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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Help choosing a Machine for Leather, Skins, Canvas and more ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Help choosing a Machine for Leather, Skins, Canvas and more
Looking to make custom shoes from scratch
RaucePowers
RaucePowers
Beginner
CA
Member since 10/19/13
Posts: 1
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Date: 10/19/13 3:51 PM

Hello everyone!
I'm new here, spent the majority of my morning combing the beginner thread finding links and threads with advice and information to investigate, but I figured I might aswell make my own thread specifically covering my situations, to see if anyone had any particular advice for me!!!

I am a Professional Sneaker Customizer and Restoration expert, refurbishing vintage Basketball/Track/Running shoes from multiple decades, as well as making my own creations out of modern releases.
Currently I am confined to paint and basic hand tools, and I would like to graduate to making my own shoes, piece by piece, using fine materials like Leather, SnakeSkin, Eel Skin, Ostrich Skin, Denims, Canvas material and more.

Basically I'm wondering -
-What machine would you recomend for this?
-Is there an industrial machine specifically made for Shoes I haven't discovered yet?
-What features would you suggest I look for?
-Do you have any suggestions of good reads/videos to educate me on what needles/threads/processes would be best for the fabrics?

I'm sorry if these kind of questions have been answered before, as I said I am digging through the forums, I just wanted to throw this out there and see if I could save myself some time.

Thanks again everyone!!!

Coconuts
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Coconuts  Friend of PR
Intermediate
MI USA
Member since 12/2/09
Posts: 1270
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Date: 10/19/13 5:43 PM

I'm pretty sure you'll need an industrial post bed machine, possibly a long post bed machine. I really don't know anything about them, but that will at least get you searching for info in the right direction.

sew4grands
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sew4grands  Friend of PR
Intermediate
BC CANADA
Member since 2/23/09
Posts: 222
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Date: 10/20/13 8:28 AM

I have heard that treadle machines will sew leather, but not sure it will sew shoes.

------
Nancy B.
I sew with 4 Brothers and a Featherweight
Babylock Serger

mgmsrk1
mgmsrk1
Intermediate
NY
Member since 12/16/12
Posts: 178
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thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 10/20/13 8:55 AM

You need at least one industerial machine, you may need more than one to do some of the work on shoes.

You need a heavy one preferabebly with a walking foot for your leather and heavy skins.

You can expect to spend $1,500-$4,000 for a machine like that new with table and motor. If you get lucky and find one used locally you may be able to pick one up for a few hundred.

------
1968 Kenmore 158. (AKA The Hulk)
Bernina 230
Janome 6600 (for sale)
Janome 7700
Juki 600
Elna serger
Kenmore serger
Janome 1000 CoverStitch
Juki 8500 Industerial

JDpenelope
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JDpenelope  Friend of PR
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KS USA
Member since 9/9/03
Posts: 1363
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In reply to mgmsrk1 <<
thumbsup 1 member likes this.


Date: 10/20/13 9:54 AM

Quote:
You need a heavy one preferabebly with a walking foot for your leather and heavy skins.


In a handbag sewing class, we learned that for the best results we would need two industrial walking foot machines -- a flatbed and cylinder (which is like a free arm). The students are told that a home machine will quickly wear out if you attempt to sew leather with it many hours a day.

Have you visited a shoe repair shop? -- Most of those shops will have an industrial post machine, which is the only way you can reach certain parts of a shoe or boot, in order to sew it. I have visited two shops that make/repair leather saddles, boots, etc and the owners were more than happy to show me their machines, which was fascinating.

There are also machines that sew sideways -- the name escapes me right now -- again, which are great for stitching tall boots and other hard to reach areas.

Is there a local industrial sewing machine store near you ? Some people are really good at choosing and maintaining their own machines, but I am not one of them! Industrial machines are very heavy, need special motors, and are bolted down to their tables, which makes it difficult to take into a shop -- I am lucky that a qualified repairman can make house calls. Fortunately, it hasn't been necessary very often.

There are a number of great USED industrial walking foot machines out there. If you can find an appropriate used machine (I wouldn't use eBay) from a qualified dealer, it won't cost as much as a new machine and might actually work better.

Good luck!


------
aka Joanne. (Penelope was our cat. RIP.)
"What mother nature gives, father time takes away."
Yahoo group: Sewing-with-Industrial-Machines

koo104
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koo104
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WA USA
Member since 1/25/04
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thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 10/20/13 10:32 AM

For shoes there is a special sewing machine that allows room to go into tight spaces. Get friendly with a old shoe repair to find out how to find one. They are very simple machines and with shoe repair being a dying art, I would think you can find a used one.

For a home machine that does cool tricks, my Bernina 1630 has directional sewing and can elongate stitches , has a free arm and sews everything fine or heavy I have tried. You might be able to do something with one. I love mine and got right of 9 machines for I don't need so many with my 1630 around.
When they make shoes, they are sewn together before they go on the last to join the sole to the top which is easier then repairing them with soles on.
Good luck on yor venture.

-- Edited on 10/20/13 10:35 AM --

PattyE
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PattyE  Friend of PR
Intermediate
MI
Member since 9/7/10
Posts: 1321
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In reply to RaucePowers <<


Date: 10/20/13 10:42 AM

My brother has a business making leather products for Ford Mustangs...they use a ConSew machine and love it.
You might want to talk to people in the shoe/repair business. They can probably give you some valuable info about machines.
Good luck with your business.

Rainspa

Rainspa  Friend of PR
Intermediate
CA USA
Member since 1/1/07
Posts: 168
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In reply to RaucePowers <<


Date: 10/20/13 11:01 PM

If you are near LA, there are shops that sell industrial machines. They might be worth talking to. I concour with everybody else; you seem to need an industrial machine or 2. An industrial machine that can sew leather or canvas all day, day after day for a business is different than a home sewing machine that can sew a leather garment once in a while.

------
I'm going to Costume College!

Invisigal
Invisigal
Intermediate
Member since 11/7/09
Posts: 624
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Date: 10/21/13 11:07 PM

I purchased a Singer 29K71 (aka shoe patcher) on Craigslist. It's treadle-powered. I've never made a shoe before, but plan to repair some, plus holsters, purses, etc. The head can be turned to sew in any direction and it's a post machine. You could look at some Youtube videos of different patchers. Several companies make them; Techsew, Singer, Adler, Pfaff.

For sewing heavy vinyl, some leathers, canvas, etc. I use a Singer 591 industrial flatbed, bought used. It's simple, but fast and strong, straight-stitch only. There are a lot of industrials out there at good prices.
-- Edited on 10/21/13 11:18 PM --

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