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I'm looking for a recommendation for either a new or second hand sewing machine, ideally that can sew heavy weight material such as leather as well as light weight materials. I don't think I need fancy stitching, just stiches for making bags and stuff sacks etc.
 

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Hello, Lora,

Recommending a sewing machine is a lot like recommending a car. I can show you what I have and what I have used, what the features are, but it may not suit you. Plus, my machine hasn't been made in 20 years.

Most machines today come with a bunch of fancy stitches whether you want them or not. Sales people will push you to get the most expensive model with all the features, be firm about your needs and go for one of the lower end models, maybe even a discontinued model they want to get rid of. They will all do a straight stitch and most will sew through leather when you have the appropriate needle in place.

So, what you want to do is ask to "test drive" the machines. Take samples of the materials you want to sew, sit down and play with the machine. They will have a bunch of flimsy samples to show you, but you want to try it with your leather and canvas scraps and see how it handles. Be sure the foot pedal and controls are comfortable for you.

Viking, Bernina, Janome, Brother, Pfaff, and Juki are all good brands. Personally I would stay away from Singer, but others like them.

With used machines you should also ask to test drive to confirm it is in working order. Ask when it was last serviced/cleaned. It is easy to check reviews online if you know the model number/name. If you are buying used from a repair shop ask what the warranty covers.

There is no such thing as a "school sewing machine", and you should avoid the fly-by-night operators who sell them out of the back of their trucks. They are just ordinary cheap sewing machines and despite the sales pitch there is often no warranty or service coverage with them.

Mother's Day is May 10, there will be a lot of sewing machine sales in the weeks leading up to that. Do some research and you may get a good deal on one.
 

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Hard to answer your question - budget? I know there are new sewing machines under $100. I don't know if they will last. I have a very old Singer that I love. I have been able to maintain it myself and get parts via internet as needed. However if I had to take to shop for service it would be several hundred $$. Also it is heavy (mostly metal, not plastic) and fits into a sewing desk so I don't have to get out and put away constantly. If it needs to be stored away most of the time then compact & light (therefore probably plastic) would be a consideration. Used would seem fine as long as you can test it before buying, due to cost of repairs if needed. I don't know what kind of warranty you would get new.... You will want variety of needles and threads for heavy and light materials, so check on availability of needles for that machine. If you constantly have to buy via internet there is the cost of shipping for that.
 

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It sounds like you may be considering making bags to sell. If that's the case, you will need an industrial straight stitch machine with reverse and a walking foot, possibly a free arm. Nothing else is going to sew multiple layers of leather and take the beating it has to take for production. For canvas bags, you will most likely also need an industrial serger to bind edges. And you will need training to work on industrial machines because they aren't like home style machines. They are no-frills machines which are generally task-specific, so you need to know exactly what you want your machine to do so you can make sure you get the features you need.

I owned a small bag business at one time, and did contract sewing for a bootmaker, where I worked with canvas, moosehide, and other materials. I owned and still own an industrial flatbed and industrial serger, and leased an open arm for my contract work.

A tune up and cleaning costs $130 at my dealer, for my residential machines, Just something to consider when buying a used machine. No idea what it would cost for my industrials. They are not portable and nearest service is a 5 hr drive, so I have to deal with them myself.
 

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Why don't you click on the link you included in your first post? I know I am not going to. Spam reported.
 

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