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Best Sewing Machines for Bag Making

Whether you’re planning to make luxury leather bags and accessories, bohemian canvas totes, beach bags, or backpacks, you need the best sewing machine for bag making. In other words, one of the best heavy-duty sewing machines.

At first glance, they look like regular sewing machines for home use. However, various speeds and stitch lengths give you the possibility to adjust the machine’s performance to match the material you’re sewing. Thanks to these features, you can sew lighter and heavy fabrics alike, including thick canvas, denim, leather, and vinyl.

Like all other sewing machines out there, the heavy-duty sewing machines for bag making come in manual and computerized variants. With a model having pros and cons, finding the best for your workshop could be daunting. That’s why we found the most promising units out there. Check them out below to find the best sewing machine for bag making for you.

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Juki TL-2010Q

Juki TL-2010Q 1-Needle, Lockstitch, Portable Sewing Machine with Automatic Thread Trimmer for...
  • Light weight and portable
  • Arm and bed of TL-2010Q is contructed of aluminum die-casting
  • Larger work area - wider handling area than conventional sewing machines

// Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Brand: Juki
  • Model: TL-2010Q
  • Weight: 37.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 25.7 x 14 x 18 inches
  • Color: White

Japanese brand Juki tops our list with its TL-2010Q manual sewing machine, a semi-industrial model perfect for making bags and backpacks alongside a variety of other heavy-duty items, including quilts, curtains, and even upholstery.

Boasting a durable aluminum construction, this sewing machine can deal with whatever you’re throwing at it. Its industrial sub-tension system and variable speed control slider allow you to deal with all sorts of materials, from canvas and denim to vinyl and even real leather.

We also like the generous work area that makes it a cinch to deal with bulky items. Perhaps the only thing missing is a free arm feature, but you can still sew bags comfortably.

Although manual, this sewing machine is as easy to use as you can get. A large knob numbered from zero to six allows you to set the stitch length, while the side slider lets you choose from three speeds up to 1,500 stitches per minute.

Other highlights include a maximum predetermined stop position of the needle (that can be changed easily if needed), an automatic thread cutter, and a 12mm presser foot raise. Easy to use and maintain, durable, and ideal for heavy-duty tasks; this is one of the best sewing machines for professional bag making.

Brother CS6000i

Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i, 60 Built-in Stitches, 2.0" LCD Display, Wide Table, 9...
  • 60 Unique built-in stitches: The Brother CS6000i includes 60 built-in sewing...
  • Automatic needle threader and drop-in top bobbin: This sewing and quilting machine...
  • Included accessories: The CS6000i includes a hard protective case, wide table, 10...

// Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Brand: Brother
  • Model: CS6000i
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16 x 6.7 x 11.4 inches
  • Color: White

If you’re making bags as a hobby rather than for a living, the Brother CS6000i could be the best sewing machine for you. It isn’t made from the same heavy-duty materials as the Juki, but it’s computerized and designed to help you get through all your sewing projects in a breeze.

Despite its lighter-duty construction, its adjustable speeds and generous working surface still makes it perfect for thick sewing canvas, denim, and vinyl. The feeding rate is decent even at lower speeds, so you won’t grow old while making a bag.

We particularly like its free arm feature that allows you to remove the extension table to sew smaller bags and clutches easily. Bags aside, the free arm also makes it easy to sew cuffs, trouser hems, sleeves, or embellish hard-to-reach areas with decorative stitches.

Talking about stitches, this computerized model comes with 60 built-in decorative and utility patterns, including seven auto-size buttonholes.

Setting the speed, stitch length, and selecting the pattern is easy, thanks to the intuitive control panel. Ideal not only for sewing but also for quilting, this sewing machine also comes with a bunch of accessories, such as ten sewing feet, a needle set with twin needles, and three bobbins – all at a more than an affordable price tag. No doubt, your best bet for hobbyists and sewists who don’t want to break the bank.

SINGER 4423

SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine, grey
  • SINGER HEAVY DUTY SEWING MACHINE: The 23 built-in stitches including basic, stretch,...
  • AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADER SEWING MACHINE: After following the threading path printed...
  • HIGH-SPEED SEWING MACHINE:The Singer 4423 Sewing Machine has a maximum sewing speed...

// Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Brand: SINGER
  • Model: 4423
  • Weight: 14.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 6.25 x 12 inches
  • Color: Grey

Whether you have a small workshop in your spare bedroom or a bag factory, you can’t go wrong with the SINGER 4423. This heavy-duty sewing machine was built with industrial use in mind, and it won’t let you down regardless of how thin or thick the fabric you want to sew is.

This piece of equipment boasts a durable metal frame and impresses with adjustable speed up to 1,100 stitches per minute. It also comes with 23 built-in stitches, including basic, stretch, and decorative, and you can use it for up to 90 different stitching applications.

Like the Juki, it is a manual sewing machine designed for professional users but intuitive enough for hobbyists and beginners.

Setting the stitch type, length, and speed is a cinch with the various knobs, and you can even choose to reverse feed the fabric if needed.

A nice difference between this model and the Juki is the presence of a free arm feature on the SINGER. All you have to do is remove the table support to sew smaller bags as well as hems, trousers, cuffs, and other challenging items.

However, the throat is slightly smaller than Juki’s, so this sewing machine isn’t your best bet for sewing very large backpacks or quilting. If that’s not an issue, the SINGER 4423 is an excellent alternative to Juki for a more affordable price tag.

Janome 3160QDC

Janome 3160QDC Computerized Sewing Machine (New 2020 Tan Color) w/Hard Cover + Extension Table +...
  • - 60 Built-In Sewing Stitches and 6 Built-In Buttonholes - Built-In Automatic Needle...
  • - Jam Proof Easy-Set Top-Loading Bobbin System - It's Easy To Change Your Bobbin....
  • - Handy Function Buttons - The Thread Cutter Button will Cut Both the Top and Bottom...

// Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Brand: Janome
  • Model: 3160QDC
  • Weight: 20.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19.8 x 12 x 16 inches
  • Color: White

In-between the Juki and the Brother, the Janome 3160QDC brings the best of both worlds. It is a computerized sewing machine with heavy-duty capability for mid-range budgets.

Like the Brother, it comes with 60 built-in stitches ranging from utility to decorative. It has free arm capability and comes with several pressure feet for all sewing needs. As you’d expect, the speed is adjustable so that you can work with thinner and thicker fabrics alike.

Designed to make things easy, even for beginners, this sewing machine has many handy function buttons that make it a cinch to use. The lock stitch button is one of the most useful; its function is to finish the stitch you are sewing so you’ll never end up with half a stitch pattern.

Lock stitch aside, we also like the thread cutter and reverse stitch buttons, as well as the needle up or down.

The speed doesn’t go quite as high as we’ve seen in other sewing machines, but at 850 stitches per minute, it’s still fast enough to help you tackle all projects with needs. For bag making, at least, that’s more than sufficient – you’ll hardly sew at full speed anyway.

Another useful feature is the throat area light that makes it easier to see what you’re sewing when working with matching colors or in lower light conditions. Very user friendly and complete with a comprehensive manual, this is an excellent choice for professionals.

Bernette b38

Bernette 38 Swiss Design Computerized Sewing Machine
  • Stitch Width 7 mm
  • Hook System Drop-In
  • Free arm 170 mm

// Last update on 2021-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Brand: Bernette
  • Model: b38
  • Weight: 21.69 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 16.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Color: White

If you don’t like the Janome for one reason or another but would still like a computerized sewing machine for  your workshop, the Bernette b38 might fit the bill. The Swiss-made unit impresses with 394 built-in patterns, including eight 1-step buttonholes, monogramming, and double needle capability.

We particularly like the double needle safety function that limits the stitch width. In this way, you won’t have to worry about either needle hitting the pressing foot and breaking while you’re sewing.

Suitable for working with all kinds of materials, the unit even allows you to adjust the pressure foot pressure. Not only can you sew very light fabrics, such as silk or satin, but you can handle leather and denim effortlessly.

Ideal for bag making, this sewing machine also impresses with a generous throat size and 170mm free arm.

