The 5 Best Sewing Machines for Heavy Fabrics in 2023

The Best Sewing Machines for Heavy Fabrics

Anyone who has tried to sew thick fabrics, like a pair of jeans, leather, or multiple layers, knows that a heavy-duty sewing machine is required for sewing heavy fabrics. In most cases, a regular sewing machine just won’t cut it as they are designed for sewing light fabrics such as cotton or silks.

When looking to buy a sewing machine for thick materials, be sure to identify the quality of sewing output, sewing speed, stitches available, thread weight, the maintenance necessary, and the price.

Fun fact: The person who invented the first functional sewing machine, Barthelemy Thimonnier (1830), almost lost his life to tailors who felt threatened by his invention.

Sewing machines have come a long way from the first functioning model created over a century ago and are available in a large variety of models.

The best sewing machines for thick fabric are easy to use, sturdy, and have smooth fabric feeding to avoid catching and ruining the material and are similar to embroidery sewing machines.

Some models even come with an automatic needle threader which can save time and eye strain. Below we’ve covered the different types of sewing machines and their uses.

Types of Sewing Machines

Sewing machines are not all made equally. Buying a device on a budget will most likely end up with very little if any decorative stitches, one presser foot, and slower sewing speed, but it is okay for everyday sewing.

This might be okay for beginners, but a heavy-duty machine that will successfully sew thicker fabrics and multiple layers is necessary for heavy-duty projects.

Some sewing machine brands, like a Singer sewing machine or Brother sewing machines, have excellent reputations for being sturdy, come with several pressure feet, and are suitable machines for thick fabrics.

Regular Sewing Machines

Mechanical sewing machines, also called regular ones, are great for basic sewing projects and lightweight fabrics. This is a great sewing machine that doesn’t require many decorative stitches and is suitable for beginners.

This model is usually a more portable sewing machine due to its plastic construction. However, some Singer models have a metal frame making them especially useful for sewing thick fabric. These standard machines tend not to have the bells and whistles seen on a computerized sewing machine.

Computerized Sewing Machines

Computerized sewing machines are excellent for beginners. A computerized sewing machine, similar to embroidery machines, is the best sewing machine for projects that require many decorative stitches.

These electronic sewing machines take a lot of the guesswork out of using a mechanical machine since the thread tension, appropriate pressure foot, and stitch type are suggested once the project type is chosen.

Some computerized sewing machines are not intended to be heavy-duty sewing machines, but some can handle heavier fabrics such as denim.

Industrial Sewing Machines

Also called a commercial-grade sewing machine, an industrial sewing machine has a metal frame and fast sewing speeds for production purposes.

They are the best sewing machine for factories or sewers who have their own business where quantity is as important as quality. These heavy-duty machines can tackle even the thickest fabrics with their metal frame.

Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

A heavy-duty machine isn’t the same as a regular sewing machine in that it is designed to handle multiple layers of fabric or materials such as vinyl with ease. They are a tough sewing machine and more beneficial for the experienced sewer.

Manual Sewing Machines

Unlike a mechanical machine, a manual machine sews via a foot pedal that requires sewers to move their foot up and down for speed control. This heavy-duty sewing machine is most appropriate for light or heavy sewing tasks that don’t need fast sewing speeds.

It is also more appropriate for experienced sewers since everything from thread tension to stitches must be set manually.

Sewing Speed

Sewing speeds are measured in stitches per minute, and the higher the stitch count, the faster the sewing speeds on heavy-duty sewing machines.

The Best Sewing Machines for Heavy Fabrics

  1. Best Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics Overall: Singer 4452 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
  2. Best Heavy-Duty Sewing Machines for Heavy FabricsJanome Sewing Machine HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machines for Heavy Fabrics
  3. Best Mechanical Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics: Singer Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine 4423 for Heavy Fabrics
  4. Best Computerized Sewing Machine for Heavy FabricsBrother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i
  5. Best Portable Sewing Machine for Heavy FabricsBrother Sewing Machine GX37 for Heavy Fabrics

1. Best Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics Overall – Singer 4452 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Singer 4452 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$219.99 – Our score: 9/10
  • Sewing speed – 1,100 – Our score: 9/10
  • Stitches available – 32 – Our score: 8/10
  • Thread weights supported – Eight presser feet – Our score: 9/10
  • Maintenance required – Yes – Our score: 9/10

About the Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

This heavy-duty sewing machine from Singer can handle thick fabric and heavy-duty sewing projects and is best for intermediate or advanced sewers. The heavy-duty metal body creates a more stable base for heavy-duty sewing. Its free arm also makes sewing cuffs or sleeves straightforward, while the free-motion sewing capabilities also make this double as a quilting machine.

Unlike other heavy-duty sewing machines at this price, this computerized sewing machine includes seven presser feet, including a blind hem sewing foot. Other accessories include an automatic needle threader, seam ripper, a walking foot for sewing thick fabrics, and a foot pedal to control the speed.

