I've been making custom bags, purses and totes out of heavy cloth fabrics for the last several years and have been struggling with my two home sewing machines (Brother CS6000i and Janome HD3000). I want to upgrade to an industrial sewing machine but am a bit overwhelmed by the range of choices available. I'm looking for advice on what type or types of machines and needle systems would be best suited for working with somewhat bulky, home decor and upholstery fabrics.
Where my current machines struggle is when I sew bag straps over 7/16" thickness, gussets, and top-stitching smaller bag openings. I use a wide variety of fabrics. Most of my work today on my home sewing machines is done with #14-16 needles. I'm frequently breaking needles, and I suspect this is because the machines just aren't big enough to wrestle all the fabric through, things drag and the needle snaps. For some projects I probably need to go to a bigger needle, but #16 is the largest my machines supports.
I think a cylinder arm sewing machine may be helpful but I have no experience with one and most of the advice I've found online about cylinder arm machines is related to leather. Plus many of the cylinder arm machines I've come across use needle systems designed for leather and not upholstery fabric.
Some sewing machines I've come across that look like they may work for me are:
- Atlas AT335 (DPx17, 135x17 needle)
- Cobra Class 26 (DPx17, 135x17 needle)
Any feedback or advice would be appreciated!
Below are some examples of the types of projects my machines struggle with: