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Jan 30, 2014

Buy an industrial sewing machine? Are you NUTS?



I started my Menswear Sewing class homework today.

I spent about an hour and a half over at FIT practicing on a Juki industrial.   This is what a typical classroom looks like.  Nice and bright.





The machine I used -- I'm not sure if they're all this model -- is the Juki DDL-5550N.  It's a straight-stitch industrial machine and it's super-powerful.  Professor B said (if I remember correctly) that they're built to run 24/7 for 14 years -- or something like that.







This is the pedal.



This is the knee lever that lifts the presser foot. (You push to the right)



This knob controls stitch length.



 I supplied my own presser foot, screw, bobbin, and bobbin case.



I found I was able to control the speed better when I had both feet on the pedal -- my right foot toward the top right and my left foot toward the lower left: a bit like my old treadle.  Yes, it will race if you're not careful, but it's not that hard to control the speed; it just takes practice.

My assignment was to fill three lined pages with perfectly stitched straight lines.  I think I did a pretty good job.  (I threw away a fair number of pages too, don't get me wrong.)





Ta da!



I made a little movie so you can hear how it sounds.  (Forgive the sucky quality; I'm still using an old camera.)



Since I was there already and had brought along my newly purchased bobbin, bobbin case, and presser foot -- and had thread in my bag -- I decided to see if I could figure out how to wind a bobbin, load it, and start sewing.  I did!

The bobbin winder is totally intuitive.



The bobbin loads into the bobbin case exactly the way a Class 15 bobbin does on my Singer 15-91.  I had to ask someone else in the room to help me thread the needle as my eyes were tired.  Good thing I did: I had been trying to thread the needle right to left instead of left to right!





The stitches looked great.  (Better than my Bernina 930 or  Singer 201?  Not really.  But SO STRONG.)



I really like this machine.  A lot.

Poking around online, I see that it goes for less than $1000, table included.  Here's one on eBay with the Servo motor which, as I understand it, is much quieter than the regular (cheaper) motor.  On Craigslist, I found someone selling a different model, the DDL=8700, which Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics reviewed here.  It also sounds awfully nice.

I must confess that my apartment is closer to FIT than my freshman dorm was to my college eating hall, so it's not a big deal getting over there to sew.  Still, wouldn't it be nice to have my own?  What do you think?  (And where would I put it?)

Is an industrial worth the cost? 

For garment sewing, I think they're ideal, but it should be said that with this model, you can't even reinforce a jeans pocket with a satin stitch -- it's strictly a straight-stitch machine.

Anybody own/use one aleady?  Do you like it?

What do you use it for mainly?

Have a great day, everybody!

80 comments:

  1. This is just what I asked for in yesterday's comment. Thanks so much for the inside view and all the info. I can always count on good stuff from you.

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  2. Now I don't want to say I told you so..... but I did predict this particular post. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself :)

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    1. I'm afraid to ask what you think my next post will be. LOL

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    2. Next post: "My new Juki industrial machine: review and 1st impressions!" ... or better yet "You guys, I just found brand new Juki in a dumpster!!"

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    3. I DID once find an industrial in my building's trash (maybe two years ago) but I left it there. I'm serious.

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  3. It's interesting. I've had other sewists say I should get one. My dealer said I don't really need one unless I am sewing 24/7. As you said, they are built to be running for a factory. So that leads me to wonder what features does it have that my machine wouldn't? I'll be curious to hear from the folks who have one.

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    1. I have a vintage 1928 Willcox & Gibbs and use it as my main machine. An industrial has fewer features than a home machine, all it will do is a straight stitch and nothing else, it won't even go in reverse. That said, what it do it does exceedingly well, which is to run reliably at high speed; home machines run at about 800 stitches per minute and an industrial runs at 3,000. With an you can use both hands to control the fabric because the foot treadle powers the machine and the knee control raises the presser foot. Also Peter is correct in that a servo motor is quieter than a clutch motor (mine has a clutch). The more powerful motors allow the feed dogs really grip and the machines can sew anything from the finest chiffon to the thickest wool. The down side of course is that they need to be set up permanently. Ironically, feet for industrial machines are really inexpensive - but the needles are not. I love love love all that power, I have to say.

