Posts Tagged Walking Foot 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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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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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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