Leather products never get out of vogue. Thus, you might be a hobbyist or a small business owner working with leather. But even a novice would know that working with leather is no mean task. It’s not as easy to handle as any other fabric. However, the task can be a breeze provided you have an excellent leather sewing machine as your ally. In this write-up, we will walk through various aspects of leather sewing and present some of the best leather sewing machine reviews to help you make a decision
Best Leather Sewing Machine Reviews: Top 3 Picks
Now that we know the basics of the leather sewing machine; let’s walk through our top three picks of best leather sewing machine reviews for you to make an educated choice.
1. Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Designed to sew leather and other similar tough fabrics; this machine makes it to our list because of its unique features. It can be the ultimate machine for any beginner in leather stitching but it also caters quite satisfactorily to advanced leather sewers.
It’s plastic case and automatic functions might make you take the machine lightly, but the machine is designed to give you impeccable work with ease. Despite its top plastic body, the machine is made of heavy-duty aluminum and is sturdy enough to effortlessly sew any heavy-duty material.
A user-friendly machine, it comes with an instruction and guide booklet as well to help you jumpstart the right way. With 18-stitch variations and a maximum stitch length of 4mm; it has all the features and controls that can make even a novice stitch leather like a pro.
With a built-in needle threader, one step buttonhole, automatic bobbin winding, built-in needle cutter, free arm, reverse stitch lever, seven-piece feed dog and plenty of other options make any leather project much easier and less boring than it actually is. The foot presser is of the pressure adjuster variety which increases the scope of material and the thickness that you can stitch on this machine. It comes with plenty of accessories as well like two packs of leather needles, hard case for easy portability etc. which adds to its delight.
On the flip side, you might crave for more built-in stitches as 18 is quite low compared to various other machines. As with any leather sewing machine, you need to change its needle after every project. It might also fall a bit more on the expensive side. But given its features and sturdy build quality; it is an ideal machine without any complications to kickstart your leather craft passion and even graduate to an expert level.
- Constructed with heavy-duty aluminum metal frame.
- Handy reference guide and manual.
- Quiet and evenly-smooth sewing machine.
- Excellent stitch quality
- Suitable for a wide variety of heavy-duty fabrics.
- Front-located reverse lever.
- Automatic needle threader
- top loading bobbin system
- Electronic foot control
- Appreciable speed with 860 stitches per minute.
- Seven piece feed-dog system.
- More on the boxy side; its outward aesthetics is not too sleek and stylish looking.
- The built-in lighting system could have been better and brighter.
- The manual tension adjustment could have been handier.
- Few parts of the machine are made of plastic.
- The compact work-table limits the size of the fabric that can be sewed with it.
- Cord on the foot pedal is not sufficiently long.
- Slightly expensive machine.
If you are looking for a reliable and sensational leather sewing machine at an affordable price; then very few can beat this excellent offering from the reputed brand, Singer. Touted as a true workhorse, this machine is an ideal choice for the experts and professionals of leather stitching. An upgraded version of the Singer 4432 model; this can also be the upgraded version of our previous leather sewing machine.
Constructed of a heavy-duty metal frame, the machine is not only durable but sturdy enough so as not to cramp even while performing heavy workload. The look is classic and its grey hue blends well in any ambiance. Its top handle makes it easy to move around.
Its motor is touted to be sixty percent more powerful than any other heavy-duty machine available in the market. Thus, you can easily sew leather, canvas or just about any thick material. What’s more, you can stitch any delicate material like silk also on this machine with equal aplomb. The noise level is decent enough so as not to cause any irritation or a headache.
Using its rotary dial, you can easily choose any of its 32 built-in stitches. Its sewing speed of 1,100 stitches per minute leaves many high-end similar machines behind in the race. It is the fastest machine available which means you can complete your project in minimal time.
Its automatic needle threader not only saves times but frees you from the hassle of threading the needle. The transparent top drop-in bobbin is not only easy to load, but you can also easily monitor its thread supply. With its automatic reverse stitch feature; you can reinforce the stitches effortlessly.
To add to your delight, it comes with a whole bounty of accessories. 4 Snap-on pressure feet for all types of stitching, five pack of leather needles; seam ripper/lint brush; clearance plate, dust cover, spool pin felt; auxiliary spool pin, owner’s manual, screwdrivers etc. Ensure that you do not need to purchase any accessory separately.
On the flip side, the machine gets at top speed in an instant and then slows down which means, it is challenging for any novice or inexperienced person. It can be used in the home as well as a commercial space. Overall, with its pricing less than $200; it is a leather sewing machine that no expert can go wrong with.
- A cost-effective and user-friendly machine.
- Ideal for beginners as well as intermediate leather sewers.
- Excellent stitch quality.
- Numerous stitch options.
- ideal for a wide variety of delicate as well as thick fabrics.