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  4. It's much quieter than I thought it would be. Like Jane, I'm not sure what the advantage is to having one here, esp. since you get better stitches with the machines you already own. Just think of all the gorgeous fabric you could buy instead!

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    1. I don't know about better. I have heard people say they think the stitch quality of an industrial is superior to that of a home machine. But I think it depends on which home machine you're comparing it to.

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    2. Hi, I know i'm barging in on this exchange, but thought I could add some relevant info to what you have both said. I have worked with both industrials and domestic machines every day of my working career. A Juki is a very good make. BUt as you said it doesn't do any thing other that a straight stitch. I make costumes for the West end in London, so sort of know what I'm speaking of. I have a bernina industrial which does have the zigger stitches and that is really helpful. For factory style production line processes an industrial is invaluable. Because you will only be working one process repeatedly. There will be another machine set up some where else with another operative doing only button holes / satin stitch what ever. That doesn't work for a one man band! I use Bernina domestic machines and they work for me, with occasional trips to the industrial, especially for large quantities of things. The other problem with an industrial is the space they take up as well as the noise they make. The vibrate quite a lot, even the newer ones with quite motors and if you live in a flat may annoy your neighbours. I would stick with a good domestic for now. However this course and the ones you may take after it could well change the way you work and the way you think about and approach garment construction, so give it to the end of the course and see how you feel then!

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    3. The neighbors thing did occur to me. Thanks for mentioning it, Nora!

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    4. Peter, when you compare the stitch quality of an industrial machine to a home machine, make certain you are comparing apples to apples - straight stitch only to straight stitch only (or at least a straight stitch needle plate and presser foot on a zig-zag home machine). Nothing makes a better straight stitch than a straight stitch machine.

      An industrial machine can make just as crappy a looking straight stitch as a home machine. It's all in how the machine is set up for the particular thread, fabric, needle, presser foot, stitch application, sewing application and machine mechanics.

      I like the power, speed, larger harp and driving experience that an industrial offers, but it's offset by it's overall size, permanent set-up and limited sewing application. I have one, but it tends to be used more as a notions counter than a sewing machine. For 99% of my sewing I use a good quality domestic, even if it's just a simple straight stitch machine.

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  5. I have to wade in....I'm so excited for this series of posts. What a fabulous opportunity, and your classroom selfie, well, you look as if you are in your element. I'll be interested to read if you decide to expand your machine collection with one of these bad boys. Good luck with your classes!

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  6. For the kind of sewing you do and the machines you already have you don't really need one. What's nice is all the attachments available but other than that its a one trick pony. For a home sewer overkill and yes I've owned one before.

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  7. I have a sewing machine guy in town that told my daughter, that they were not the best route to go, and now for the life of me I can't remember why, BUT my daughter ended up getting another machine he recommended and was really happy with it, as it provided the same service. I think it had something to do with the upkeep of them and a host of other issues. My daughter worked with the industrial ones also in school, so she was really use to them, but later told me that he steered her in the right direction. I really trust this guy, he and his brother are like sewing machine whisperers. They know their stuff!

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  8. mwahhhhhhhh I have an industrial machine and there is no comparison. I have a needle fed machine and it is for sewing medium to heavy duty items. I use it for sewing gear stuff, topstitching heavy duty items like jeans, jean /canvas shirts, it sews leather too.I have not seen a home machine that can match it. I have a very nice TOL elna and a older pfaff both make ver y very nice stitches too. And I really am very fond of them and need my automatic buttonholes. However, my industrial doesn't EVER shorten the stitches, I can do absolutely perfect topstitching on the thickest of thick, use thick threads in the bobbin and yes the servo is the way to go I believe. I think the industrial machines also impart a certain tension to the stitches that I find many home machines don't have. My elna has some of that quality and that is why I love it.

