I've never used a hand cranked machine, but I did learn to sew on a treadle machine. I had one after I married, for many years, but lost it in a house fire, and how I miss it. I've never seen an electric machine that sewed as well on thick fabrics or multiple layers.
Hi Jan. I am so sorry to hear about your fire. This little singer can sew through several layers of denim as long as I use the right needle. I made the gauntlets with it.