Welcome back to Part 2 of Sewing Machines for Bag Making! This is where we take our basic knowledge of sewing machines, and work out which machine would suit you better with your bag making goals. I have outlined key considerations to think about and different questions to ask, in order to get you to a point where you can go out and get what you need.
If you have yet to read Part 1 – Sewing Machines for Making Handbag, you can go back here.
WHICH MACHINE/S DO YOU GET?
Whether sewing bags as a hobby or as a business, you don’t need all of the machines mentioned in Part 1 to make great bags. You can make bags, from beginning to end, on any ONE of the machines.
However, depending on the types of bags you want to make, will determine which machine (or machines) is BEST for you….and only YOU will know what the answer is. Things you should consider are when looking into a sewing machine purchase include:
- Will you just be making bags or are there other things you like to sew?
If you like to quilt and make clothes, you might need a machine with fancy stitches, and button hole and zipper capabilities. If you like to make soft toys with some embroidery on them, you would probably consider an embroidery machine.
However, if it is just bags you want to make, with nothing overly fancy in the way of stitches, you just need something that sews straight!
- What materials you want to use?
For delicate materials like silks and satins for bridal bags, you will need a light to medium machine with a finer needle. With cottons and heavier furnishing fabrics that give you enormous variety in prints, a medium machine with standard needles will do the job. When sewing vinyls and leathers you will need a bigger needle on a more heavy weight machine with enough power behind it to go through the materials.
Keep in mind that with all bag making there are multiple layers when you combine the external materials, add interfacing, interlinings, and the lining…even with the finest of silks. Make sure your machine is powerful enough to go through these layers without being so heavy that it chews up your most delicate fabrics.
Lastly on this point, I’d like to clarify what I mean by a light, medium and heavy weight machine. This refers to the power of the machine and more specifically the motor. The bigger the motor, the more powerful and the heavier it is. For leather bags with multiple layers having a heavy weight machine is imperative to produce beautiful bags. Sure a smaller machine can sew leather, but the stitches will not be as beautiful or as uniform in stitch length, and over time the motor will just burn out.
3. What space do you have available?
If you just have the dining room table available to you and have to pack up your sewing projects when your finished, then straight away you would be looking for a table top machine, or one that can be stored in a sewing cabinet in the corner of the room. However, if you are lucky enough to have a dedicated space where you can leave it set up, then the options available to you open right up and an industrial machine could be a consideration. It could even be possible for you to get more than one machine to suit your sewing needs.
4. How much do you want to spend?
Sewing machines can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000….depending on what you want. You can go for a recognised and reputable brand with a long history of making sewing machines, or you could purchase a copy of these sewing machines (generally called a clone). You can buy new or you can buy second-hand. Depending on your budget, get the best that you can afford and don’t rule out a clone or a second-hand machine, if it gets you what you need to create your masterpieces.
Of all the machines I use, all but two of them are are second-hand, and they have hardly skipped a beat!
With the above considerations carefully thought through, you have already started to narrow down the machine you need. Next do some research. Sewing Machine brands and distributors will have a website, listing their available machines and their capabilities. By reading through these, you will narrow possible machines down further.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether it’s the staff at the distributor, a local sewing shop or bag making group, online forums or Facebook sewing groups…..people WANT to help and to share their personal experiences and knowledge of different machines they have used. As a consumer, you are more likely to buy something that comes with a recommendation behind it, so ask away and be sure the machine you’ve identified in your initial research comes with a good backing from people who have actually used it. I’ve included some links at the bottom of the page of areas where you might seek help.
At this point, you will notice that I haven’t mentioned any brands of sewing machines or model numbers….excluding the machines that I own. They have purposely left these out as there is an entire myriad of sewing machines out there, and without any experience or research on them, I can’t say that one machine is better than another….and it would be looking at it from my perspective on what I want to sew. Depending on your budget and what you want to sew, you will need to do your research to narrow down the best machine for you. And once you’ve done that….we’re ready for Part 3: Test Driving a Bag Making Sewing Machine.
And that’s it….where-ever you are and what-ever bag your making, have a great day.
Some places to research sewing Machines:
YouTube video on Sewing Machines for Leather by Arthur Porter
Domestic Sewing Machines – Sewing Machines
Industrial Sewing Machines – Sewing Machines Australia
Online Forums for bag making sewing machines:
Handbag Horders on Etsy