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  9. Totally saw this line of thinking coming from a mile away! I have owned a straight stitch industrial with a servo. That one was not a Juki. But I also owned a Juki industrial walking foot with a servo (1540). Oh good lord, I do miss it. When I gave up the special kind of suffering which is owning a drapery workroom, I liquidated these machines. They were so great to have, but I needed to turn them back into money and floor space at that time. I sew 50% of the time on a Pfaff 130 in an antique butcherblock industrial table with an old industrial clutch motor and 50% of the time on a Juki F600 (computerized domestic). If I didn't have the Pfaff in the table I would be really jonesing for an industrial. But the Pfaff is so pretty and it can zigzag and use a twin needle.

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  10. I have a singer industrial machine, and it's incredibly fast but only sews straight stitch, so I only ever use it for curtains. I could live without it. If you get one, maybe ditch a couple of others to make room. It must be getting awfully squeezy in your apartment.

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  11. I don't get the whole 'bring your own foot' thing. It feels like saying 'we'll provide the computer but bring your own keyboard'.

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    1. Students lose them all the time or take them with them and you end up with a lab full of footless machines. Industrial ones are pretty cheap ($5) and so many kinds. You usually have to provide your own bobbin cases as well.

      At FIDM they just gave all these things to use as part of our supply tote but when I was at community college you had to buy your own.

      You'd be pretty pissed if you couldn't sew in class due to a missing foot. Think of it more akin to a thumb drive.

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    2. I'm sure it's because people would take them, or they'd get lost, so it was just easier to make people responsible for bringing their own. The two bobbins, bobbin case, and foot cost roughly $8.

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    3. I'm attending IADT and we also own our own foot, bobbin case and bobbins...as well as we provide our own needles after our first term. I actually prefer it as I don't have to HOPE the items are left from the last user so I can sew. I also bought back-ups for all the items so if something breaks, gets a knick, etc. I don't have to stop and can just grab my second set and keep on going.

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    4. I'm amazed you don't have to purchase needles too!

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  12. Wait until you work on an industrial serger before you get a straight stitch machine--you might benefit more from that, long term; I use my serger much more than my industrial SS, which is a Brother from the 50s and like a tank, makes a beautiful and fast stitch (through 3/8" or a little more of anything, including 8-10 layers of belting if needed) but I could get along without it if I had to....but the serger? Boy, I'd hate to part with that puppy. Light years over the home machines for stitches, speed, durability w/far more power than any domestic serger.

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    1. Excellent point about getting an industrial serger before getting an industrial straight stitch machine! If I did more serging, I would definitely get an industrial one. Most of my serging is simply finishing raw edges and then sewing the seams on a sewing machine.

      Unless one is needing to sew extremely thick and heavy items, or specialty fabrics like heavy leather and vinyl, a good quality domestic, with the appropriate accessories will meet most needs and produce quality work. And for the heavier work, a true walking foot and/or needle feed industrial machine is best.

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    2. Ditto the industrial serger idea. I've had one for about 20 years now. I keep my pfaff home serger set up for the occasional bout of rolled hems. But I use my four thread overlocker as they call it in the industry all the time. I love it.

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  13. I've been sewing on industrial machines at work for 10 years now. And only recently purchased a semi - professional sewing machine. Thats a fancy name for a heavier and stronger home sewing machine.
    I was torn between home and industrial sewing machine for so long.
    BUT
    When I studied to become a tailor, my professor told us something that has been stuck with me ever since -the machine you buy has to work back the money you spend on ot within a year.
    And I can tell you right away an industrial machine will always make a noise when its on.
    Even thou they are superior macines...I am still very happy with my Janome 1600P!
    Ouh and you will def need a contact of a mechanic that knows everything about industrial nachines if you would get one.
    I am also very happy to hear that even in the great USA teachers use stitching le paper as a tool to teach students how to stitch straight.

