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Juki Du 1181N Review: Industrial Sewing Machine Or Not?

I have been doing sewing projects of all kinds over the years. Sewing is my passion, so I tend to be very dedicated to learning thoroughly about everything that falls into the topic of sewing. One of those topics is sewing machines which I can proudly say I have owned many kinds of for many years now. And lately, I needed an industrial heavy-duty machine, as I have started to try out different projects with thicker materials, like leather, vinyl, etc.

Juki DU1181n was the sewing machine that kept appearing as the favorite industrial sewing machine amongst experienced sewers. So, I decided to dig deeper and do some research revolving around this model, to see if it will suit me. I was so fascinated by it that I had to buy it and do my own little perfect leather bags.

I was not disappointed. Juki DU1181N is a heavy-duty industrial machine designed to cut through double or triple-layered materials like butter. Also, it can stitch through difficult and thick materials without having any misshapes or losing the seam quality, so yeah you will be hard-pressed to find a better machine for sewing heavy materials

It only does a straight stitch; but you can adjust the stitch pitch to sew forwards and in reverse, which is a feature not many sewing machines have.

Key Takeaways

  • If you need a machine that can sew through thick materials, you need an industrial machine.
  • Bottom and top feed machine is an industrial machine for heavy-duty stitching, which is like walking foot, but it is not the same thing.
  • Make sure you get it with the machine head, motor, stand, table, sewing light, drawer, and everything else you need to get started.
  • With materials like delicate leather or vinyl, you should use only larger stitches otherwise it will tear the fabric.

Juki Du 1181N a Heavy Duty Versatile Sewing Machine


The Juki DU1181N is a heavy-duty industrial machine designed to sever double or triple-layered commodities. Additionally, it can sew through challenging and thick materials without creating any mishaps or losing the integrity of the seam.


The company Juki has manufactured many designs of sewing machines. They all have many great and useful features. It is originally a company that started its factory in Japan. They are now a well-known brand of sewing machines. During their development and upgrading, they have achieved to open factories in many other countries worldwide. Their machines are known to be both sturdy and durable. The company produces many models of sewing machines, like:

  • Household sewing machines
  • Tailor-use sewing machines
  • Frame-type quilting machines
  • Lock sewing machines
  • Industrial machines

Juki DU1181n in particular is one of the greater industrial heavy-duty machines they have. It is a one-needle masterpiece. It has a potent bottom and top feed mechanism. Additionally, the Juki Du 1181n does its lubrication process automatically, so you can rest assured that it will always be maintained. In my opinion, I found that very convenient because I can be forgetful about those things sometimes.

The maximum speed of the machine is 2000 stitches per minute. The length of its stitches is 9 mm.

Since it is an industrial sewing machine, it leans more on the heavy side, so you will need two people to lift, move or assemble it. But that does not indicate that it is not portable. I needed a little help while putting it into place, but that might not be the case with you.

  • Product dimensions: 48 x 36 x 48
  • Product weight: 205 pounds
  • Body material: heavy-duty material


Let’s get into the features of this powerful machine. It is a feature-rich rig that honestly made the machine very enjoyable to work with. I needed an industrial machine for my vinyl and leather bags, which the other home machines I owned made a mess of. They puckered the fabric, tore wholes into it, and whatnot.

One of the features you should pay attention to while looking for an industrial heavy-duty machine is the walking foot. Juki DU1181n is an industrial bottom and top feed dog sewing machine, which is very similar to a walking foot, but it lacks the third feed which the walking foot owns. Juki DU 1181n only has the top and bottom feed which allows the machine to have a better grip on the fabric and not allow the bottom layer to shift while sewing.

The bottom feed in combination with the upper feed walks across the fabric and pulls the thread through evenly on the top layer as well as the bottom layer of material, especially with thicker or double-layered materials. But after I started using it with vinyl, I noticed that the ridges on the upper feed dog can cause damage to the vinyl a little bit. So, you should be mindful if you plan on using this machine with smooth materials, or you can get a smooth-feeding upper dog as an addition.


