Can My Old Japanese Machine Sew Leather?

panspipesJanuary 25, 2014

Sorry if this is redundant. My computer is cramping up and it was hell navigating old topics/posts.
I'm currently learning how to do auto upholstery.
I don't have the money for an industrial machine yet, but if my old Ward's Signature can get thru just a few bucket seats I can earn enough to get an old industrial Juki or something.
She's a Montgomery Ward's Signature URR 988 circa-1958
Do you think I can count on the old girl?
I use it often and always treat her right. It's a beautiful machine and runs like a Rolls Royce. It's strong, quiet and smooth as silk. I bet I could make a pillow case with a glass of wine sitting on the top. Seriously.
Otherwise, do any of you know of an old 60's-70's Japanese built models that were really tough, so I can look for one on Ebay/Craigslist?
Thank you for your time.

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Generally speaking, the old metal machines can handle anything, as long as it fits under the foot. Walking Foot Industrials can fit 3/4" to an 1" under the foot. Just use a larger needle if you need it.
The only way to know for sure, is if you can get a small piece of the material you'll be sewing and test it.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:06AM
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Boy, did that picture bring up some fantastic memories! That was SO similar to the machine that I learned on! It had been my mom's, purchased around that same time frame (late '50s). I took it to college with me and she got a newer machine. It's now with my SIL, and still going strong.

I sewed vinyl on it, and faux leather, so I'd try a small piece and see how she does. You will want to get a good needle for leather, you'll break too many with your standard 10's or 12's.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:41AM
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Thanks for the info! I didn't have any leather to try out on it. I'm just trying to plan way ahead while I'm still studying upholstery.
It would be SO nice if I could use this machine so I can just get straight to work A.S.A.P.
That photo isn't really my machine, by the way. Just found it online.
Mine looks just like it though, except mine is cream on the door at the needle end and on the top "hood" part.
It's so pretty I sometimes leave it out with it's light on just because I like looking at it.
How weird is that?!
It's just that with the lines & curves, the paint and chrome, and the fine mechanical craftsmanship, it's like a cross between a vintage Timex and a '62 Coupe DeVille. :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 1:32PM
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It depends on the thickness of the leather and the way the seams run. And a really good leather needle.

Thin leather - no problem
Medium leather - arrange the seams so they don't meet and you'll be OK
Heavy leather - not going to do it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 7:48AM
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