    :)

    Best of luck at your classes!

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    1. I've found the opposite. Since the industrials are made specifically to run thousands of hours without any care - they just never need care. A home machine seems to always need to be serviced. Things slip and get out of sync more often and its so frustrating to need to spend $70 a pop so the repair shop can get everything smoothed out again. The only industrial machine I ever had to have a mechanic out for was an very old, junked one I picked up from a sewing factory. I knew when I bought it that it might not be something that would keep its timing and it didn't. Now, getting that beast (industrial head/motor/table) up out of my basement and into the car to go to the repair shop - quite a favor to ask of my husband! Even just the head part is heavy and you have to drain the oil pan into a bucket before you can move it. They weren't meant to be taken to the repair shop - rather the repair person is in-house in industrial sewing factories.

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  14. I'm on the fence myself about purchasing an industrial. I'm just finishing up my first year at IADT in the fashion Design program and while I ADORE the Juki for heavier projects, I love the detail I can get from my home, all metal Pfaff. As long as I can find all metal, front load home machines, I think I'll stick with something a little more portable :-) If I ever get my own full-on studio, I would splurge for an industrial blind hem machine though! Wait till you get to play with that one, and the industrial serger :-)

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  15. About that left to right needle threading, is that specific to this machine and or industrial machines? I would love to have an industrial machine, but it is way out of the budget and space limitations at this time.

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    1. Industrial straight stitch machines are all threaded from left to right. Janome 1600 are also threaded from left to right. Some Brothers and Pfaffs too.

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  16. I figured you'd get the bug and want an industrial machine LOL. Michael is a very tolerant of your collection but honestly, where would you put it?

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  17. I have an industrial Singer that I bought from a suiting shop that was going out of business. Best $300 I ever spent. Yes, it's loud because I don't have one of the fancy, nearly silent servo motors, but you get used to it. Plus, most machines can be converted from a standard motor to a servo. The servo motor will give you better slow speed control, more akin to a home machine. The 1/3-1/2hp motor is a beast and darn hard to kill. It will live just about forever if you treat it right.
    My industrial has tonnes of power that will run over just about anything you can get under the foot, and screams along at 3,000 stitches a minute once you get used to it. And when you're working with non-clothing materials, power is a must. (think sail cloth, plastics, foams, etc., but that's what new needles are for)
    I would, however, recommend investing in an industrial with a walking foot. There's something very reassuring about knowing your fabric isn't going to slip when you're going full speed, and gives a nice added measure of control at all speeds.
    Like others have said, I think they're great for larger projects, heavy-weight projects, or putting in long hours. Just make sure that if you invest in one, it's the right one for you. Oh, and a tech that makes house calls is always nice, cause moving that head is not fun.

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  18. As an addict with a dozen machines, I have to admit that I wouldn't want to do without my Singer 591. There's no beating it when I want to sew FAST!! Home machines just can't cut it when you want to do volumne sewing. I don't have room, but I'd love an industrial serger. Sigh.

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  19. I have an industrial juki that looks almost identical to the one you showed. And I love it. A lot. I use it for everything I possibly can. If I have to use my home machine for anything non straight stitch (buttonhole, zigzag, etc) I basically treat it like a prison sentence...bide my time until I get off this weak little thing and get back on my juki!!! That bobbin spinner! That knee lift! Everything just what it needs to be... Sigh.
    That being said, I have kind of unique circumstances. I didn't buy this machine with my own money. I basically inherited it from my mom when she got a computerized Juki for herself (I always liked my old one better for the record) My mom has owned some kind of quilt or bedding business my whole life and therefore industrial was a necessity and Juki was the brand of choice. I also have a modestly sized dedicated sewing space so it's ok if it takes up some room. If I hadn't gotten this from my mom, I don't know if I would have bought one on my own. I'm incredibly cheap and I'm sure I could make do with a home machine. But I guarantee I'd be daydreaming about buying one nearly 24/7.
    Maybe finish out this class and then decide if you miss the machines enough to buy one for yourself. But you probably will, honestly :)

