First off I would like to thank you for your sharing your extensive expertise. I read @Wizcrafts' sewing machine thread and have been lurking around this message board for weeks. I've definitely learned more about machine mechanics and specs here than anywhere. I really appreciate the breakdown explaining the various machine types, feeds, walking foot vs add-on foot, etc.
I'm a professional seamstress with a market opportunity for alterations in Irish Dance dresses. Think Riverdance. Modern show/competition costumes are constructed with a particular double pleat skirt, with extensive stiffening materials (sometimes plastic or cardboard), on thick fabrics (duck, velvet, heavy satin, sequin, embroidered). This is to create the distinctive flat, sticking-out skirt. The skirt-to-bodice seam easily can be in excess of 1/2" thick. Example of a dress here: https://irishdancedresstoimpress.com/product/dress-11916/
My kids are Irish dancers and since I have done some alterations on their costumes, as well as some friends' costumes (mostly rescues from the damage done by local tailors), I now have many requests. But I can't get that blasted double-pleated skirt-to-bodice seam through my domestic sewing machine. Hence, researching industrial machines. My goodness. I had no idea there were so many possibilities. I asked my group of specialty Irish dance seamstresses what they recommend, but no one comes even close to this group's ability to break down the why's and wherefore's of my options.
I'm pretty sure I've narrowed my search to a true walking foot machine with more than 1/2" clearance under the presser foot -- though some of the seamstresses say they are doing fine with high clearance on a regular double-toe foot. Juki was originally recommended to me by a trusted seamstress, but Wiz raves about his Consew machines so much, my horizons have expanded. :-D
What I'm hoping for here is maybe to connect with someone with a used machine for sale, a dealer, or any and all advice & guidance the group might be able to offer. I think I will need to buy something used to get me through the upcoming fall seasons and then save up for an "ideal" machine.
I know most of my particular craft doesn't apply to leatherworking, but the best mechanical information is here. Perhaps somebody is able to "interpret" my needs, or can point me to a different group that has a closer specialty (but can also explain the mechanical pros and cons). I'm located in Jacksonville, Florida.
Thank you very much for reading my message and considering my questions.