- Have the strongest motor seen so far.
- With few its build of plastic; it is not cent percent heavy-duty.
- It can prove restrictive for advanced professional work.
- Aesthetics could have been better.
This is another industrial grade machine whose features and functionalities will leave you super impressed.
Like the Singer machine, this sewing machine can stitch any fabric, be it light or heavy-weight like those for sails, covers, vinyl, upholstery, leather, tarpaulins etc.
Despite its professional build with high-quality heavy metal; it is extremely silent to work, thanks to its quiet Servo motor. The silence level of this machine is exemplary. However, you might feel some vibrations though they do not interfere with the work.
Unlike most other leather sewing machine, this model offers only the straight stitch options. You might not rue this drawback as leather mostly takes a straight stitch. However, the machine compensates this lack of diversity with an additional kitty of accessories like an extra-large bobbin, adjustable stitch length, reverse stitch lever and lubrication system.
Unlike most machines which offer a maximum stitch length of around 5-6 mm; this machine offers you the maximum stitch length of 10 mm. It also has a unique tread release finger which is ideal for heavy threads used to sew leather. The bobbin is so designed that you can remove it without removing the material being sewed. Its centralized lubrication makes maintenance of the machine easy. Apart from it, you find all accessories and features that you would find on a high-end leather sewing machine.
Looking into its flip side; the machine needs a proper table and motor for smooth and flawless performance; its manual guide also is on the unsatisfactory side though is not the deal-breaker. The machine also needs constant maintenance like oiling after each use. Even if it is left unused; it must be oiled every couple of weeks.
Being an out and out industrial grade machine; it is an expensive investment, but it proves its mettle as being the horse for the long haul. It’s a machine that attracts minimal customer complaints. Thus, any professional can purchase it with high confidence.
- Extremely heavy-duty machine with high speed.
- Can easily sew several layers of any fabric of any thickness.
- Exceptionally silent operation.
- Gear driven hook mechanism.
- Centralized lubrication for easy oiling and maintenance.
- Longest stitch length available in the market with easy adjustability in reverse as well as forward stitch length.
- Triple feed mechanism to avert any fabric lifting or squirting while sewing.
- Locking stitch regulator
- On-board ruler
- Bright sewing lamp
- Need a motor and table for efficient performance
- Ideal for advanced leather sewers only.
- Has only one straight stitch.
- Is not portable
- Needs regular maintenance even when unused.
Why is a leather sewing machine mandatory?
You might wonder as to why you require a specialized machine for leather sewing. There are plenty of reasons for it. Foremost, leather is not only extremely expensive but is vastly different from all other materials. It might be extremely durable and sturdy material but is notoriously difficult to work with. Let’s look at some of the unique characteristics of leather.
- Structure– Unlike other fabrics which have a network of fibers; leather has a dense structure. It is also notoriously averse to having it pierced and thus a needle inevitably leaves a permanent and visible hole in the material. Any wrong stitch and the entire material will get completely ruined.
- Size– With an average thickness of 1mm to 3 mm; leather is thicker than most other sewing materials. Depending upon the size of the animal; its size can be the largest piece you are working with. It also carries a sizeable weight. This implies that no ordinary machine can handle it seamlessly.
- Friction– Because of the sticky feel characteristic of leather; it tends to stick to the throat plate or the presser foot of any standard machine. Consequently, not only will the material get stuck and make seamless stitch look impossible but it will also leave you with those problematic holes to deal with. Hence, the machine needs to be strong enough to give you a longer length stitch effortlessly as they work best with leather.
- Cost– Leather is a natural product obtained from the hides of animals. because of this, it has some natural blemishes and imperfections which needs to be cleverly utilized to enhance the aesthetic charm. Both these features make leather an extremely expensive material to work with. Thus, you cannot afford a single mistake while handling this material.
All these characteristics of leather make it an impossible material to stitch with an ordinary machine. You need a specialized heavy-duty sewing machine that can handle the thickness and sturdiness of leather like a breeze. What’s more, even the faux leather needs the same treatment as a genuine leather.
A leather sewing machine has a presser foot specially designed for leather stitching. They also give you a longer stitch which makes the leather products more secure and durable. Their seams are also much stronger. The grip stitches are also much sturdier which makes way for an impeccable leather product. Thus, a leather sewing machine is a mandatory requirement for leather stitching.
Tips on selecting the right leather sewing machine
Now that we know the importance of a right leather sewing machine, let’s look at some important tips to keep in mind while selecting a leather sewing machine best suited for your needs.
- Purpose- Foremost, you need to be clear as to whether you wish to do leather crafting merely as a hobby or as a business. Thankfully, you have the option of choosing between a domestic and a commercial leather sewing machine. The industrial version would do a heavy duty sewing of leather on a daily basis while the domestic version is meant for light work occasionally.