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  20. I do mostly decorator-type sewing, and an industrial Singer 20U, bought for $200 at a thrift store years ago, is my go-to machine. Although the stitch is not the most beautiful, it has a nice wide zig zag, and I recently discovered that a high-shank domestic buttonhole attachment works fine on it. I also have a collection of vintage machines, mostly Singers, but if I want to do a job without having to think about the machine, I use the old faithful industrial. It's always ready to sew (no setting up) and I love the knee lift! Having said that, I sometimes think a sturdy metal domestic machine would serve just as well on most fabrics and not take up so much space.

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    1. I have a 20U that I bought new in 1987. It is a work horse and I have used it mainly for my machine embroidered art. The wide zig zag is the reason for purchasing it. I do mostly clothing now and find that it still works as good as new. I don't have a problem with the quality of the stitching if I keep the tension correct and apply the right presser foot tension for the fabric I am sewing on. I have other machines but what I like best about the industrial, besides the big flat table is that the feed is more even and doesn't bounce up and down like portable machines. These machines are sold to 3rd world countries where they use treadles to power them. I recommend an industrial.

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  21. I use an industrial machine for hemming or adjusting jeans and that's it. Any other item of clothing would be too much trouble because of the need for zigzag. I like to keep my bobbins neat and not have to load two bobbins for two machinea to do one garment.

    Love the post and all you are sharing. Very informative.

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  22. I think you don't need to buy industrial sewing machine. You already have super precise machines of Singer, Those are not inferior to JUKI 5550n in stitch quality, It is just different in the speed, Current domestic max 800-1000/min, Industrial max 5000-6000/min.
    Each industrial sewing machine is designed for mass production in factory, 5550n is made for medium to thick fabric that is not for thin or other textiles.
    I recommend JUKI TL98, TL2000, TL2010, if you are not content with your classic singer machine's speed. These straight stitch machines are high speed: max1500/min more than domestic ones but compact like that. This type is quite popular in Japan, which is designed for commercial use of independent fashion designer or small studio couture. Japanese Fashion School Students necessarily buy this kind of sewing machines at the time of enrollment. Bobbin case, Bobbin, Needles and feet are same with industrial machines. Janome 1600P is in this category someone recommended, this machine should be recommended as well.
    Anyway, Thanks for your interesting report, I always enjoy MPB Blog. From a sewing machine freak in Japan. Happy Sewing!!

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  23. My go-to machine is a Singer 206 and mine is set up in an industrial table with an industrial motor. However my favourite part is the knee lift presser foot, they are absolutely fabulous, particularly for things like complicated applique were you need both hands controlling the work and directional changes.

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    1. Actually, my Bernina 930 has one of those and I've never really gotten comfortable with it (I used to have a Pfaff that was powered by a knee lever, so it gets confusing).

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  24. Great post, it takes me back to when I attended college! I love industrial machines, so quick and oddly I find the sound they make relaxing! I would love to own one and I do keep eyeing them up. I have been told you can get 'baby' industrials basically smaller models but I've had a hard time coming across these. Although I think they maybe what the anonymous comment above is referring to?? On a side note my friend owns an industrial (her dad has a sewing factory) and you can apparently turn the motor speed down so they don't run as fast as they would in a factory but it's still fast compared with a home sewing machine.

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  25. All rationality and prohibitive cost aside, the bottom line is you want one. I know the feeling, I've been fascinated by industrial machines for years, and still am.
    The way I see it is that you've treated yourself to the exciting journey of learning how to use it. So while you're taking classes at FIT, you'll use one all the time.

    So at some point, when you're as comfortable using one as you are with your domestic machines, you'll know whether you should get an industrial.

    Time will tell, and you won't have any regrets or doubts regarding your decision.


