However, since we found out that many people are looking for sewing machines specifically for upholstery, we thought we’d go ahead and put together this list of favorite machines for sewing upholstery specifically.
After all, some folks may not really need or want to work with leather or heavy fabrics aside from upholstery. The fabric will also be much larger since we’re talking about entire sofas and pieces of furniture.
That said, if you decide to start sewing leather or heavy fabrics after getting one of these machines, you’ll still be able to without any problems whatsoever :).
Quick comparison of upholstery sewing machines
What kind of sewing machine do you need for upholstery?
At the very least, you need a sewing machine that has:
A sturdy and rigid frame: To be able to withstand the kickback from the force of piercing heavy fabrics so many times per minute, you’ll need a machine that has a nice and sturdy frame otherwise the vibrations will make it nearly impossible to work on any upholstery.
A heavy duty needle and thread: Delicate needles will almost certainly snap as soon as you try to use them at high speeds with heavy fabrics or leather. You need a machine that supports needles that are thick and able to pierce thick fabrics.
A powerful motor: Finally, you need a machine with a powerful motor otherwise there just won’t be enough force to work the fabric.
Generally speaking, the safest bet is using an industrial sewing machine, which is why our first picks are industrial sewing machines, after which we’ll suggest some general purpose heavy duty sewing machines too.
Best industrial sewing machines for upholstery
1) Techsew 0302 Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine(best choice for upholstery)
Most of the brands we’ve reviewed on Sewing Machine Club have been the hotshots: Singer, Brother, Juki, and the like. In this post, you’ll see that most of our selection is other lesser known brands, but for good reason.
The TechSew 0302 is an excellent option for working with upholstery. It’s an industrial caliber machine that can handle anything you throw at it: upholstery, leather, vinyl, synthetics, canvas, and other tough materials – all of the standard fabrics and materials used specifically for upholstering furniture.
So even if you decide you wish to start working with leather after a while, you can sew belts, vests, leashes, satchels, and anything else you can imagine.
If you’re up for handling the challenge, you could even sew a tent or an awning!
The TechSew 0302 has a bottom feed and a walking foot to assist you with thick materials that may have multiple layers. You can adjust the speed of the motor depending on the kind of fabric you’re working with. This is an important thing to adjust as you can either destroy the fabric or not achieve anything at all if you’ve got the wrong speed setting.
To last you for a longer sewing session, the bobbin is an XL size so you can store lots of thread on it.
You can also adjust the length of the stitches. Additionally, the machine takes care of itself to an extent – it is self lubricating, so that’s one less maintenance issue you need to worry about. You just need to grab some oil.
It comes with all the features you’d expect from a good sewing machine: a sewing table, motor, thread stand, lamp, bobbin winder, and other miscellaneous accessories.
Related: Common bobbin issues
If you’re sewing heavy materials on a daily basis, or you’d like to start sewing upholstery, leather, and canvas with ease, the TechSew 0302 is definitely a good choice worthy of your consideration.
- Presser Foot Clearance: 7/16″ (11mm)
- Sewing Capacity: 3/8″ (10mm)
- Maximum Stitch Length: 8mm
- Maximum Sewing Speed: 2500SPM
- Needle Sizes: #18 to #24
- Thread Sizes: #46 to 210
- Drop Feed walking-foot feeding mechanism
- Large Extra Capacity Bobbin
- Reverse Feed for Easy Backtacking
- 3/8" Sewing capacity
- Includes assembled table & adjustable speed servo motor
2) Techsew 1460 Walking Foot Upholstery and heavy duty Sewing Machine
The TechSew 1460 is an upgrade from the TechSew 0302 we saw above. While it is a standard heavy duty sewing machine, it specializes in materials like upholstery and canvas. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it for leather, vinyl, and other synthetics – it will handle those like a champion, too.
If you’re into some really heavy duty upholstery sewing like seats covers for airplanes and boats, you can do it easily with this machine. Whether you’re sewing a synthetic upholstery material like rexine or a natural one like leather, the TechSew 1460 has you covered.
