Last Updated on December 31, 2023
Welcome back to The Sewing Stuffs! Here, we will discuss the different types of sewing machines suitable for bag making. As some of you may know, my beloved Bernina 930 had to be repaired, but it still has some lingering issues due to difficulties in sourcing replacement parts for electronic problems. This led me to search for a new machine specifically geared toward bag-making.
Best Sewing Machine for Bag Making
Here, I will share my feedback from our mailing list and discuss four categories of sewing machines: domestic, vintage, straight stitch, and industrial. Stick around until the end, and I’ll reveal the 4 awesome machines I chose and a great discount offer from the supplier. So, if you’re in the market for a bag-making sewing machine, this post is for you!
1. Brother PQ 1500sl – Straight Stitch Sewing Machines
|Wide Table, 7 Included Sewing Feet
Straight stitch machines are generally more affordable than domestic sewing machines and can be a practical option for those primarily focused on bag making. However, machines with multiple stitch options need more versatility and may not handle heavy materials like industrial machines.
The Brother PQ 1500sl is a straight-stitch sewing machine known for its speed and precision. It has a high sewing speed, allowing you to work through bag projects quickly. The machine features an extended sewing table, providing ample space for maneuvering larger bags.
You can achieve the desired results for different bag materials with adjustable stitch length and thread tension. The Brother PQ 1500sl is popular among bag makers for its reliable performance and affordability.
- Pros: Specialized machines for straight stitching, ideal for bag making with neat and precise stitches.
- Cons: Lack of versatility for other types of sewing projects that require zigzag or stretch stitches.
2. Janome 1600p – Industrial Sewing Machines
|16″D x 26″W x 18″H
They provide superior speed and power, enabling efficient production. Industrial machines often have features like a compound walking foot and adjustable tension, which are ideal for handling challenging materials.
The Janome 1600p is a popular industrial sewing machine that excels in bag-making and other heavy-duty sewing projects. It has a high-speed straight stitch capability, allowing for fast and precise stitching.
The machine offers adjustable stitch length and width, enabling customization for various bag designs. With its sturdy construction and powerful motor, the Janome 1600p can handle thick fabrics and provide reliable performance.
- Pros: Excellent for heavy materials and bag making, provide stability and durability.
- Cons: Requires dedicated space, not portable, may require adjustments for different fabric types, and typically straight stitch only.
3. Janome HD9 – Domestic Sewing Machines
|21.8D x 49.8W x 33.8H centimetres
Domestic sewing machines are suitable for various sewing projects, including bag making. They offer a wide range of features, such as embroidery and multiple stitch options, making them popular among sewists. These machines can handle lighter materials with good precision but may have limitations regarding heavy materials and industrial-grade sewing.
The Janome HD9 is a high-quality domestic sewing machine with excellent bag-making performance. It features a powerful motor and fast stitching speed, allowing you to sew through thicker fabrics easily.
The machine has a wide range of stitch options and adjustable settings, giving you versatility for different bag designs. It also has a sturdy build and a large sewing area, providing stability and ample space for handling larger bag projects.
- Pros: Wide range of machines available, suitable for various purposes (including bag making), and offer additional features like embroidery and multiple stitch options.
- Cons: Expensive, especially if you only require a bag-making machine. Some machines may have limitations for heavy-duty materials.
4. Singer 201- Vintage Sewing Machines
Vintage sewing machines, such as the popular Singer 201, are sought after by many sewists for their durability and mechanical reliability. These machines are often made of heavy metal, providing stability during bag making.
They have a timeless charm and can be more affordable compared to modern sewing machines. However, finding parts for repairs can be challenging for older models, and they may have limited stitch options and need more advanced features found in newer machines.
The Singer 201 is a vintage sewing machine highly regarded for its solid construction and smooth operation. It has a robust motor that can handle thicker materials, making it suitable for bag making. While it offers a straight stitch only, the machine’s stitch quality is excellent and consistent.
The Singer 201 is known for its reliability and durability, making it an excellent choice for sewists who appreciate vintage machines.
- Pros: Affordable options, sturdy build quality, and less prone to electronic issues.
- Cons: Difficult to find replacement parts when repairs are needed, limited features compared to modern machines.
Considerations – How to Choose a Sewing Machine for Bag Making
- Choose your primary sewing needs: Straight stitch or industrial machines may be the best options if you primarily focus on bag making.
- Assess the space availability and budget: Industrial machines require dedicated space and can be costlier than domestic or straight stitch machines.
- Consider the type of fabrics you work with: Straight stitch machines are suitable for cotton, wax canvas, and cork, while industrial machines better handle thick leather and vinyl.
- Evaluate the features you actually need: Save on unnecessary features if you only require a machine for bag making.
Test machines before purchasing. Visit local sewing shops to try out different models and ask questions to knowledgeable staff.
Is an Industrial Machine Required for Bag Making?
An industrial machine is not necessarily required for making handbags. But, It is possible to sew handbags using a domestic sewing machine, such as the Brother ST150HDH machine, which retails for less than $300 USD. However, for successful bag-making with a domestic sewing machine, it is important to have a few key features and utilize specific techniques.
So, what machines are used to make bags?
The machine for making bags can vary, but any basic machine can be suitable. An old-fashioned straight sewer with a strong motor capable of sewing through multiple layers and accommodating different types of feet is sufficient for bag making.
What tools do you need to make a handbag?