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  26. Peter, I think you went to FIT to learn technique and gain experience. Be true to that, its easy to buy a new machine but you wont sew any better with it. A skilled person can sew on any of the machines you have now. I understand the attraction all too well, I am like you if I sat in that class and sewed on that machine and like it, I would think of buying one.

    I am an amateur photographer, no matter how many cameras I buy or gadgets I pic up on ebay help me too get to the next level. Only practice, and training have improved move photography.

    Its the same with your sewing, I owned a tailoring business for many years, had two tailors and an assistant. We had two industrial machines, a blind stitch and an over lock (serger). In my opioion an industrial machine is all about build quality, look under the table at the motor and compare that to a domestic machine. Up you Game ! Learn the skill Get to the next level. If a industrial machine turns you on get one, but remember you wont sew any better on it that you do now. Michael D

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  27. I'd love to have an industrial with a servo motor. They're quiet, the speed can be adjusted, and the feet are much cheaper and more solidly built than those for home machines.

    I've taken this class. When asked at the end what machine students should buy, he recommended an industrial or an older model metal Singer. This is a Continuing Ed class with nonprofessionals. I think every full-time Menswear student I know has an industrial.

    TLDR: Industrials are not essential, but very nice to have, with a wide range of well-priced special feet.

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  29. I only ever used an industrial in school, but if I ever have enough room I will for sure consider one. So happy you like your class! I am pretty sure you can find some dealers in the garment district for used machines.

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  30. I have the Juki 1181N industrial machine, which sounds like a walking foot version of your classroom machine (you can see my review at PatternReview.com). The machine has a large oil reservoir --and, considering that you are an apartment dweller, this could be an issue--the machine will have to stay out permanently. You can't just squirrel these machines away until you're ready for them. I do a lot of upholstery and the machine is a godsend for this--I don't use it much for garments.

    If you do go for it, pay extra for the servo motor. I have a clutch motor and it's more difficult to use.

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  31. Craigslist has some juki online right now in Jersey. I just saw them in my daily vintage machine search. I can stop anytime. http://newjersey.craigslist.org/bfs/4283508053.html

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  32. I own a Juki DDL 5550N, bought it new for $750 and I love it. I also have a Bernina 930 and an Artista 180. I think they all have there place. Bernina stitch quality is great, but something about the industrial stitch qualify I love!!

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  33. I have no opinion on the matter of whether or not to buy one. I just would like to say, your homework looks great and you look so happy. Continue the posts because it really is fun to go along with you on this journey!

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  34. I used one of these during my clothing design school. Yes, you are supposed to use the pedal with both feet, that's why it's so big. If you want one of these, it needs to be well oiled at all times (as someone to show you, it practicly swims in oil). When it comes to the quality of straight stitch, in my opinion it beats the hell out of my Eva. It's noisy, it's fast, it has enough horsepower to drive that needle through your arm, but my god the stitch is awesome! It's not that good on thin fabrics, thou. A school friend of mine had to use one to sew a piece of thin silk and ended up having to scoop the fabric out of the machine several times as it kept "swallowing" the fabric into the bobbin case. These machines are the big boys on the playground.

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    1. When sewing finer fabrics on an industrial machine, place fabric in between two layers of tracing paper.

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  35. I have a Janome 1600P (home industrial) straight stitch only machine. I love it!!! That's as far as I'll go for now. My friend has an industrial like the one you are using and it is awesome....a little intimidating at first.

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  36. I have an Singer 20U and I think its pretty great having an industrial machine. I got it on craigslist for $300. I love having the kneelift and table and how it is always ready to sew. I rent a separate sewing/art studio so the size isn't as much of an issue. If i had to keep it in my apartment I probably would get rid of it (or move).

    I still use a domestic machine for most of my zigzagging since its sort of a pain to switch the feet and plates out to change from straight to zigzag. If you ever have a project with lots of long straight seams having an industrial machine will make short work of it.

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  37. Will your circuits at home handle the power requirements of an Industrial machine. When I renovated my home I installed a dedicated 30amp circuit for the industrial machine I inherited from my mother. I will always remember as a kid the lights in the house dimming whenever she turned her machine on.

