Why Choose the Professional Zigzag Industrial Sewing Machine?

Item # X-HT-300377

A precision piece of well-engineered machinery, the Sailrite® Professional Sewing Machine is a production machine that can sew all day, every day with a best-in-class power transfer system. With its slow speed power and control thanks to the Workhorse® Servo Motor, which allows you to sew at top speeds as well as stitch by stitch, this is the only sewing machine you need for your large sail and canvas projects. This is a first-rate sewing machine backed by Sailrite’s reputation for superior quality and customer support. Let’s take a closer look at what sets the Professional apart, and why you should consider it for your sail and canvas sewing needs.

The Professional Sewing Machine

The Professional fills a much-needed hole in the zigzag industrial sewing machine industry. It’s for sewers who need more underarm space than a smaller, portable machine can offer, but it’s much less expensive than the industrial machines found in the next sewing machine bracket, such as the Consew SKZ-6 and the Adler 166. We recommend the Professional for sail lofts and individuals sewing for boats up to 60 feet. The extra underarm space and exceptional motor power is required to successfully sew professional-looking sails of this size.

Noteworthy Features & Components

Sailrite offers two versions of the Professional Sewing Machine. The long arm model features a 20-1/2-inch arm for easily accommodating large sails and big canvas projects. It’s most often chosen by professional sailmakers and medium-sized sail shops over the smaller arm. The Professional standard model has a 10-3/4-inch arm and is a great choice for sailmakers, small sail lofts as well as DIYers who want to sew or repair their own sails. The walking foot consists of wider-than-usual Inside and Outside Presser Feet. The wider feet are designed to better hold down slippery material like sailcloth and keep the material in place while sewing. The wider feet also allow for the impressive 10mm wide 4-point zigzag stitch, a huge advantage when sewing large sails, as discussed in the next section.

Like most industrial sewing machines, the Professional has a gear-driven rotary hook. The precise timing of the hook as it rotates in one fluid direction around the stationary bobbin and catches the thread minimizes fouled stitching and allows for higher operating speeds. Our sewing technicians precisely adjust and set the timing of the rotary hook during the tuning and testing process. You’ll enjoy a quieter sewing experience with a rotary hook than an oscillating hook machine. Rotary hook sewing machines also run more smoothly compared to the back and forth motion of an oscillating hook.

A close-up look at the gear-driven rotary hook.

The Professional accommodates a style M bobbin. This is a large bobbin size for industrial sewing machines and it allows for continuous sewing for long periods of time without having to refill the bobbin. The machine comes with an attached bobbin winder mechanism that lets you wind bobbins while you sew and without unthreading your machine. This is the reason for the two-cone thread stand detailed in the “Top-Quality Parts & Add-Ons” section. You can also wind bobbins without running the machine by disengaging the Posi-Pin®, also discussed in a later section.

Sewing Versatility

The Professional offers three stitch settings to accommodate all your sewing needs: 4-point zigzag, 2-point zigzag and straight stitch. A 4-point zigzag stitch consists of three straight stitches on each diagonal “leg” of the stitch. On each diagonal leg, the needle punches through the fabric four times resulting in three straight stitches between the four “points,” hence a 4-point zigzag. A 2-point zigzag stitch has only one straight stitch from point to point creating the back-and-forth diagonal zigzag pattern. A straight stitch is the most basic sewing machine stitch consisting of one point between each linear stitch, which results in a straight row of stitches.

Samples of (from left to right) the 4-point zigzag, 2-point zigzag and straight stitch

The 4-point zigzag stitch has become the standard stitch in modern sailmaking, and the Professional can sew a 4-point zigzag up to 10mm in width. The benefits of sewing sails with a 4-point zigzag stitch is that it’s a strong stitch, which can be sewn at full 10mm width, with shorter exposed segments of thread between the points of the zigzag. This greatly reduces the chances of your thread getting snagged or catching on something, compared to a 2-point zigzag.

Another benefit of an extra-wide, 4-point zigzag stitch is that you can sew fewer rows of stitching than with a narrower 2-point stitch, without losing seam strength, making it a great time-saver. Instead of placing two, three or four rows of 2-point zigzag stitches in a seam, you can simply sew one or two rows of 4-point zigzags, depending on the width of the sail's seam. This is especially helpful in spinnakers as only one pass through the machine is required per seam. When you need to sew a 2-point zigzag stitch, switching from the 4-point cam to the included 2-point cam is a simple process.