You can even do suitcases and carry cases for large objects – you just have to be prepared to handle the size of the material!
To assist you in feeding thick, bulky materials, the machine has a compound walking foot which is made of alternating presser feet, a needle feed, and a feed dog.
For doubling back on stitches, you can reverse stitch for an even stronger grip. It’s also very simple to change the length of the stitch.
Like the TechSew 0302, this is a self-lubricating machine, designed to run day in and day out without any issues. It is a true workhorse.
The main difference between this upholstery sewing machine and the TechSew 0302 is that this machine has a much more powerful motor capable of doing 3000 stitches per minute.
The speed and strength of this machine will be really evident when you want to sew multiple layers of heavy duty fabrics together – especially at points where multiple pieces of material join together, like the inner corners of a chair.
The machine has a limited lifetime warranty and free tech support for as long as your machine lasts.
- Presser Foot Clearance: 1/2″ (13mm)
- Sewing Capacity: 3/8″ (10mm)
- Maximum Stitch Length: 8mm
- Maximum Sewing Speed: 3000SPM
- Needle Sizes: #18 to #24
- Thread Sizes: #46 to 138
- COMPOUND WALKING FOOT FEEDING MECHANISM: For feeding thick and bulky materials such as leather, heavy fabrics, nylon webbing, canvas, denim and more
- REVERSE FEED: For easy back tacking
- LARGE EXTRA CAPACITY BOBBIN
- AUTOMATIC LUBRICATION SYSTEM
- INCLUDES ASSEMBLED TABLE & ADJUSTABLE SPEED SERVO MOTOR
3) Techsew 3850 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
The Techsew 3850 is a step up above the previous two Techsew models that we reviewed. Sporting a powerful motor, with it, you can sew upholstery, plastics, nylon, and more. It is an ideal machine for tackling heavy and medium materials with ease.
Whether you wish to re-upholster your leather sofa, redo your car seats, make a new seat for your motorbike, or even make some customized horse tack, then you can use this upholstery sewing machine without any issues.
The feeding mechanism is a compound design, which makes it even more powerful and able to handle tough materials. Even if your sofa or armchair requires 1/2″ thick leather, this machine can sew it without any problems.
Like the other TechSew machines, the bobbin is an extra large capacity, and the machine can also feed in reverse to reinforce stitches.
The toe and foot is designed in such a way that there will be no sign of it on the leather once you’re done working on it.
And of course, you can adjust the speed of the 800W motor to control how many stitches you wish to do per minute.
If you already are part of the TechSew ecosystem, the needles in the 3850 are the same as those in the 4100 and 5100 series so you’ll have reverse compatibility.
Things of note:
- Variable speed of 300 to 1800 RPM
- 13 mm maximum stitch length
- Up to 800 stitches per minute
- Very silent machine on the whole
- Heavy duty feeding mechanism - sews up to 1/2" leather thickness
- 10.5" Long Cylinder Bed
- Reverse for easy back-tacking
- Roller Edge Guide
- Includes assembled table & adjustable speed SmartServo motor
4) Juki DU 1181N Top And Bottom Feed Sewing Machine
The highlight of the Juki DU1181N above all else is the top and bottom feed mechanism.
Because it can feed through the bottom of the top, the machine can easily feed a tough material or even a multilayered material without any problems. Your stitches will be nice and uniform regardless of the kind of material.
There is a dual capacity hook mounted on the horizontal axis which will reduce how many times you need to change the bobbin thread. You can also sew a lot quicker.
Whether you’re stitching in the forward or reverse mode, you can vary the pitch of the sewing machine, as well as the height and inclination of the feed dog.
The presser foot is quite higher so you can handle the tougher upholstery materials. The Juki is capable of doing up to 9mm stitches, and automatically lubricates itself, resulting in very low vibrations and minimal noise.
