Posts Tagged Industrial Sewing Machine

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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What is a Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Are you using the correct sewing machine for your needs? Are you trying to jam 1/4″ thick canvas under your old household sewing machine? Are you surprised your results are average at best? Choosing the right sewing machine for heavy duty applications will save you time and money. One of the hidden gems in the sewing machine industry are walking foot sewing machines. These industrial strength machines can power through many layers of thick fabric. Over the years, these sewing machines have also come down in price. That is a win-win for sewing machine enthusiasts and businesses around the world. Here is a photo of a walking foot sewing machine:

Walking Foot Sewing Machine

There are so many great advantages when you are using a walking foot sewing machine. One of them being the Higher Foot Lift. This is great if you are sewing real thick materials. Just being able to stick that extra 1-2mm of material under the presser foot can be a lifesaver. Here is a great picture that shows just how high the presser foot lift is on a walking foot sewing machine:

Walking Foot Machine Presser Foot Height

Another huge reason to look into getting your own walking foot sewing machine is the actual built in walking foot. This is the biggest advantage and difference when comparing to your regular household machine. This built in walking foot evenly feeds your material as it pulls your fabric from the top of the material. It works with your feed dogs which pull the bottom of the thick fabric for dual even feeding! Don’t be fooled by walking foot attachments. This machine has a built in, powerful walking foot.

Another advantage of a walking foot sewing machine is it’s like a mini full size industrial sewing machine. The motor is attached to the back of the machine-giving you the ability to lug the machine anywhere you want around your house or business. By the way, thousands of sailor take their machine on their boat with them. You can simply grip your machine from the middle housing and take it with you. The machine is about 35 pounds, so expect a little workout.

These walking foot machines are also extremely durable. They are built out of all cast iron and all the parts are completely metal. These parts will last you many, many years. It’s so important to buy quality, heavy duty parts- not cheap plastic gears and parts. These walking foot machines are made to last-period.

Walking foot machines aren’t usually sold in your neighborhood sewing and vacuum retail outlet. You’ll have to most likely purchase this style machine on the internet. Just make sure you at least get a 1 year parts warranty. That is about standard. Best of luck to you and all your sewing projects!

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How to Sew Curtains and Thick Material by HDSew

So you have decided to sew/make your own curtains for your home? Perhaps it’s a bit cold in the winter- so you decided to get some really thick material. Perhaps this thick material you purchased might be giving your standard home sewing machine some trouble. This article will walk you through all the steps that you are going to have to tackle to finish your project. The good news is, sewing curtains involves straight stitch sewing only. This is a great project if you are a beginner/intermediate in regards to sewing experience.

Step 1: Make sure and measure the window, but more importantly, the actual measurements of where you want your curtain to cover. For example, some people like their curtains to lay all the way to the floor, while others prefer the curtains to hang vertically only to the bottom of the window.

Step 2: Take these measurements to your favorite fabric store.

Step 3: If you haven’t selected your fabric, make sure and ask your fabric salesperson to teach you about grain-line and naps before selecting your curtain color. Make sure and give them your measurements, so they can sell you the proper amount of fabric.

Step 4: Make sure and use a rotary cutter when measuring/cutting your curtain material. A rotary cutter will keep all your cuts even. You’ll see the benefit in the end result.

Step 5: Sometimes measuring/cutting can be a bit frustrating. Make sure and cool off before you start to sew.

Step 6: There are a lot of do-it-yourself patterns out there. We recommend this if you are new to sewing. You won’t be confused by industry words.

Step 7: When sewing heavy duty curtains (or any thick material), we recommend using a HDSew PortaWalker Walking Foot Sewing Machine. This machine has a built in walking foot, which grabs the thick material from the top and bottom- giving you even feeding throughout the sewing process.

The Portawalker is also capable of using Industrial Grade Needles, which is important when sewing thick curtain material. These needles are much more efficient at penetrating your thick fabrics- than domestic sewing machine needles.

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How to Thread your HDSew PortaWalker Industrial Walking Foot Sewing Machine

Congratulations on your recent purchase of an HDSew PortaWalker sewing machine. Whether you purchased the 7″ or 9″ model, the steps to threading your sewing machine remain the same. First thing you should notice when you received your machine was that is was completely stitched in and ready to sew. However, the time has probably come for you to take the plunge and thread your machine by yourself.

HDSew PortaWalker

Here are the steps:
Step 1: Take the thread off the bobbin spindle.

Step 2: Wrap the thread around the front thread guide. This guide sits on the top of the machine, left hand side, on the corner near the two screw holes.

Step 3: Now take the thread into the right hole in the 3 Hole Thread Guide. This is directly underneath the front thread guide. Bring the thread back up above this 3 Hole Thread Guide and then insert it down the left hole. Both insertions should be down into these two holes.

Step 4: Make sure the presser foot is “up”. This is the black assembly on the upper left hand side of the machine.