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  38. nada brahma - the world is sound
    For me, the sound of a Singer 201 is much nicer. And the slower, the better, I use it with a hand crank attachment. Enjoy every stitch...
    Best regards
    Jens

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  39. I have one that my dad fished out of the trash for me many years ago. I got a table and motor for it, but it is (unsurprisingly) a little wonky, and occasionally skips stitches for unknown reasons. It has zig zag, though, so I use it for that. I also used it to make a quilt once. With all the stitching involved, it was nice to have the speed.

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  40. I work in the apparel industry and I love industrial machines. My personal preference for home sewing would be my home machine because of the variety of stitches. However, I would prefer and industrial 5 thread serger! They are so much faster and the 5 thread puts in the chain stitch as opposed to my home 4 thread that I have reinforce with a straight stitch.

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  41. Do all industrials have an oil reservoir that must be filled or emptied or maintained in some way? I think I heard that. Or am I thinking of something else? If so, that would definitely make it a non starter for me anyway. claudia w

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    1. No, not all do. i have an industrial Pfaff zig that does not have an oil pan, so it must be manually oiled.

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  42. I highly recomend you look at and test the Juki 9000. If you want to go the industrial route go all the way and try out a machine with all the bells and whistles. Auto backtack saves a crazy amount of time. Same with the auto trim feature. When you reach the end of your seam with a simple heal down motion the machine will backtack, trim your thread, and lift the foot. I can piece a baby quilt together in30 min. I have been really impressed with the Juki machines er run them for 8 to 10 hrs a day and in 11 yrs not one has been deemed unrepairable.

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  43. Maybe you could start entering the side of FIT where the dumpsters are, and with your awesome luck at curbside treasures, find yourself a nice industrial machine!
    Happy hunting...

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  44. I use one nearly everyday on my fashion course at college, and now I've had lots of practise on it I feel like I can't get up to speed on a domestic! There's no doubt it takes time to get used to it (it would have taken me a long time to stitch along those lines straight!) but now i prefer it!

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  45. I couldn't imagine not sewing with an industrial, but it depends on your space and requirements. If you plan to have one in an apartment the downsides are: they take up space, they are heavy to move, they should be levelled, a servo motor is quiet but there is noise and vibration when they are running, and you will need to have them serviced by a professional. The pros to using one are all repeats of previous positive comments!

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  46. Although I don't need an industrial machine, you could set it up along with the other machines for different purposes. I usually set up both of my machines. Don't you make a lot of pants and shirts?

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  47. My dad has an industrial Juki with its own table that he uses for upholstery such as car seats and boat tops. (He also lives in a house with a basement- you'd have to think long and hard before giving up precious space in an NYC apartment!) One time the Juki wasn't working for some reason so he tried using an antique treadle machine for upholstery and he said that it worked surprisingly well.

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  48. I learned to sew while taking a pattern design class in night school at Mass Art. The class machines were Juki industrials, which worked very well after some practice. Normally I am a bit of a sucker for buying the more industrial version of a tool or piece of equipment, but I feel like the industrial sewing machine is just not a great fit for me. I spend far more time on a project making the pattern, fitting, and doing details. The time spent stitching seams is relatively little, so I don't feel at all constrained by the speed of my treadle Wheeler and Wilson D-9, which runs even a little slower than the max speed of the 1980's Kenmore I used to use.

    If I were running a business where I needed to put in zillions of stitches, industrial would clearly be the way to go. Like curtains, upholstery, or a garment making shop.

    How many stitches do I put in at max speed every year? Possibly 100K. This works out to about 2.5 hrs of stitching on my treadle machine. If I had an electric industrial, maybe I would save myself 2 hours of time per year. Doesn't seem worth it. But Peter, you sew at least 100x more than I do, so I could see if working for you.

