Industrial Sewing Machine Shopping

If You Are Shopping for and Industrial Walking Foot Machine, this info below will be helpful reading!

Download PDF: Juki 1541 v 1181 Comparison  
Download PDF:  Triple-Feed Walking Foot Explained (Why it's better) 
Download PDF: My Juki 1541 (The SetUp I Chose and Why)
View: How to Choose A Dealer
My Juki1541 New Owner - Cheat Sheet


Questions are frequently posted online about which industrial machine to use for bag-making, which thread to use and with which needle. I'm sharing some of what I've learned from my industrial shopping journey and also some of my sources. If you're starting out your industrial journey, you'll find this helpful. It's what I wish I had been given when I started out - all in one place. 

Shopping for A Walking Foot Machine: When I first decided to take the plunge and buy an industrial for bag-making, I was a fish out of water. It took me months of research to decide things like single-feed or walking foot, which brand and model, what is needle positioning, which motor and do they really make a difference, what is triple-feed and is it better. And the big question bag makers ask: Juki 1541 or 1181. And is a Juki worth the premium.  And then, which dealer should you purchase from. This is the info I wished someone had given to me all in one place when I started out.

I've sewed on Bernina machines for years, and have loved all my Berninas and still do. But once I got into bag making, I had needs that I came to realize only an industrial walking foot machine would satisfy. So I decided to take the plunge and shop for an industrial. I went with the Juki 1541s walking foot machine. But at the time I didn't know where to start!

Even after years of sewing when I started my industrial shopping journey, I was a fish out of water. It took me months of research to decide because I couldn't afford to make an expensive mistake. I had no idea at first whether to go single-feed or walking foot, which type walking foot (dual or compound) and what is the difference, which brand and models to look at, did I need a needle positioning, which motor and do motors really make a difference.  But of course at the time, I didn't even know what most of this even meant, especially in practical terms.  And I wanted to buy from a dealer I could trust.

Like most, I started out asking other bag-makers in my Facebook sewing groups. Juki walking foot machines seemed to be a preference among the community. But I'm a curious knowledge-seeker, and wanted to know for myself, and started digging in. I spoke to online dealers. And I visited local dealers near me. I was fortunate to have local dealers only 20 minutes away, but I know that is not an available option for all sewers. After speaking to multiple dealers, I immediately knew which one I wanted to buy from. (More on that below).

I especially wanted help to figure out which Juki is better - the Juki 1541 or the 1181. And even some others. But I quickly discovered it needed to be about which would be the better choice for me. This was enlightening. If you have a local dealer near you, I highly recommend you do this. Both of these machines (including the Thor clone) are great walking-foot machines. But I do think it depends on what you currently want to be able to sew, if you want to keep your options open for growth in the future (even if you're not sure what that is now), and of course your budget.

I decided to go with the Juki 1541s. I believe I made the right decision for me.  And even more so now that I've had a lot of time with my machine. She sews thru anything and nothing holds me back! Your decision might be different based on who you are and your needs.

See my PDFs for what I learned in comparing the Juki 1541 to the Juki 1181 side by side, my chosen setup/what I went with, and my thoughts for how to choose a dealer. I purchased from Sunny Sewing Machinesand love them as a dealer. I believe who you buy from is extremely important, especially if you are purchasing thru the internet.

All of this is what I wished someone had given to me when I started out. These PDFs are compiled from all my notes shortly after my purchase. And after sharing it with a few individuals one-on-one, who told me they found it very helpful, I decided to publish it here more widely. I hope you find it useful in helping you choose what is right for you, and saves you time and energy.

I am not an industrial machine expert and this is no substitute for speaking with a good dealer. But it will help you formulate the right questions to ask when you speak to one.

Good luck in your industrial machine shopping journey. Feel free to drop me a note and let me know if you found these helpful -

Happy Artful Sewing,