Pros

  • Comes with 32 built-in stitches
  • Includes seven presser feet for different sewing tasks
  • Has a non-stick presser foot for leather and vinyl sewing projects
  • Accessories are neatly stored in the accessory tray
  • Designed with a drop-in bobbin

Cons

  • Can be difficult to read the numbers

2. Best Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics – Janome HD3000

Janome HD3000

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Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$449 – Our score: 8/10
  • Sewing speed – 860 – Our score: 7/10
  • Stitches available – 18 – Our score: 8/10
  • Thread weights supported – Regular – Our score: 7/10
  • Maintenance required – Little – Our score: 8/10

About the Janome Sewing Machine for Thick Fabrics

Some sewing machines tend not to handle heavy-duty sewing projects well, but this Janome sewing machine makes light work of thick fabric. Rated the best sewing machine for stitch quality and the number of sewing tasks it can undertake, this is an excellent investment for the professional or novice sewer alike.

This heavy-duty sewing machine has variable speed control that can be controlled with the included foot pedal. Its automatic needle threading system can reduce eye strain, and the free arm makes sewing pant legs or sleeves simpler. This machine can also perform free-motion sewing as a quilting machine.

Pros

  • Includes 18 built-in stitches
  • Has a presser foot for just about every heavy-duty sewing project
  • The heavy-duty aluminum body helps stabilize the sewing machine
  • Comes with an automatic needle threader

Cons

  • Does not include a walking foot
  • Not many built-in stitches

3. Best Mechanical Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics – Singer 4423 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

 

  • Price – ~$199.99 – Our score: 9/10
  • Sewing speed – 1,100 – Our score: 9/10
  • Stitches available – 23 – Our score: 9/10
  • Thread weights supported – Regular – Our score: 9/10
  • Maintenance required – Little – Our score: 9/10

This Singer heavy-duty sewing machine was rated the best sewing machine for beginners. The stitch dial easily controls the stitch length, and the needle threader reduces eye strain with the easy-to-use and straightforward built-in needle threader.

The 23 built-in stitches of this Singer heavy-duty sewing machine make it easy for beginners to master a few stitches at a time. Each presser foot is labeled, allowing sewers to tackle different heavy-duty tasks with the right tools on hand. In addition, the free arm makes sewing narrow materials a piece of cake.

Pros

  • Has a 25-year warranty
  • Includes just a few built-in stitches for the beginner
  • One of the best heavy-duty machines that is easy to learn on
  • Comes with a built-in needle threader

Cons

  • Sewers should read the manual before using to ensure proper use

4. Best Computerized Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics – Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i

Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$209.99 – Our score: 9/10
  • Sewing speed – Variable – Our score: 9/10
  • Stitches available – 37 – Our score 8/10
  • Thread weights supported – 40–60 – Our score: 9/10
  • Maintenance required – Little – Our score: 9/10

About the Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i

Beginners or professionals alike will appreciate the features of this heavy-duty sewing machine. This was rated one of the best sewing machines for thick fabrics due to its speed control and utility stitches. It has an automatic needle threader, drop-in bobbin, zipper foot, button sewing foot, and blind hem presser foot. The utility stitches include a different stitch length for sewing heavy fabrics.

Sewing projects are made more accessible with this sewing and quilting machine with the free motion sewing arm, but having proper thread tension is essential. The free arm allows for sewing multiple layers on a sleeve, while the seam ripper, extra needles and bobbins, and quilting table make this sewing machine ideal for sewing heavy fabrics.

Pros

  • Comes with 37 built-in stitches
  • Includes six presser feet
  • Has a 25-year limited warranty
  • Each stitch length covers many heavy-duty projects
  • Designed with an automatic needle threader

Cons

  • Used only in the US on 120V

5. Best Portable Sewing Machine – Brother Sewing Machine GX37 for Heavy Fabrics

Brother Sewing Machine GX37 for Heavy Fabrics

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$189.99 – Our score: 8/10
  • Sewing speed – Variable – Our score: 8/10
  • Stitches available – 37 – Our score: 8/10
  • Thread weights supported – Regular – Our score: 8/10
  • Maintenance required – Little – Our score: 8/10

About the Brother Sewing Machine GX37 for Heavy Fabrics

Rated the best heavy-duty sewing machine for its portability, this Brother heavy-duty sewing machine for thick fabric is compact and perfect for those who have limited space. It is designed with an automatic needle threader and over three dozen built-in stitches and includes six presser feet.

Each presser foot, such as buttonhole, zipper, blind and zigzag feet, make sewing just about any project a cinch. The free arm also makes it simple to hem or sew pants or sleeves. This sewing machine can also sew quilts.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty sewing machine and quilting functions
  • Includes many different accessories
  • Has an automatic needle threader
  • Can be used in 110/220V

Cons

  • Dial can be difficult to read

Conclusion

We hope you found our guide to the best heavy-duty sewing machine for heavy fabrics helpful. We’ve covered the different types of heavy-duty sewing machines available along with our recommendations in various contexts.

We’ve discussed how you can choose the best heavy-duty sewing machine with different features that make sewing and quilting more straightforward and faster. Lastly, we’ve combined our recommendations, whether focusing on built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, or included accessories.

Thanks for reading; we hope our suggestions help you choose the best heavy-duty sewing machine for your next heavy-duty sewing project.

About Lauraine Velez

Lauraine is a freelance writer with a strong background in the arts. Lauraine is currently finishing her novel and has been exploring different art mediums for over two decades. Her favorite art activities include drawing, painting (especially watercolor painting), designing haute couture clothes, photography, and designing and creating gifts for family and friends.

In addition to Lauraine's expertise in art, she has experience in commerce content, grant writing, and health and wellness. Before becoming a freelancer, Lauraine held various positions in large and grassroots organizations locally and abroad.