heavy duty vintage singer

Old 06-02-2022, 04:24 AM
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Location: Edgewood TX
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Question heavy duty vintage singer

anyone have any suggestions for a heavy duty singer that will handle the heavier threads for bag making and
sewing canvas My current machines do not handle the heavier threads
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Old 06-02-2022, 08:39 AM
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Would this be for periodic work on such materials, or day to day? Household machines aren't really designed for day to day work on heavy materials. The question comes up a lot with sewing leather. That being said, it doesn't mean they can't handle it. You have to have the proper thread and needle, and I think the power of the motor can be a factor.

I would think you could try a 66, 15, or 201. Personally, I would try a 66 because they're easy to work on, and I could swap out the Singer motor for a more powerful aftermarket motor if it seemed necessary. I would also consider 50s and 60s era Japanese machines, as long as they're all metal. You could try a 15 clone or a basic ZZ machine, and they usually have higher amp motors.

Where I live 66s and 15s are pretty easy to find, 201s less so. And Japanese ZZ or straight stitch machines are available all the time.

The heaviest material I've sewn is denim; I did have a lady by a 66 from me after she test sewed through 6 layers of it, and the machine didn't even blink. I also had another guy buy a 15 clone after he test sewed a heavier vinyl material he worked with.

I'm sure others will have opinions on this.
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Old 06-03-2022, 12:01 PM
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If it's going to be for day to day use making bags as in a commercial endeavor, I'd look for an industrial machine rather than a home machine. There are disadvantages to the industrial machines, but I think that's what you'd need for a day to day operation.
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Old 06-04-2022, 10:14 PM
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The 15-91 is considered by many to be the most "heavy-duty" of Singer's domestic machines. It and the 201 were sort favourites of tailors and dressmakers. That said, these are not industrial machines by any stretch of the imagination though, nor were they intended to sew heavy canvas or nylon webbing on a regular basis.

For heavy sewing with heavy threads you may well need an industrial.

If this is a commercial enterprise, you may well find that any domestic machine you try, including a vintage such as a 15-91 will need so much fiddling with that it's just not worth the effort.

Last edited by 1.41; 06-04-2022 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 06-05-2022, 03:06 AM
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Location: columbia , MO
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I have a 201. They are cheaper than a featherweight and weigh a ton. I have no problem doing bags on it. I burnt out a motor on a pfaff doing heavier bags.
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Old 06-06-2022, 01:36 PM
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If you're going to be doing a lot of bags I would invest in something like a 111W155 compound feed machine. They are big though....
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Old 06-08-2022, 07:57 AM
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The little domestic motors were not designed for heavy repeated work.. Industrials were.
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Old 06-08-2022, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by leonf

The little domestic motors were not designed for heavy repeated work.. Industrials were.

Couldn't agree more.

One other thing that I should have added. The 15-91 and the 201 which are the sort of "commercial" grade Singer domestics have internal motors. These are not available new any longer. If one of those motors is worn out, the machine is unusable unless one finds another used motor. And when one is talking about a machine say from the 1950's, a used motor will also date to the 1950's.

Domestic machines with externally mounted motors, such as the one shown by leonf are easily available new. So when one of these motors wears out, at least they're replaceable.

FWIW: my mother did some commercial sewing on a Juki domestic machine from the 1950's. The machine was built like a tank. It didn't take long for her to realize that the machine simply wasn't up to the task and she started sewing on a Singer industrial. After she started using an industrial, she never went back to using a domestic machine for any sewing task.
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