The 2-point cam (left) and 4-point cam (right).

The Professional can also sew straight stitches up to 5mm in length. This is ideal for sailmakers who also sew canvas projects for their boats. Everything from biminis and dodgers to sail bags, winch covers and more are sewn with a straight stitch. The extra underarm space of the long arm model makes it a great machine for sewing large awnings and even camping tents. Having the straight stitch option makes the Professional your go-to sewing machine for all your large sailmaking and canvaswork projects.

Not only is the Professional ideal for sewing thick fabric assemblies and multiple layers of sailcloth, you can easily sew lighter fabrics and thinner assemblies with the machine as well. This is done by dialing back the tension and changing to a smaller needle and thread size. The machine accommodates needle sizes 10-22 along with compatible thread weights, up to V-138. For sewing sails, we recommend V-92 thread, though the machine can handle V-138 thread with appropriately thick fabric assemblies.

Our Exclusive Power System

Powering the Professional is Sailrite’s exclusive Workhorse™ Servo Motor. When sewing sails and other dense materials, it’s vital for your sewing machine to have slow speed control so that you can go stitch by stitch when necessary. That’s where the Workhorse Servo Motor comes in. This 550 watt, 3/4 horsepower motor has incredible slow speed power and control. The motor, in conjunction with a cogged timing belt and the oversized Stitch PRO Balance Wheel, can sew stitch by stitch as well as up to 1,108 stitches per minute. It provides fluid motor-to-machine power transfer with high torque, even from a complete stop.

The Workhorse Servo Motor has fully adjustable speed settings. This means you can lower the setting of the motor’s maximum speed, press down fully on the pedal, and absolutely restrict the number of stitches per minute of sewing. This feature is crucial for sewers who are more comfortable at slower sewing speeds or who need more control when sewing with specialty materials or tackling large projects. It’s advisable when sewing thick assemblies of sailcloth (i.e. corner patches) to sew at slower speeds, another benefit of having the Workhorse Servo Motor.

The Workhorse Servo Motor (shown without the belt cover) gives the Professional its slow speed power and control.

The ability to go stitch by stitch with precision and accuracy, without worry of losing power and skipping stitches, is a major selling feature of the Professional machine. The motor’s 12-coil design — compared to other common servo motors that only have six or nine coils — provides smoother operation and more linear slow speed control. When sewing multiple layers of sailcloth, the needle can heat up and break the thread. That’s why it’s crucial to be able to go slow and maintain control.

The Professional is equipped with Sailrite’s patented Posi-Pin® Clutching System (Patent #7438009). It’s a modern approach to a safety clutch that comes standard on all Sailrite sewing machines. This clutch system consists of a specially designed pin that fits through a hole in the balance wheel and into a matching hole in the shaft bushing. The pin engages and disengages the drive system, creating a constant positive connection between the balance wheel, bushing and drive shaft. This connection is what enables the system to have absolutely zero slippage regardless of how fast or slow you sew. Disengaging the Posi-Pin from the balance wheel also allows you to wind bobbins without operating the balance wheel and needle, reducing wear and tear on the machine’s internal parts.

Top-Quality Parts & Add-Ons

The presser foot pedal lift makes it quick and easy to raise and lower the machine’s presser foot. Simply depress your foot on the pedal. It’s a convenient and nice setup and eliminates the cumbersome task of reaching behind the machine to use the hand lever to raise and lower the presser foot. You can get a maximum lift of 7/16 inch (11mm) and the pedal lift comes standard with both the long arm and standard model.

An industrial table and industrial thread stand are included with the machine. The table provides a solid workstation made from sturdy plywood with a melamine laminated surface and adjustable height table legs. The table also comes with a drawer for storing spare bobbins, needles and other sewing notions within easy reach. The two-cone thread stand allows you to sew your project using one cone while you wind bobbins with the other — another convenient time-saver as you don’t have to stop sewing in order to wind bobbins.

The regular and long arm Professional Sewing Machiens with industrial table and thread stand.

The Professional has several add-ons that are sold separately and that greatly aid in your sewing experience. The Zipper Foot Set Left for Professional (#100922) allows you to sew right next to hard objects. It exposes the needle on the right, making it easier to sew bolt rope, zippers, large piping and more with a straight stitch. The Sailrite Swing-Away Binders, available in a variety of binding widths to suit all your projects, work with the Professional and enable you to effortlessly fold and sew binding onto your fabric edge for a professional, finished look to your canvas projects. You can also use the 2-inch binder to sew Dacron sail tape on sail edges.