    I must admit I have dreams of building a butcher block table with an antique Wilcox & Gibbs industrial straight stitcher mortised in to the top, powered by bicycle pedals under the table. If only I had some more room!

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  49. I have sewn on an industrial Juki since I was in school over 30 years ago. I don't need it for the speed. I prefer sewing on it because it is hands free with the knee lift presser foot. I can be more accurate. I do have an industrial buttonholer for it. Looks like the old fashion ones Singer had on it's home sewing machines.
    I also have lots of feet for this machine, especialling binding folders, edge feet and tube feet. This machine doesn't sew a zigzag, but I have never had a need for them except bar tacks or button holes.
    The best thing about the industrial machine is the room to the right of the needle and because you have this extra room the needle is in front of you when you sew. Old cabinet machines made you lean to the left as you sew.
    I did recently try a new 600 Juki, to go with my other home machines. I thought a newer home machine with all the bells a whistles would be great. I haven't been successful sewing with it though, the needle drags my fabric down into the hole when I straight stitch. Makes nice buttonholes.

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  50. I think I see an industrial in your future. ;)

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  51. I have a vintage industrial Singer from the 60's, and got it for an awesome price! If you just keep your eyes open in your area, you might find a used one at a great price. It's worth it!

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  52. Aloha from Josie,
    Hi Peter,
    I am not sure you ever read this. Here is my two cents. I have two industrial sewing machines. One is a Juki ddl 555 and a bernina 840 semi industrial with zig zag, and other features. I used other machines too. Like any machines, there is pro and cons from home and industrial sewing machines.
    I love my industrial machines. I sew as a hobby, and for charity. And yes, it is an addiction.
    A sew every day. I am practical. I sew everything with a purpose.
    Things to consider: space, noise, and most of all how heavy. Each machine is about 120-150 lb, require more space. Benefits: sewing fast, hassle free, perfect stitches. And, yes most machines have a reverse.



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  53. Just want to say thank you for writing this post Peter and also to all the informative comments from fellow readers. It's been fascinating reading the different opinions on industrials! I keep meaning to get the bobbin case and foot to use the FIT machines, I think I might have to now.

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  54. Peter I have an old OLD Singer industrial circa 1911-1920. This thing will sew through 6 layers of thick leather no problem. Try to sew cotton forget it. My family has had it for years mom got it for wages her boss couldn't pay. The head of the machine weighs 65 pounds, we don't move it often. While yes it makes a beautiful stitch, as I read on craigslist...if you want to sew backwards, turn your fabric around. That being said with your skills, sewing heavy coating, denim, or canvas for bags etc a heavy industrial would be good. I wish I could use my old girl more often. Here on the west coast you can find the old industrial machines for under $500 frequently.

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  55. don't do it - your just on a crazy high. industrial machines are at home in a manufacturing facility. OR wait for some time and then see what you think....

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  56. I think it depends on how often you sew and what type of machine you already have. Older vintage machines tend to have a lot of metal in them and can handle pretty heavy use, and are more versatile than industrial. Brand new sewing machines.....forget it. Industrial is necessary if you are trying to manufacture your own designs (so sewing 4-5 days a week), due to it's speed and durability. To me old vintage machines are like a cross between a new machine made today and an industrial machine.

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  57. Interesting reading all the comments about using an industrial sewing machine, my view is the reverse, I’ve used industrial machines for donkey’s years but now 79 and living in a second floor flat I can no longer lift the machine to take it for servicing plus it takes up space so I gave it to a scrap merchant and bought a domestic that I was assured would stitch heavy fabrics.
    But my goodness what a pain in the butt it is to use. I could thread the needle of an industrial blindfolded. Now with the needle hole facing instead of sideways you need the fingers of a child to grip the cotton. The foot I could lift with my knee, now I have to search with two fingers, the pedal I’m used resting both feet and had complete control, now the small pedal keeps moving around and I have to be careful when I lift my foot on to the pedal I don’t come down too heavy.
    In hindsight I should have first had trial using a domestic. I would never have bought it.

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