch motor as the machine is continuously running and the energy cost as well. For a beginner the servo motor is easier as the speed is easy to control – you can set it and then sew in that speed , so less sewing mistakes. So if you are a beginner or you want to control the speed of sewing easily when sewing difficult fabrics get a servo. For experienced sewing professionals clutch motors are alright.
The main options in the models of Industrial sewing machines are –
Basic model; this one has a lockstitch- the straight stitch for joining fabrics together.
One with automatic thread trimmer along with the lock stitch
Zig zag machine
Computerized lock stitch machine . It is super easy to use with many many features but they come with a price
Chain stitch sewing machine -used for stretchy stitches used in lingerie, knits etc.
Overlock sewing machine – this is what you call the serger among home machines
Button hole and button sewing machine.
What would I buy, if I could ? A mix of an industrial sewing machine and a home sewing machine. This is the best option for any passionate home sewist if everything is in alignment – space, money, time and effort. What would you do?
Related posts : If the problem you are facing with your home sewing machine can be remedied with simple repair, follow the steps given in this post – Easy sewing machine repair