Step 5: Take the thread from the 3 Hole Thread Guide straight down again…and into the tension disc area. Take the thread in between the two metal tension discs. There is one tension disc with a tounge on it and you want to place the thread right in front of this disc. You want to be going from right to left on this step. The thread should pull up the the spring and it should click.

Step 6: Next bring the thread upwards into the take up bar. Make sure this bar is in a good place and insert the thread from right to left. Then bring your thread down towards the needle assembly and snip the end of your thread with a pair of scissors.

Step 7: Next thread the needle mechanism guide from right to left. This thread guide is right above your needle.

Step 8: Drop your presser foot down for convenience and thread your needle from left to right only. Now you can bring your presser foot back up, turn the handwheel one full turn counter clockwise. This will pick up your thread and you are ready to sew!

For more information regarding the HDSew PortaWalker Industrial Walking Foot Portable Sewing Machine, please click here:

HDSew PortaWalker

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How to Sew Leather by HDSew

Sewing leather is a fine art. It can be very different to cover up any mistakes or blemishes. Many folks ask us “how do we sew leather?”

Here are some ideas:

1. Do not pin leather. You’ll need to purchase some pattern weights. These special weights locks your material down, just like a pin would.

2. Make sure and cut your leather with a sharp rotary cutter or a new pair of scissors. Rotary cutter is the best.

3. Examine your leather before you purchase and create your pattern. What happens if you get home and there is a small hole or imperfection in the quality of the leather. You won’t be able to sell your new leather purse if there is a rip in the side. Remember imperfections are normal…the hide was once living on an animal. Just make sure there isn’t severe imperfections.

4. Are you using the correct heavy duty sewing machine? For thick layers of leather (4.5 to 8mm) you should not be using a standard domestic sewing machine. You will not be able to properly sew on your leather at that width. You should use an industrial walking foot sewing machine such as the HDSew PortaWalker 9″ Walking Foot Sewing Machine. You’ll need to use a machine like this because the built in walking foot and the geared belt pulley system. These two features give you ultimate feeding power and penetration.

5. If you decide on the PortaWalker Sewing Machine, make sure and use a need size at 20 or larger. A domestic sewing machine can only take up to size 19 needle. Without a built in walking foot and geared belt pulley, a domestic sewing machine will only handle roughly 4mm of soft leather.

6. make sure and use the correct thread. If you spend the money on a high quality machine, leather, and needle…you might as well use the correct thread. Purchase nylon weighted thread, not cotton. It’s much stronger.

7. Make sure you use a sharp needle to properly penetrate your leather. This is very important for coarse leather. This will help you not skip stitches as well.

If you have any more questions on sewing thick leather, feel free and email HDSew and we will get back to your with specific help for your need. Our website can be found here HDSew

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Should I Purchase a Walking Foot Sewing Machine by HDSew

Are household sewing machines giving you problems? Maybe you attempting to sew 5mm of leather products – and you just keep skipping stitches and breaking needles. Don’t worry the problem is not you! You are just using a sewing machined not equipped to sew such a project. Many of our customers are sewing for business or income purposes. You really have to use the right tools for each sewing application. Check the gears and the assembly of your sewing machine- if you see any plastic assemblys or gears- it’s not you- it’s definitely your sewing machine.

Maybe you asked a friend or researched the internet…but you need a heavy duty sewing machine- a machine with all metal gears and internal parts. Next thing you should ask yourself is “what type of material am I sewing, how coarse is the material, and how many mm of thickess am I trying to sew?” These are the most important things to know when you pick out your next sewing machine.

For example, if you know that you are only going to sew 3mm thickness of lets say-denim material. You’ll need a heavy duty household sewing machine such as the HDSew PowerQuilter or HDSew PowerZigZag. These two machines will completely handle this application. But let’s say sometimes you have projects like canvas or leather materials up to 5-6mm in thickness. You will need the HDSew PortaWalker Walking Foot Sewing Machine. This portable industrial walking foot machine comes equipped with two very important mechanisms.

The first important mechanism is a built in walking foot. This two piece walking foot mechanism is composed of two sides- the inner side which holds down the fabric, and the outer side which helps feed the fabric through the sewing zone. The slippage is minimal due to the HD grips on the bottom of the walking foot. Your ultimate benefit in using this built in walking foot is even feeding and high quality stitches. The second important mechanism in our PortaWalker machine is a geared belt pulley system. Most sewing machines use a normal belt pulley system with no gears. When you use a geared system, you get ultimate penetration power so your needle doesn’t bend or break.

So just remember, if you are trying to sew 5-6mm thick you’ll need the HDSew PortaWalker sewing machine. The benefits you’ll receive from the built in walking foot mechanism and and the geared belt pulley will enable you to sew heavy duty projects for canvas, leather, boating materials, bags, camping equipment and much more. There is zero substitute for a built in walking foot. Normal household sewing machines don’t compare on any level. This is why it’s important to first ask yourself— “what type of material am I sewing, how thick in mm, and how coarse”. If you have any questions on which HDSew machine to purchase, please Email HDSew here.

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