- 2000 stitches per minute maximum speed
- Needle bar stroke: 36.5 mm
- 477 x 178 mm bed
- Max. Sewing Speed: 2000 stitches/minute
- Max. Stitch Length: 9mm
- Unit dimensions (LxWxH): 48 inches by 20 inches by 48 inches
- Needle: DB X 1
- 110V with industrial clutch motor
5) Techsew 2750 Cylinder Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine
The Techsew 2750 is designed for sewing leather goods such as wallets, handbags, boots, upholstery, saddlebags, jackets, vests and other household items. It can also be used for sewing outdoor leather products such as covers, tents, awnings, luggage and sports equipment.
- Compound walking-foot (alternating presser feet + needle feed + feed dog) to help feed thick & bulky materials
- Japanese large capacity hook
- Includes the Techsew SmartServo Motor for complete control at any stitching speed – makes it great for novice and experienced sewers too.
- Drop-in bobbin case – You don’t have to struggle to access the bobbin.
- Reverse Feed to reinforce stitching
- Safety Clutch prevents damage to the rotary hook
- Reinforced U-Table
- Uses needle type 135X17, sizes #18 to #24
- Allows for use of thread up to size #210
- Many types of feet available including Piping feet, zipper feet and more.
- Includes complete table, motor, lamp, bobbin winder, needles, bobbins, tools, oiler, instruction manual
- Presser foot clearance of the machine is 5/8″ (16mm)
- It has Sewing capacity 3/8″ (10mm)
- The Maximum stitch length of the machine is 9 mm
- Cylinder Bed Length is 10″
- Cylinder Arm Diameter is 3″
- Maximum sewing speed of the machine is 2000 SPM
- Needle Sizes is #18 to #24
- Thread sizes are #45 to #210
- It has Smart Servo Motor of 800W, 1HP, 110V
- Compound Walking Foot Feeding Mechanism: For sewing thick and bulky materials such as leather, heavy fabrics, nylon webbing, canvas, denim and more
- 10" cylinder arm
- Japanese Large extra-capacity hook
- Includes assembled table & adjustable speed Servo motor
6) Juki DDL – 8700 Industrial Sewing Machine
Perfectly designed for creating 21st Century fashion, the Juki DDL-8700 is very easy to sew with. It’s low vibration and low noise feature provides the seamstress with a comfortable environment. It’s suitable for sewing light to medium materials such as nylon, polyester and sheer fabrics. It’s mostly used for stitching products such as blouses, shirts, children’s apparel, overalls, lingerie etc.
- It inherits features from other Juki lockstitch machines such as 5500 stitches per minute high-speed performance, ease of operation and reliability. This is the perfect machine if you want to stitch bulk clothes.
- Outstanding responsiveness to materials being sewn – Achieves low tension sewing by flexibly responding to various kinds of materials, to produce consistent quality.
- Easy-to-operate – functions such as a presser foot with higher lift, a light-touch stitch dial, throat plate with marker grooves, ease the operator’s burden and increase their productivity.
- Servo Motor – this component runs silently. It convenient for those who work at home, so that they won’t have to endure the noise associated with industrial machines.
- Maximum stitch length of 5mm (6 stitches per inch)
- Has an adjustable RPM for a wide range option for stitching speed. Whenever you want to slow down to concentrate on how your design looks, you only need to press a button and you’re good to go.
- Has an 11-inch neck to needle arm space.
- Comes assembled so you can begin your sewing right away.
- Application: Medium-weight
- Max. sewing speed: 5500 sti/min
- Max stitch length: 5mm
- Presser foot: By Knee-13mm
- Needle: DB×1 (#14) #9～#18,134 (Nm90)
If you intend to start a home sewing business or to replace your current machine, you should go for the Juki DDL 8700. It will sew fast straight stitches for max productivity. It’s the leading brand in industrial sewing machines.
- Head only ! The table and motor is NOT included (NOT a walking foot)
- This machine is ideal for the people who sew heavier things like professional curtain makers, Jeans, some leathers, Boat canvas Etc....
