If you are in the market for a heavy-duty sewing machine for thick fabrics or leather, you should contact at least three sewing machine dealers. Compare brands and prices from each one and their prices, too. Most sewing machine companies do not offer the kind of machines needed for stitching or repairing leather or canvas. These specialized applications require machines that are much bigger than an ordinary home machine. The typical commercial sewing machine retailer can probably provide a machine suitable for auto or furniture upholstery, but for very heavy leather a standard flatbed walking-foot machine just won’t measure up.

To make an informed decision regarding what could be a sizable investment; your best bet is to first learn about sewing and sewing machines. Keep in mind that what seems to be a bargain may turn out to be not such a good deal after all. For example, if you buy the first used machine you find for a few hundred dollars and later discover it to be unable to handle the workload; you could lose your customer’s business and the time it will take you to save for the right machine. You must now try to recover whatever you spent and possibly take a loss when you do find a buyer. Avoid the headache and frustration by doing some homework ahead of time.

Of course, on the other hand, you don’t need to get over your head in debt with the biggest and best machine you can find if you won’t be able to use it to its fullest potential. Some machines can cost well over five thousand dollars. It’s best to honestly evaluate your needs and plan your expenses accordingly. When you can afford to purchase a new machine with better capabilities many dealers will accept your machine as a trade-in.

Find some dealers, either online or locally, and get to know them before you spend your money. A reputable company should not mind spending the time to help you if it means a satisfied and enthusiastic customer. Negative feedback is something all businesses should work hard to avoid. You can get feedback from members of online forums and ask for references based on first-hand experience. Take advantage of others experience regarding optional equipment that you may be able to use. Contacting a dealer by phone can save you lots of time and energy. Ask about shipping costs and return policies as well.

You may send samples of all the different material and thread you want to sew and test-drive the machine. If this is not possible, at least make a list of the products you expect to make so the dealer can have all the information he needs to advise you.

Make sure you learn about all the machine’s functions and don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly you may think they are. Sewing machine dealers should be able to answer them all or at least find someone who has the answer.

All businesses have their own specific terminology, so if you can learn the names of the machine’s parts and what they do you will be able to communicate with your dealer effectively. No one really knows what you mean by “thingamajig” but if you know the difference between a take-up lever and a feed dog, at least you won’t have to feel foolish if you have never sewn before.