I was used to owning and working with more complicated machines in the past. So, I was pleasantly surprised to experience a machine on which the threading process is very simple. I needed to use a thicker thread for the top stitches on the vinyl handbags I was sewing, and it worked perfectly with the Juki DU1181n. The thick thread gives a strong hold on the thick fabric, and also it gives it a beautiful, finished look with the thick top stitches.

It is an advantage that the top of the machine has two thread spool holders. That way you can have a spool of thin thread as well as a spool of thick thread up there at the same time. It will hold any kind of weight and size of the thread spool. The Juki DU1181n sewing machine does not have a thread cutter, so it will be convenient to hold a pair of scissors nearby at all times.


Juki DU1181n is a straight-stitching industrial machine. It has a dial that helps you adjust the length and the width of the stitches, so you can use smaller or larger stitches for different projects, depending on the material you are using. With some materials, like vinyl, it is never a smart move to use a smaller stitch since it can leave holes behind on the fabric, which will cause it to tear and ruin it.

The machine also has a reverse leveler, which not many industrial sewing machines own. So, when you need to do the back-and-forth stitch, this is the part you are going to use for that.


The machine is equipped with a bobbin winder on its backside, which is a double capacity hook. For you to thread it you must pull the thread through the guide and to the bobbin to wind it. One thing that fascinated me about the bobbing winder is that, while you are pushing on the foot of the machine, the needle goes up and down with it. So, the great fact is that you can do two tasks at the same time, you can be sewing, and at the same time, you will be winding the bobbin. The bobbins are a size M, they can hold a lot more thread if it is a thinner thread.

The Walking Foot

For anyone who is looking to start sewing projects that require thicker materials, and is on the search for a heavy-duty, industrial walking foot machine the Juki DU 1181 N would be an ideal choice. Even though it is wanted and needed so much, they can be really expensive and tough on the budget. Juki DU1181n is a machine that fits those requirements, it does a similar function as the walking foot, but it is less expensive. The Juki Du 1181 N’s walking foot has triple action material feed.

It has:

Bottom feed – the feed dog moves the bottom layer of fabric.

Top feed- a foot that is built from two pieces, the outer and inner parts. They walk look like two human feet walking.

Needle feed- walks along with the inner foot, while advancing the material along.

The triple feed allows the machine to stitch through and over ridges when the project requires the fabric to be sewn into folds.

And when it comes to Juki DU1181n, although it is similar to a walking foot, it is not the same. Juki Du 1181n has a bottom and top feed, but the needle and the center of the foot do not advance. That’s why all the pulling of the material through the stitches has to be done by the outer foot and the dog feed. Juki DU1181n is not as forceful as a true walking foot machine.

This shows us that although Juki Du 1181 n is not an original walking foot, it can sew through thick yet delicate fabrics like fine leather, vinyl, velour, etc.

Knee feed lifter

While sewing we need our hands to be free as much as possible so we can adjust and have control of the fabric we are sewing. The knee feed lifter gives us the option to be able to keep our hands on the fabric all the time. We use our knee to lower or lift the foot to change position, add ruffles of the same fabric or add more fabric to the piece we are sewing.

Juki Du 1181n is equipped with this feature, so you can freely sew bigger projects that require more pieces to be added.

Final words

The Juki Du 1181n is a great pleasure to work with. A simple yet very powerful sewing machine. I would not trade it for anything when it comes to choosing a machine for my leather projects. If you plan on starting projects that require double or more layered materials, or you plan on sewing thick materials, this machine is a wonderful choice for you, I promise you will not be disappointed with its speed, durability, perfect stitches, and seams. Overall, when choosing a Juki sewing machine you can never be in the wrong since they never disappoint.

Further Reading

Some other blogs you can read explain whether you can dry clean jeans. Or one explains if viscose can stretch.

There are also some tips on how to shrink-fitted hats.