The Tuning & Testing Process

Our Sailrite Professional Sewing Machines receive hands-on, individual attention at our Indiana manufacturing facility. In fact, it’s more accurate to think of them as custom-refined machines rather than mass-produced. Once we receive the machine head from our overseas manufacturing partner, each Professional is individually fine-tuned, calibrated and tested by our department of Sewing Machine Technicians. They add key components proprietary to Sailrite, such as the Oversized Stitch PRO Balance Wheel, the Posi-Pin system, needle guard, belt cover and more.

A Sewing Machine Technician at our Indiana facility tunes a Professional Long Arm Machine.

The presser feet, cams and various components are set and tested for correctness and maximum effectiveness. The cams control the relationship of the needle movement to the feed dog and walking foot operation. If these cams are not set correctly, the machine will not produce optimum zigzag stitches. This is a vital part of the tuning process and our technicians spend a lot of time setting the cams to perfect material feeding. We get the machine tuned and running well so that once it arrives on your doorstep and you get the table set up and motor installed, you are ready to start sewing.

Another component our technicians spend a lot of time on is adjusting the rotary hook timing and getting the needle bar height set just right. Once these components are set, the technician runs the machine and tests the rotary hook at various speeds and stitch lengths to confirm the quality and consistency of all parts. If anything is off, the technician will tweak and adjust the settings until satisfied that everything is perfect.

A technician uses a Sailrite business card to test the evenness of forward and reverse stitch lengths and makes necessary adjustments.

Once all the fine-tuning is completed, the final step is the sew off. This involves sewing various fabric samples with the machine to see how the stitches look and make sure the machine is performing to our very high standards. Every Professional is signed off by one of our highly trained technicians who has at least five years of experience working on Sailrite sewing machines and has passed a rigorous training course. When you unbox your machine, you’ll notice a hand-signed tag signifying that your Professional was personally inspected, fine-tuned and tested by a technician at our Indiana manufacturing facility.

Every Professional Sewing Machine is individually tuned and calibrated before being shipped to customers.

Unmatched Customer Support

When you purchase a sewing machine from Sailrite, it’s not the end of our relationship, it’s just the beginning. Not only is the Professional backed by a two-year limited warranty, but we will also be here to help you with whatever you need for the lifetime of your machine. Our knowledgable team of customer service representatives is ready to answer all of your questions about your machine. You can call or email us and we’ll start a support case for you. Our crew will work diligently to answer your questions so you can get back to doing what you love — sewing.

Along with the machine, the industrial table and all the other extras, you’ll receive a full-color guidebook with instructions on setting up your table and getting started sewing. It also includes a comprehensive section on extended maintenance and troubleshooting. After years of use, it’s completely normal for your machine to require a few adjustments. We provide you with detailed text and photos showing how to make these adjustments and perform common tuning. Our guidebook empowers you with the knowledge and skills to maintain your Professional Sewing Machine yourself.

The in-depth Professional Guidebook will help you get started sewing on your machine.

You can feel confident that you are purchasing a machine from people who not only know sewing machines but know the sailing and boating industry. Sailrite’s roots are in sailmaking. In 1969, our founder, Jim Grant, sewed his own sails to race in the Cal 20 National regatta. He took second place with his homemade sails, sparking interest from other sailors wanting to sew their own sails, and the rest — as they say — is history. To learn more about our company’s humble beginnings and read a timeline of our major milestones and achievements, visit our “About Us” page.

Since then, we’ve grown into an invaluable resource in the sailmaking and marine sewing community, not only providing tools, supplies and custom sail kits, but also expert knowledge and advice on DIY sewing, which we pass along to our customers. We’ve pioneered the market for sail kits. Modern computer aided processes ensure maximum performance with the draft, twist, entry and exit curves precisely calculated and positioned in each sail.

A spinnaker constructed from a Sailrite sail kit and using Sailrite's how-to video. Courtesy of customers Lemert and Brenda Kent.

At Sailrite, sailing isn’t just our business, it’s our passion. And we take great pride in presenting our customers with the highest quality sewing machines, tools and supplies to sew beautiful, well-made sails.