- Build quality– This is another important consideration as leather is quite strong and sturdy. A lightweight body construction of the machine, crafted mostly out of plastic, is unlikely to provide perfect leather sewing and will not last. Since the machine does cost; it is best to opt for durable and heavy-duty construction from quality materials like heavy-duty metals. They offer an extra stability while stitching.
- Motor– A motor is the heart of your leather sewing machine. Its power will determine how many layers of leather or other thick material like denim or synthetic materials would pass through it seamblessly. As far as leather sewing machine is considered; the mechanical version packs an extra punch than the computerized version for domestic purpose.
- Needles– There are specialized needles available which give you excellent results in leather stitching. There are different types of needles available for different types of leather so that each pass them seamlessly. Regardless of the leather fabric, the needles need to be changed frequently as they dull out quickly compared to other material needles.
- Presser feet-This is an important consideration as we know that leather tends to stick on them and cover plate thereby not moving easily. Specialized pressure feet for leather stitching gives you the option to choose between adjustable presser foot pressure and high presser foot lift as per your convenience.
- Types of stitches, length and built-in options- Layers of leather stick together for more duration with longer stitches. Thus, your leather sewing machine must give you stitch length adjustment choices; a variety of built-in stitches as well as variation in stitches including the zig-zag style. This would increase your flexibility in using the sewing machine with other materials like denim.
- Stitching speed- This is another consideration as high speed will enable you to finish your work faster. The top-rated machines have the stitching speed of 1,100 stitches per minute.
- Work area illumination- Leather needs extreme care and caution as you cannot afford any hole in them. A good leather sewing machine usually comes with two to three LED lights which ensure proper illumination of the work area for impeccable stitching.
- Skill level and ease of use- The machine must also match your expertise level. A beginner must always opt for a simple machine which is easy to use. If you are an expert; then you can opt for expensive and complicated machines.
- Budget- The cost of the machine will inevitably vary with the manufacturer’s reputation, features of the machine and its model. A balance needs to be struck here and budget should not force you to settle for a model that would not serve your intended purpose.
Leather Sewing Tips & Tricks
Now let’s go through some valuable tips and tricks that need to be imprinted on all our mind while working with leather and sewing them.
- While cutting leather; you need to be extra cautious and measure everything twice. Unlike most fabrics, it lacks the traditional grain lines and any error can prove costly.
- Patterns must be cut only one layer at a time using a rotary cutter. Marking pens or tailor chalks are a more viable option for drawing or marking on leather than marking wheels or traditional transfer papers.
- Fitting all leather pieces properly beforehand is important as leather does not allow any do-overs while sewing. All holes will remain permanent.
- Pins are difficult to use on leather and will inevitably leave holes. Thus, it’s best to consider its alternatives like paper clips, binder clips or even special clips designed for use on leather or quilting.
- Seam finishes are not mandatory with leather products as they do not fray. However, you can hammer them with a rubber mallet for an organic look.
- The thread tension needs to be perfect for the stitches to look right in leather. They must be tested first in scraps before being used on the original product.
- You must always use long stitches so that the leather material does not weaken.
- It is imperative to use only specialized needles meant for leather sewing. They must be changed frequently as well since they get damaged easily. It’s best to use a new needle with every new project.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leather Sewing Machines
Can I sew leather with any sewing machine?
Few sewers do claim of sewing leather with ordinary machines, but it is a challenging task. You need to face risks and hassles of light and fragile stitches; holes in leather; leather material sticking on the presser feet, etc. Moreover, only lightweight leather can be stitched with an ordinary sewing machine. The heavy ones will need a specialized machine. All this can be conveniently eliminated by simply using a specialized machine meant for leather stitching.
Do I need special accessories for leather sewing?
The leather is a unique material that is vastly different to work with than other fabrics. It does require some special accessories like leather needles, leather clips, double-sided tapes etc. However, while few like needles have no alternatives; many accessories can be customized. As you can attach Teflon on the foot presser to tackle the sticking properties of leather. Paper clips are a wonderful option to pins to hold leather pieces together.
Can beginners do leather stitching?
Yes, a beginner can easily do leather stitching, provided he has done his basic learning and research; had accumulated all basic leather accessories to eliminate all possible errors and has the right leather sewing machine which is specially built with beginners in mind.
Working with leather and creating beautiful products out of it can be a truly exciting and rewarding venture both as a hobby and on a professional level. This is best achieved with an impeccable leather sewing machine as your ally.
Thankfully, you have plenty of the best leather sewing machines available in the market today to sew any variety of level and to be used by any person of any skill level. All you need to do is select the one that best matches your skill level, quality of leather and all other specifications involved.
We hope to have given you a sound foundation to get started! Any comments or queries from your side would be highly appreciated by us. Do chime in below!