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Preferred sewing machine

Started by 65Buick, September 13, 2019, 04:27:50 am

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I don't know why I hadn't noticed this before - on my Pfaff 545 the walking foot mechanism is quite different than the jukis & adlers etc I've seen on yt.
What's everyone's preferred machine?
And, is a needle/walking foot feed combo better suited for what we do? Sewing leather I notice the top layer tends to get stretched or whatever, so in reality the walking foot isn't doing 100% the job it should.
Maybe I can set my eyes on something to drool over for a few years.


A compound walking foot machine where the need feeds also stops a lot of the uneven stretching. When the fabric is feed  (moves) the needle stays in the fabric and moves with the walking movement therefore holding all layers of fabric together. I find it mush better. I worked with a pfaff 145 for 30 years and it was not a needle feed, I don't think, and had problems with puckering at times. My 1541 keeps the fabric much evener.
Minichillo's Upholstery


All of our machines are compound feed. I have never sewn on anything but a compound so cannot comment. I do know that we sew at
fairly high rates of speed and are sometimes sewing 22 feet of fabric in one go.

When I was doing all the sewing I used to roll the fabric up, line up the seams and then just " steer " the fabric. I sewed at very high rates of speed and by just steering the fabric and keeping it aligned I let the machine do all the work moving the fabric through. When you start getting into a production sewing environment, speed and accuracy is everything and this requires the perfect machine for handling the fabric.

Our twin needle Highlead's are the workhorses of our operation and they have been rock solid performers. Bob Kovar looked at our operation and then set us up with awesome machines. Our single needle Chandler's have also been excellent machines.



Oh boy!  "preferred" term to evaluate a sewing machine??  I understand but it could get complex.

I have Juki, Pfaff, Consew,  brands of compound walking - needle feed type - machines.

There are times when I prefer a machine, but not all.  Why is this? Well machines can be all the same brand/type but a preference can develop because not all are in the same mechanical condition.  Machines like other mechanical devices are technical and if something needs attention it can affect a preference -when there is an option.  Therefore, logically to get a technical sewing job accomplished "now" to quickly release a job, that is one type of preference.

As you can guess what the next statement is;  If all machines, of the same type, are tuned/adjusted
by a professional, then there is usually not a preference based on machine brand. 

So, would I feel negative about a Pfaff 545, not at all.  I respect mine and the 1245, or another owned
brand equally, not normally, but condition might.

Sewing varies as Mojo points out.  The type of sewing puts a different demand on a machine than
a fully custom requirement will, we must admit.  Sewing two straight line lengthy cuts compared to an intricate chair piece of upholstery is just a mere sample for comparison amd not the same task.

When I sew the very intricate piece for a chair or car seat there are so many more turns, stops, starts,
the pieces to a pattern are handled different  (by the operator's hands), one would agree as compared to the canvas sewing aluded to already by Mojo.

Definitely not the same task compared to a cushion for a lazy boy out of a delicate leather.

Which machine is preferred is an important question and there might be some technical reasons -
not related to the brand.  I have to stay sensitive to adjustments of everything and conditions
of the equipment.

Mojo run this by Bob Kovar during one of your casual moments.

Everyone makes important contributions to this issue.



Thanks all for your input. Honestly, I'm a little disappointed. I paid good money for this Pfaff, from a dealer. He knew what I was doing and also sold new Juki machines. Seems to be I would have been better suited with a compound feed from day 1.


Buick65, that is a bummer that a dealer didn't take into consideration the machine you needed.

Bob Kovar took the time to go through our operation and understood exactly what we do. That has allowed him to provide us with
the machines we have needed. Every machine I have ever bought from him he has also requested we send him thread and fabric samples so he can set the machines up for that particular combination.

You may want to consider selling the machine and getting another. Yes you will take a loss on the machine but you may also be losing money in loss production too. Having a machine that does exactly what you need it to do creates a lot of happy moments for a stitcher. :)



65 -

What machine category is your Pfaff 545? 

How is it referenced?  Compound walking foot with needle feed?  I guess the needle feed is
what isn't needed for your work? 

This can really get complex.

The needle feed I use on all of my machines (furniture/auto/marine/ etc.)

Which brings the question:  What brand today is merely a compound walking foot?




This 545 to the best of my knowledge is not a needle feed. The fabric (or material) is moved only by the walking-foot mechanism. The needle simply goes up and down.

Darren Henry

Quote      what we do? Sewing leather I notice the top layer tends to get stretched or whatever   quote

I have never had the luxury of a needle feed machine, but I have dealt with this issue. I have found that backing off the pressor foot tension really minimizes ( or eliminates) this.

to oversimplify the physics; your feed dog is knurled and your top foot  is smooth. There will always be some slipping on the top. If you let the bottom slip a little it will equal the top.
Life is a short one way trip, don't blow it!Live hard,die young and leave no ill regrets!


Oh I agree, there are a lot of different type of machines to sew a lock stitch.

I have heard some specific machines with different descriptions.

for example: 
drop feed
compound feed
needle feed

and more than I know, surely.

When time allows, I will gather some machine manuals.

I think, when a stitch transpires on a 545, the needle does move with the needle feed dog?

Many, don't they just reference a lot of the machines we use as walking feet?

Different machines - different strokes.  Smile


I found this on a search.

-- snip--
Pfaff 545 sewing machine overview:

- Made in Germany (top quality)

- Walking foot with needle feed (feet are clamped on material and needle pierced when feed takes place)
--end snip--

This would make the 545 a compound feed (needle feed) walking foot machine. The needle being in the fabric at the time of feed means the needle must move with the feed dogs. I had a 545 in the shop for a short time. but don't remember the feed type.

65 watch the feeding closely to see if this is the case for your machine. If not there must be different versions of the 545.
Minichillo's Upholstery


"your feed dog is knurled and your top foot  is smooth. There will always be some slipping on the top."

Darren, you answered a question I have had for many years. And this is not the first time you have done this.




Yeah Gene I agree - thank you Darren. Especially in this case with my welt foot you are right - smooth. Not so when I use other feet. I will try that but just thinking about it I think you're right

Paul I'll look closely and I might even take a video and post it on YouTube. I wasn't exactly understanding how needle feed works but what you said makes sense.


September 16, 2019, 09:49:20 pm #13 Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 10:01:42 pm by 65Buick
The videos are already there. This is what I have.
Anyone else can confirm compound feed?

Seems I'm unable to get a photo but it was up to 6 layers leather.


The video shows compound feed. The needle is moving along with the feet.
Minichillo's Upholstery