Hobkirk Sewing Machines

Advice & Guidance

Take a look at some of our expert advice below!

If you can't find what you are looking for then please do not hesitate to make contact, we are always happy to help.

Phone: 01254 693555
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Price is usually the main focus when people choose an industrial sewing machine but please consider the following before parting with your money.

All upholsterers should use a walking foot machine. The presser foot on a walking foot machine is in 2 parts so the feet alternate as they ‘walk’ over the fabric, this is essential when sewing heavy fabrics such as draylons, vinyls, leathers etc as a standard industrial machine cannot handle the heavy work. They will also take a thicker needle which means they will penetrate the thicker products without bending or breaking and they will also perform well using 40s and 60s bonded nylon thread (much thicker than regular sewing thread) which is standard in the upholstery world.

You should also choose a machine with a reverse so you can make back tack stitches, it should have a large capacity spool (because the thread is thicker this means you can get more on a larger spool) and it should have an energy saving servo motor with a good wattage as these are cheaper to run, will penetrate thick work easily and are silent when not sewing. Ensure your energy motor has a needle position synchroniser too so you can determine if you want the needle in or out of the fabric during sewing. 

Also choose a decent brand of machine (there are many cheap brands on the market that aren’t up to the job) and make sure you buy from a reputable sewing machine dealer who can support you technically if you have any issues. Also check that the machine is a current model and you can get parts for them. Some Chinese brands or very good, others not so good, if you want a premium brand then Seiko is a good choice as they are still manufactured in Japan to the highest quality.
Machines to Consider
Zoje ZJ0303L-3-BD - Walking Foot
Seiko H-2BL-AE-1 - Walking Foot

As well as walking foot, some machines have needle feed. On a regular machine the needle moves vertically up and down but with a needle feed & walking foot machine the needle actually moves from front to back whilst though the fabric and through the lower feed dog. As the needle is in the work during sewing this means there is very little chance of ply slippage. This is when the layers of fabric move during sewing and the seams don’t always meet at the end, a particular problem on slippery fabrics like Vinyl or multiple layers of thicker work that naturally move when being sewn.
Machines to Consider
Zoje ZJ0628 - Walking Foot & Needle Feed
Seiko STH-8BLD-3- Walking Foot & Needle Feed

A 3rd consideration is ‘drop in spool’. The above types of machines have a ‘side loading’ spool with a spool case (the spool is vertical) and are fine for general upholstery work and bonded nylon sewing threads up to size 40. If you choose a machine with a horizonal spool (drop in type) you don’t need to use a spool case and the machine will also handle thicker threads, up to size 20. Some upholsterers like to use 20’s thread as it becomes a decorative feature of the product, particularly on leather. Car interiors is another good example of when this thread is used. A drop in spool machine is also more adaptive to even thicker work, especially if you want to sew webbing etc.
Machines to Consider
Seiko LSWN-8BL3 - Walking Foot With Needle Feed and Drop-in Type Spool

Once you have decided which of the 3 technical options
1. Walking foot
2. Walking foot with needle feed
3. Walking foot with needle feed and drop in type spool

is best suited to your needs, your next consideration is whether you want automatic functions. Choosing an ‘automatic’ model means that the machine will back tack automatically for you at both the beginning and end of sewing rather than pressing the reverse lever as you would need to do on a standard model. Once sewing is finished the machine will then trim the thread automatically (no need for scissors) and the foot will lift automatically (no need to use a knee lifter). All these features speed up production, save on thread and reduce operator fatigue. Some automatic machines require compressed air so you will need a compressor if you choose this type.
Machines to Consider
Zoje ZJ-0303L-3-D4 - Walking Foot
Seiko H-2BLC-DM - Walking Foot
Global WF3995-45 - Walking Foot with Needle Feed
Seiko BLW-8BLCE-DM - Walking Foot with Needle Feed and Drop-in Spool

If you are sewing extra large items then some models are available with a longer arm.
Machines to Consider
Global WF3955-45 - Walking Foot with Needle Feed
Kingmax GC1510L-25 - Walking foot with needle feed and drop in spool
Seiko LSWNH Walking Foot with Needle Feed and Drop-in Spool

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions on the above.

Hobkirk Sewing Machines Ltd
118-130 Darwen Street
01254 693555