To make a handbag, you will need the following tools:
|Ruler and Rotary Cutter
|Used for marking and cutting fabric
|Used for cutting loose threads during sewing
|Large and Small Sharp Scissors
|Fabric scissors for cutting fabric, small scissors for cutting thread
|Used for cutting pattern pieces, foam, and other non-fabric materials
|Prevents fraying and adds decorative edges
|Steam Iron and Press Cloth
|For pressing seams and delicate areas
|Useful for measuring small units of length
|Helps score fabric for crisp folds and marking visible areas
|Used to remove stitches and redo work if needed
|Pulls cords, elastic, or ribbon through narrow channels
|Good-Quality Fabric Glue
|Holds zips and secures hardware in place
|Rotating Hole Punch
|Creates guide holes in fabric and leather
|Hammer, Rivet Setter, Hole Punch, and Anvil
|Used for setting rivets to secure pockets and thick layers
|Used for pressing faux leather and cork
|Pencil for marking hardware placements, chalk markers for visible areas
|Mini Duct Tape
|Protects sharp hardware backs from wearing through fabric
|Wash-Away Double-Sided Basting Tape
|Holds zips in place for accurate stitching
|Helps turn pockets out fully and maintain sharp corners
|Set of Small Screwdrivers
|Magnetic screwdrivers for fitting hardware
|Creates guide holes for hardware and aids in feeding thick fabrics through the sewing machine
|Prevents fraying on punched holes and close seams
|Holds bulky fabrics together during sewing
|Essential for accurate measuring
|Mini Flush Rivet Cutters
|Used for removing rivets
|Secures bag bases within the seam allowance to prevent shifting
Tips for Bag Making on a Domestic Sewing Machine
Here are some tips for bag making on a domestic sewing machine:
- Choose the right sewing machine foot: Depending on the part of the bag you’re sewing, different feet can be used. For sewing the lining together, a regular sewing machine foot can be used. However, for assembling all the components of the bag, including joining the lining and outer bag, turning it out, and topstitching, a walking foot is recommended. The walking foot helps the machine cope better with multiple layers of fabric.
- Adjust stitch length and machine speed: Lengthen the stitch length for seams and slow down the machine. Sewing with longer stitches and at a slower speed allows the machine to handle thick layers of fabric more effectively.
- Use a bulky seam aid: If you encounter difficulties sewing through thick layers of fabric, consider using a bulky seam aid. This tool helps by raising the back of the presser foot to a similar height as the fabric in front, allowing for smoother sewing transitions between different fabric thicknesses.
- Choose the right needles: It’s important to use sharp, new needles when sewing bags. Regular sewing machine needles (size 70) are suitable for sewing the lining. Microtex needles are great for sewing canvas or outer fabrics, while leather needles are essential if you’re working with leather materials. Jeans needles can be used for denim or thicker fabrics.
- Consider fabric choices and interfacing: When designing your bag, think about the types of fabrics you’ll be using and their weights. Consider using appropriate interfacing to provide structure and stability. Fusible fleece can be cut to the size of the seam allowance to help bulkier side seams when sewing the lining and outer bag together.
- Use rotary cutter and quilter’s ruler: When cutting out fabric pieces for the bag, a rotary cutter and a quilter’s ruler are helpful tools. They allow you to achieve sharp, straight lines and right angles, ensuring accurate cutting to size.
- Use clips for bulky fabrics: Instead of traditional pins, consider using clips when pinning together bulky fabrics like vinyl or leather. Clips hold the materials securely without causing permanent holes, making them a worthwhile investment.
Remember always to enjoy the process of bag making and have fun exploring different techniques and materials.
FAQ – People Also Ask
To further help, here are some answers to questions you may have about Sewing machines for making bags.
What type of sewing machine is most used for bag making?
The heavy-duty sewing machine is the most suitable choice for bag-making because it handles thicker fabrics and multiple layers.
What features should I look for in a bag-making sewing machine?
Look for a sewing machine with adjustable stitch length and width, a strong motor, various built-in stitches, and a free arm for sewing smaller parts of the bag.
What needle should I use for bag making?
For bag making, it’s advisable to use a heavy-duty needle, such as a size 16 or 18, depending on the fabric’s thickness.
How do I sew thick layers of fabric with a sewing machine?
To sew thick layers of fabric, use a heavy-duty needle, adjust the machine’s tension if necessary, and consider using a walking foot or a roller foot attachment for even feeding the fabric.
What types of stitches are useful for bag making?
The type of stitch you use depends on the bag’s design and the fabric you’re using. Straight stitches, zigzag stitches, and reinforced stitches like the triple straight stitch or the bar tack stitch are commonly used in bag making.
Can I sew leather or faux leather on a regular sewing machine?
Sewing leather or faux leather is possible with a regular sewing machine, but it’s best to use a heavy-duty needle and a leather or Teflon foot attachment to prevent sticking. Adjusting the machine’s tension and using a longer stitch length may also be necessary.
Are there any special techniques for bag making?
Bag making often involves techniques like edge stitching, topstitching, box corners, and attaching hardware such as zippers, straps, or buckles. Practicing these techniques on scrap fabric before working on your bag project is helpful.
Conclusion – Recommended Machines
In conclusion, choosing the suitable sewing machine for bag making depends on your specific needs, budget, space availability, and desired features.
Straight stitch and industrial machines are particularly suitable for bag making, while vintage and domestic machines offer more versatility but at a potentially higher cost. Testing machines before purchase is strongly recommended.