I have had to wrestle with this question again....and I hope this time I have purchased the solution. That is a lot of pressure for an inanimate object to have to take on, I realize, but I just want to be able to sit down to make a bag and not have issues with a machine, even one that claims the title "Heavy Duty"! If I were of unlimited means, I could purchase a $1500.00 machine that says it will do the job. The $150.00 one could not perform consistently, even though "heavy duty" is part of its name.
So, once again, I have purchased a new sewing machine, closer in price to the $150.00 than to the $1500.00, made in Japan rather than China, with a wonderful reputation, wonderful reviews, and the exciting inclusion of 'leatherwork' needles...surely it will be heavy duty enough to make bags without coughing up thread all of the time.
And I have to admit, as I was deleting pictures from my camera yesterday (it had hit the full mark), I did realize that I have made and sold a good number of bags, and clothing pieces, that were all created on that lesser "heavy duty" machine. I guess it deserves to get put in the shop and repaired....I worked its mechanical ass off, and pushed it when I should have stopped and gotten a sharper needle, or an unbent needle, or a different gauge needle (needles are much more important and in ways that I didn't consider before making sewing my business). I have definitely learned a great deal from the needles, and I am much more attuned to when I need to change them, and why, and what can happen if I ignore the signs and keep on sewing.....bad things, very bad things, I tell you!
I suppose, given the amount of sewing that I do and the wide, vast variety of fabrics, textures, straps, thick layers, etc. of 'raw materials' that I use for my pieces, it will serve me well to have four machines...two for apparel and two for bags or other "heavy duty" projects. I am looking forward to receiving my new machine this week. I will run back to my studio and plug it in and see what I can do....I am running low on bags and have not been able to make more...I can't afford to risk ruining my apparel machines by asking them to do a task that they are not able to do. It's exciting....I've never invested such an amount of money for a sewing machine...and I'll be expecting a lot in return. I will be sure to post pictures of my sewing machine posse and let you know how the newbie stands up to its reputation, save the longevity thing.
Until then I will make clothes and finish getting the bags I have completed into my online stores. Its not like I could ever run out of things to do....I bid you peace and plenty, love and light....none of which you can get from any machine, not even a "heavy duty" one!