- Max sewing speed: 4,000rpm Max stitch length: 5mm Needle bar stroke: 25mm
- Feed dog: 3-row Lift of the presser foot: 5.5 - 13mm Needle: DB×1 (#21) #19～#23
- Includes: Thread Stand+ Bobbin Winder+ Oil Pan/Knee Lifter+ Instruction Manual Screw Driver+ Machine Oil.
7) Juki DDL 5550 Industrial Sewing Machine
Made in Japan, the Juki DDL 5550 gives you industrial levels of sewing with one straight stitch. It comes with a servo motor that ensures continuous stitching even at insane speeds of 5500 stitches per minute.
It’s meant to get you working as quickly as possible, so it’s incredibly easy to set up. To make the machine ready to go, you just need to attach the included thread holder, add some oil for the bottle and plug it in. Though it may be pricy for inexperienced sewers, it’s the best machine for professional sewing.
- Stitches: Only designed for single straight stitching (lockstitch)
- Speed: Does 5500 stitches per minute at full speed.
- Bobbin: comes with an inbuilt bobbin winder to work while you sew.
- Finger guard
- Reverse/lock stitch control
- Bobbin thread sensor
- Dimensions: 48” x 36” x 48”
- Comes with a packet of extra needles, a bobbin, a bobbin case, and a screwdriver to fit the machine’s screws. It also has a bottle of oil to lubricate it as you work.
- Servo Motor – This is one of the features that make the Juki DDL 5550 stand out. The incredibly powerful servo motor makes it possible to reach top sewing speeds of 5500 stitches per minute, silently. The machine’s sturdy frame helps minimize its vibrations and keeps the noise to a minimum. The latest model has a control box for the motor that helps optimize power consumption during standby, to help save energy.
- Sure, Thread trimming – Trims evenly and accurately even at the highest speeds
- High Presser foot lift – When working with multiple layers, the extra high presser foot lift makes it easy to sew overlapping pieces.
- Responsive Mechanism – The Juki DDL 5550 has been designed to respond to tiny changes in material to ensure stitch consistency even at top speeds.
8) Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Plus Walking Foot Sewing Machine
This sewing machine comes in handy for those who need a portable, heavy-duty machine when working on heavy canvas and upholstery materials. It features a portable and powerful, straight/zigzag stitch, walking foot machine that is loaded up with the best sewing accessories from Sailrite. It’s the best for boat owners looking to sew sailcloth or canvas on their vessels. It makes things pretty easy, making it a dream to run.
Let’s look at the features that make it stand out:
- Conveniently Portable – You can move it around the home, carry it to your RV or even take it to your boat! Its heavy duty industrial carrying case is well reinforced. You can take it wherever you want to. With its carrying case, you can sew and store it anywhere.
- Power Plus Balance Wheel – The Ultra Feed PLUS package comes with a Sailrite Balance Wheel that has double the power and is double the size of a traditional flywheel. It gives you that extra power and control, with slow speeds that enables you to sew through thick materials at slow speed for precise stitching. This makes it quite powerful even when sewing through ten layers of canvas.
- Zigzag stitch – For sailmakers, a zigzag stitch is an important feature. If you’re looking to repair sails or make them, this feature helps you keep them from fraying.
- Walking foot – The extra wide presser foot helps when working with multiple layers of fabric. Without a presser foot, the bottom layers can slip and make your stitching look horrible. It also gives users a creative edge over their machines.
- Powerful 1/10th hp, 110 v, 1.5 amp AC motor.
- Has a maximum sewing speed of 500 stitches per minute.
- Straight stitch length varies from 0 to 6 mm.
- Zigzag stitch width varies from 0 to 5 mm.
- Bed size: 14.5″ x 7″
This machine will prove it’s worth when you start working with it. In fact, it has been tried with up to 10 layers of heavy canvas and 8 layers of Dacron Sailcloth. The walking foot combined with on the fly zig-zag, forward and reverse really fill anyone’s needs.