Something we’d improve is the needle threading, which is only semi-automatic. You’ll still have to use your eyes and fingers to thread the needle, which could be inconvenient for some people. That said, a specific button does make the operation less struggling.

Other than needle threading, this sewing machine is easy to use, quiet and packed with functions you can use for making bags. An excellent alternative to the other options on this list if you want a computerized sewing machine.

Tips for Choosing the Best Sewing Machine for Bag Making

Motor

No matter what kind of bags you make, you’re going to work with heavy fabrics. These include thick canvas, denim, vinyl, and even leather. Not all sewing machines can deal with them, even if they have adjustable speed settings.

The most important thing to check when buying is the motor. You’ll want it to be powerful enough to drive the needle through the material effortlessly.

If you’re going to work mostly with leather and similar materials, look for a sewing machine with a power of at least 1 amperes. Some of the best sewing machines for bag making can output over 1.6 amps. For thick fabrics, a 0.6-amp motor should suffice.

A denim bag next to a sewing machine

Stitch Length

Another thing to check is the maximum stitch length. One thing to keep in mind when sewing thick fabrics is that longer stitches deliver stronger seams. Because various fabrics require different stitch lengths, go for a machine with stitch lengths up to at least 2.5mm, ideally more.

High Presser Foot Lift

Making bags means sewing different layers of fabrics together, and an extra-high pressure foot lift allows you to fit all those layers under the needle effortlessly. Besides the pressure foot lift, you should also check if the sewing machine has a leveling button.

This feature allows you to adjust to any change in thickness, which could happen when you’re sewing in the bag’s straps or handles, for example.

Weight and Build Quality

Sewing machines designed for heavy-duty work must have more than a strong motor and adjustable speed and stitch length. The build quality and weight are other two important things to consider.

To make sure the entire structure will withstand the strain you put on it, go for a sewing machine with metal interior frame. Some brands, including Juki, Janome, and SINGER, also use metal parts that enhance resistance and durability.

All these metal parts typically make the sewing machine heavier. Most models suitable for bag making weigh more than 15 pounds. However, if you’re looking for a portable sewing machine, there are a few reliable lightweight options too.

Two brands that manage to manufacture reliable sewing machines for bag making that aren’t that heavy are SINGER and Brother. Although their sewing machines are made from metal and withstand the test of time, they weigh under 15 pounds and are fairly easy to carry around at fairs and markets.

Free Arm Sewing

Located at the bottom of the sewing machine and protruding from the main body, the free arm permits you to sew curved pieces such as sleeves and cuffs. When making bags, a free arm makes it easier to sew bag openings, especially if you’re making tinier handbags or clutches.

Most portable sewing machines – i.e. those who aren’t enclosed into a table or cabinet – have a free arm, but don’t take it for granted. If this feature is important to you, check before buying.

Storage

Two other important things to check before investing in a sewing machine for bag making are on-board storage and the accessories it comes with.

Those sewing machines with free arm feature usually incorporate on-board storage too, in the form of a case or drawer you can remove to use the free arm. Drawers can also equip those machines without a free arm, although they won’t be removable in this case.

On-board storage not only helps you keep all your accessories organized and at hand, but is particularly useful if you’re traveling with your sewing machine. For instance, if you sell the bags you plan to set up stalls and sell your bags at markets and festivals – while working on new models in front of your customers – on-board storage makes it easier to transport the accessories.

Accessories

Most sewing machines on the market come with a range of accessories. For bag making, you should look for a sewing machine that comes with interchangeable feed dogs and several pressure feet.

Feed dogs are responsible of making the fabric travel as you’re sewing, and different materials could require different feed dogs.

The pressure feet keep the fabric pressed onto the machine as you’re sewing. In most cases, you’ll only use one pressure foot for straight line stitching. However, if you want to embellish your bags with decorative or heirloom stitches, you’ll have to use different types of pressure feet. The same goes for making buttonholes and sewing zippers.

Other important accessories include needles, bobbins, measuring tape – though most machines come with printed rulers – and any tools needed for maintenance.

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey or two...

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