Behind The Seams

Ramblings of a sewing fanatic

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Location: Fashion Hell, Florida, United States

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Industrial Sewing Machines

Let's talk about industrials for a moment. There seems to be a misconception among home sewers that "industrial" means heavy duty. Not so. There are industrial machines for all different types of work. An industrial dressmaking head will no more sew heavy materials and be able to handle heavy nylon thread than whatever home machine you are working on. Nor will a machine intended to handle heavy materials work well if you are making a dress.

Let's compare:

This is an industrial zigzag - a Singer 20U-33. She used to be blue but she had a face lift last year. :-) I use her mainly for uniform work in my embroidery business (sewing on trims, tackle twill numbers, etc.). She also handles home dec projects very well (dust ruffles, draperies, pillows, etc.) and doesn't mind lightweight garment leathers. However, she does not like heavy work, nor does she like heavy thread. Believe me, I tried it *very carefully* last year and ended up breaking the hook.

This is an industrial walking foot machine - a Consew 206RB. She LOVES heavy work! She will sew through bulky layers of leather or awning canvas like a hot knife through butter. Heavy thread? No problem! I use her mainly for sewing heavy leathers but she will handle anything and everything from canvas on up. My friend Sandy uses the same machine in her upholstery business and my friend Sharon uses a similar model (the 226) to make tapestry purses and pressing boards.

What really peeves me are unscrupulous Ebay sellers who list plain old domestic machines as "industrial". Just because it looks like an iron horse doesn't make it industrial and if it is industrial doesn't mean it will handle heavy work. Do your homework - I cannot stress this enough! If you don't know someone who is knowledgeable about the model you are considering, a wealth of information can be found right here on the internet.

Here's a good one. This machine is being sold as an "industrial walking foot". Check out the sticker! ;-) It even uses "industrial thread"! You mean, like cone thread? Wow.

And look! The seller has cleverly disguised the "industrial walking foot" as a plain old zigzag foot. Read further and you'll find that the walking foot is "detachable" - a dead giveaway. Honestly, how do people keep a straight face when they are typing up these listings? Even worse, how do they sleep at night?

The seller says he has sold this machine for nearly $1000 new in the box but you, my dear Ebay buyer, can buy it for just over $100. My local dealer sells this budget-friendly home machine for $99.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to clarify this!

5:35 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Gigi - love your blog. I have seen those types of auctions on Ebay and just can't believe what I have seen! Will the Consew 206RB handle a triple velvet?

9:12 AM  
Blogger Gigi said...

Esther, the 206 can handle any heavy fabric you can get under the foot. I have sewn garment grade triple velvet quite easily with a walking foot on my Bernina. If you are using an upholstery grade the 206 (or another compound walking foot machine) would be idea. HTH!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Esther said...

Thanks! I am just researching some options for an industrial setting. I am thinking the attachment should work fine on our industrial Berninas.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Gorgeous Things said...

Thanks for a great tutorial Gigi. It's amazing what unscrupulous buyers will try to pull on unsuspecting customers. I envy your walking foot machine! I only have a Juki DDL straight stitch machine. I like to joke that I can make wadders in 1/3 the time! The one piece of tried and true advice I give to anyone looking for an industrial (and didn't I get this from you?) is find a reputable dealer in your area. This is equipment that I wouldn't want to fool around with.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Gorgeous Things said...

oops - I meant "sellers", not "buyers"

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

A recent discussion on the Yahoo group wefixit covered just this topic and frequently discusses current eBay sewing machine offerings.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Industrial machines. If you want a fisher price toy get a home sew machine , yes they do millions of stitches that you will never use or how to use half of them. I had a customer with a home sew machine that cost $1700. It broke the needle bar drive crank as it was made of plastic trying to hem some jeans. these machines run at maybe
700stitches per min. Whereas an industrial will run upto 5000 stitches per min.I chuckle (I'am sorry) when people mention a bernina Industrial. Bernina are primarily a home sew machine manufacturer and all they did was put a home sew machine in an Industrial table stand and motor.
Yes Industrial machines can only do one thing , but they do it very well and the costs are in some cases cheaper than home sew gimicky toys. I have been in the industrial machine world for some 35years both in the UK and Canada.
working with everything from lingerie,swimsiuts,shirts,fully fashion knitwear,underwear,skiwear the list goes on.
If you have any questions about industrial machinery please contact me.
and at the same time see some of the custom machines I have made in the sewing link on website with the above name only with www instead of ken@
Ken S

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just noticed you live in Florida
You may know of this company but I'll mention it anyway. Miami Sewing.They have a great web site of hundreds of used machines in pic format with prices
Kind Regards
Ken S./ Canada
PS. My intention last night was not to belittle anyone regarding Industrial machines/home machines
and hope not afence was taken.
Congratulations on Pres. Obama
Good for the US and the World I think.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

you have got a very nice blog ,i am having some new and used bobcat for sale check them out.

7:10 AM  

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