Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Has anyone bought a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine?

(12 Posts)
GGumteenth Sun 24-May-20 09:29:54

If so which did you go for and what did you look for? Thanks for any information.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sun 24-May-20 09:46:28

I'm not really sure what you mean by 'heavy duty' GGum - do you mean one that just does ordinary sewing rather than having lots of 'bells and whistles'?

I bought a Janome New Home at John Lewis ages ago and I've almost battered it to death with dressmaking and quilting over the years. It's stood up quite well. The assistant said that if you're an enthusiast it's best to go 'one model up' on what you thought you wanted as you'd get more use out of it. The model I have was about to be replaced by one with a 'touch screen' for switching between different stitches, instead of turning a knob.

She added that if I was going to sew miles and miles of something like curtains I'd simply wear it out as modern machines were nowhere near as hard wearing or robust as the older ones.

Callistemon Sun 24-May-20 10:12:29

It depends what you wan o make.

One sewing machine I had, which was my MIL's, was a Jones and what you'd call heavy duty, but it was so heavy to lift up and down from the table I rarely used it. I freecycled it and it was snapped up by someone who wanted to start a small sewing business.

My old Singer was quite heavy and I made clothes, curtains etc on it. Now I have a Brother, very much more lightweight but it tackled curtains without a problem.
This is two models up to what I originally planned to buy (a good saleswoman) but haven't tackled quilting yet, although it came with a kit.

I went to a specialist store with a huge range of machines but I think JL are good too.

sf101 Sun 24-May-20 10:16:24

Toyota Jeans Machine is a very good strong machine that will go through most things with ease.

GGumteenth Sun 24-May-20 12:32:39

Thank you all for your comments. I think the Jeans Machine was designed to be heavy-duty. Unfortunately, I have tried it and I'm afraid I didn't like it, but I know some people swear by it.

Originally I thought I would be looking at the ones that cross between domestic and industrial but the very HD ones seem to be designed to do a lot of leatherwork but I can't see me going in that direction. Added to that they are a whole new learning curve.

The two I am currently looking at are the Janome HD2200 and the Elna eXperience 540S. Has anyone used either of these? They both seem to work with rotary rather than oscillating bobbins which seems to be better, when using fewer stitches, at keeping the noise down. They have fewer stitches and go through layers of seams, etc., easily. Of course, I can't get out to road-test one so I am picking your brains grin

HD machines are generally metal inside rather than plastic (so heavier). I have a machine that does have multiple stitches but I use very few of them. I may in the future but currently, I need a workhorse rather than the bells and whistle type.

Callistemon Sun 24-May-20 12:40:24

I was going to buy a Janome but was persuaded by the excellent saleswoman to look at a Brother Innovis A150 which was more expensive but far superior, apparently, which I bought.

It depends what you want to do and perhaps you may need more expert advice.
I was full of intentions of learning to quilt but classes are closed for the time being and I haven't attempted to teach myself.

Bathsheba Sun 24-May-20 12:46:46

Are you on Facebook GGumteenth? Because there are lots and lots of sewing groups there which would be able to give you help. There's bound to be people who own the machines you mention and would be able to give you first hand advice.

I know a lot of people have an inbuilt aversion to Facebook, but there is a wealth of information and expertise to tap into on there.

Callistemon Sun 24-May-20 12:58:39

I should just say that, although I think my machine is good, I do find that threading it up is much more fiddly than it was with my old Singer machine.
If I use it a bit more then I expect I'll get used to it.

GGumteenth Sun 24-May-20 13:12:21

I'll have a look at the Brother Innovis A150 Callistemon. Do you find it goes through thick seams, etc? It is good to be able to talk to people who have used the machine. I will need it mainly for bags and soft furnishings.

Bathsheba, I am ashamed to say I am in many of them blush but I do find them good for learning. I think you just have to be careful with FB but find it really useful.

What do you like to sew Callistamon. I have recently moved and made the very small second bedroom my sewing room having decided this is my sewing decade. It's taken me a few years to decide what I want to concentrate on and it's really got to the "anything but quilts" point - although I like quilting by hand. I like bag making and soft furnishing which is what I want this for but would love to do a slightly more advanced dressmaking course - most are beginners.

Callistemon Fri 29-May-20 22:46:56

Sorry, I missed your questions, GGumpteenth

I haven't done much sewing at all with the machine; it was bought just before lockdown because my other machine gave up after many years' service.
The Brother seemed to deal with going through thick cotton curtain material plus a cotton lining and a blackout lining.

I haven't done much more as I was planning on doing a quilting course but that is not possible just yet.

I practised the embroidery stitches on odd bits of fabric and may tackle some small dresses for youngest DGD. However, I do like to see fabric before I buy too and don't have much of a stash.

I used to make a lot of clothes curtains etc but haven't done any for years, more smaller soft furnishings. Sorry not to be much more help.

GGumteenth Sun 31-May-20 09:42:05

I made my decision and bought another Brother. The local dealer gave me a very good deal. I have to admit to being very excited - he said it would probably arrive on Tuesday!

Callistemon Sun 31-May-20 09:56:56

I think I must get mine out again. Once it's out and set up I'll be fine, and it is so much lighter than my old one.

Happy sewing!