Top 5 Reasons to Use a Heavy Duty Portable Sewing Machine


Is your household sewing machine giving you “fits” when you try to sew 2 or 3 layers of material? If so, don’t worry- you are not alone. There are limitations to every sewing machine. You must first understand your machines’ strengths and weaknesses before you try and sew 1/4″ of thick leather material. There are several types of sewing machines – household, handheld, walking foot, industrial, semi-industrial…and the list goes on. This post goes over the Top 5 Reasons to use your heavy duty portable sewing machine.


Walking Foot Sewing Machine



#5 Reason to Use a Heavy Duty Portable Sewing Machine: These machines use a larger needle. In fact, size 135×17. This type of needle penetrates thicker and coarser fabrics and materials. Your household sewing machine will not allow you to use such a needle. Expect to penetrate up to 1/4″-5/16″ thicknesses of medium weighted leather, canvas, denim, or other heavy weighted types of material. Most manufacturers of this style sewing machine include a pack of needles at no charge. Ask for size 22 for the heaviest of fabrics. There are other size needles available in the 135×17 type, usually 18 and 20. Below is a picture of the needle.

HDSew Portawalker Walking Foot and Needle


#4 Reason to Use a Heavy Duty Portable Sewing Machine: Portability. You won’t find a sewing machine that will sew this heavy and strong….unless you purchase a specific type of full sized industrial sewing machine. By the way, these full size industrial sewing machines will cost you over $1000 and you’ll never be able to move the machine around…since they need to be used in a table. The great thing about a portable heavy duty sewing machine is the fact that the motor is attached to the backside of the machine. You can grab this machine and move it around to your boat, your shed in the backyard, upstairs in your sewing nook…and the list goes on. By the way, these machines are usually priced around $500 and under. Take a look at the attached motor below (it’s black).

PortaWalker Geared Belt Pulley Drive and Motor


#3 Reason to Use a Heavy Duty Portable Sewing Machine: The Geared Belt Pulley Drive. Take a look at the picture either above. Do you see the belt how it’s cogged? Now go spend 30 seconds running downstairs and take a look at your household sewing machine’s belt. It’s smooth isn’t? Your household sewing machine is not designed to penetrate and sew heavy fabric. That’s why your belt is standard. When you are doing real heavy duty sewing (leather, vinyl, canvas, ect) you’ll need a cogged belt pulley system. This heavy duty sewing machine comes equipped with this…standard!


#2 Reason to Use a Heavy Duty Portable Sewing Machine: How about higher presser foot lift! If you want to sew 1/4″ thick…you gotta have the right amount of room under the presser foot to put all your material, right? Yes! Take a look at the picture below and you’ll see an image with a heavy duty portable sewing machine and it’s presser foot. Under the presser foot are 5 quarters. If you can get your material underneath the presser foot…this machine will sew it. As long as you didn’t pull out some frozen leather out of your backyard shed.



#1 Reason to Use a Heavy Duty Portable Sewing Machine: In dominating fashion..the #1 reason is…..The Built In Walking Foot Mechanism. As you can see in the image below…there are not only feed dogs that grip your material from the bottom…but a built-in motorized walking foot with grippers (top portion) that pulls heavy fabric through the sewing zone as you sew. Household sewing machines do not have this capability (98% of household machines). Do not be fooled by a sewing machine salesperson pitching a “walking foot attachment” for your household sewing machine. This is NOT the same. It’s not built in or motorized like the one in the picture above.


Click to learn more about heavy duty portable sewing machines.

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