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Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board > Tech Help> Interior> Go to machine for leather serging, overlock & hemming?
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-05-2013 10:36 PM
nickerz I live in Waukesha I assume you were probably a valuable resource for guys like Borchart Speed, Kilpatricks etc. Were you even in contact with Project Two? They did some nice interior work too in the area.


Basically I'm interested in starting an automotive fashion line, and would like to also be able to easily sew automotive interiors. I recognize that having good machines makes a huge difference. Just like I accept that it makes sense to purchase large, multiple monitor setups for my work & home and that they pay for themselves, I understand these machines will make the difference between quality work and junk.

The thickest materials I could imagine sewing would be guitar straps and belts. Most other materials will be wallets & seat leather\upholstery. I could never imagine myself sewing holsters or saddles.

What I'm looking to be able to do is a have a variety of sewing patterns available to me and machines that can efficiently and easily deal with leather. That restricts all my machines to true walking foot style machines with compound feeds.

Make no mistake, I'm an absolute newbie to leather. However, I'm not new to the business world. So I understand that if I want to play around in the leather business, and make prototypes, I need to invest in a proper tools. I simply don't have the time to get a low level machine and break my way into something decent eventually. My goal really is to create prototypes, test the market, and then mass produce if it works. If not, I can always sell the machines to the next person who wants to test their dreams against the market.

The serger I'm thinking I'll only need for cloth. So let's just count that out. But I'm unsure how to be able to get the variety of stitches one can get in garment stitching. Stitches like this.

(Provided a link, because the image is massive)

I understand a good deal of these stitches are too close for leather, but for ones like 58 or 63, it'd be awesome to find a machine that could do something like that with leather. Not sure if one exists though =|

I guess I'm still not 100% sure what I'm looking for. I'm trying to understand what's available, what's good and what's bad. The budget is moving higher and higher, that's okay. But I'm just trying to make the right purchasing decisions so when I get to work I don't keep hitting walls. Had I just bought the Juki, I would have quickly figured out "hey this is great, but I still want to be able to do all those other decorative stitches!" very quickly.

05-05-2013 07:20 PM
DanTwoLakes I'm sorry. I didn't understand why you wanted the machines you talked about. I thought you were just starting out in the business and were looking for advice on what machines to get.

I'm originally from Waukesha. We moved to Whitewater, WI when I was about 4. I now live in Lake Tomahawk, WI and yes, I do have my own upholstery shop. I am far from an expert on sewing machines, and even farther from being a legend, but I can answer most of the questions that show up here, and I have worked in a number of different factories, so I know some of the machines available. Basically, you can get the supplier of the machines to make you any kind of machine you want. Zippers, for example, were sewn with a machine that had 4 needles and two folders. All you had to do was feed the fabric into both sides of the folders at once, and the machine sewed the fabric to the zipper chain with two lines of stitching on either side of the zipper chain. That machine did nothing but that for it's entire life.

What you have to understand is that if you go to a factory that does sewing, you will find dozens of machines dedicated to only one operation. The concept of a multi use machine is no help in a factory setting. It is much easier to take the work to one dedicated machine than it is to adjust the machine to do different jobs every day. Most sewing operations are very straightforward and don't need specialty machines. Other operations, like making button holes, or doing French seams, require dedicated machines.

What kind of leather and what kind of sewing operations are you talking about? If you're talking about leather that is used in seat covers, there would be no problem. Even if you're talking about really heavy leather, there are machines that will handle it. I have a machine that will sew through 3/4" of leather, and could do more if not limited by the lift of the foot. There are machines that can sew much heavier things than that.
05-05-2013 04:07 PM
nickerz Turns out we're both Cheeseheads! (From the Milwaukee metro area)

Didn't realize I reside so close to a legend! Do you have a shop open to the public or is it something you mainly do in private?
05-05-2013 03:42 PM
nickerz First off let me say thanks for replying. I have read your information on a myriad of different forums and understand you are an authority on this subject.

I have no problem buying and selling a machine if I don't need it. What I do need is a serious recommendation for a good machine for the other 2 functions that will work with leather.

These machines are for prototyping. I already have extensive outsourcing contacts that I can use for full scale production. I already run a medium scale auto parts business and want to do some prototyping here in the states.

I'm just having trouble finding reliable information on which machines to buy, not if I should buy a machine. I appreciate the insight on that front, but I'm looking for versatility in thread design for leather applications.

There are plenty of machine recommendations for normal garments, but I don't want to destroy needles and eventually whichever machine I buy by using upholstery and leather it was never intended for.
05-05-2013 03:22 PM
DanTwoLakes No. What you are looking at are three completely different machines with dedicated functions. You will find that 99% of what you want to do will be with the straight lockstitch machine. A Serger, what you call a hemmer, has one purpose and one purpose only, which is to cut and edge fabric. That machine would be an extreme luxury. You could probably get away with a home serger, but again, an extreme luxury for someone starting out. My suggestion on the other specialty machine is to farm the work out until you find out if you even need the capability of such a machine.
05-05-2013 02:14 PM
Go to machine for leather serging, overlock & hemming?

So the Juki DNU-1541 seems to be the goto machine for entry level industrial machines to do straight upholstery stitching. The compound feed, walking foot & ability to have a welt\piping attachment is important to me.

However, I'm interested in cross stitch designs, overlock & zig zag designs.
As far as I'm aware, these things are not possible with the straight sewing Juki.

I'm looking for a machine choice that will have a good amount of aftermarket and oem support for it. The 1541 has everything you could want or need for customization or service for a straight line sew, but I've searched very heavily and its hard to find a serious goto for a industrial 5 thread serger\overlock\hem machine. And if I'm seeing this right I STILL need a 3rd machine for zig zags?

Any help would be appreciated.

Are there machines that do all this? Because the price for all 3 types seems to be approaching near $6000 if I'm looking at this right.

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