While leather products are some of the most durable ones you can make, they are also some of the most difficult. But If you’re like me and want to make leather crafts at home, standard sewing machine might not do the trick.
If you don’t have a good leather sewing machine, you’ll find it difficult to work with it and potentially ruin a very expensive piece of material.
So that’s why we have made this handy guide to help you make the decision that might make sewing leather that much easier for you!
1. Janome HD3000 Sewing Machine
Janome HD3000 heavy-duty sewing machine can sew through multiple layers of fabric, denim, and leather with ease. Don’t let the hard plastic housing fool you. This sewing machine packs a serious punch.
It’s even possible to sew through 6 layers of cotton.
Just imagine having a sewing machine that does everything you want it to do and more. My favorite thing about this sewing machine is that it makes sewing feel like you’re cutting through butter. Not only that, but the result you get with this sewing machine will be consistent and professional looking.
- The machine can handle a multiple layers of fabric
- The gear and frames made of metal should last longer as compared to nylon gear
- Ideal for medium weight leather
- The reverse button might loosen up in transit so you will need reconnecting it back.
- You may struggle to use it in small/tight areas and not suitable for large projects.
As with all leather sewing projects, make sure you have a hard and sharp needle. One wrong stitch and the material is ruined. Remember, once you punch a hole in leather, it’s permanent. Janome HD3000 have enough of sewing space for you to not have cramped up experience and sew comfortably which in turn will result in a good end-result.
What We like about Janome HD3000 sewing machine;
- Simple and very intuitive to use
- You can adjust the “sensitivity” of food pedal which is a big plus
- Reverse stitch lever which allows stitching backward
- 18 different stitches and a one-step buttonhole
- Heavy enough to not move around on the table, Light enough to take around with you.
- 25 year Janome Warranty
If you’re looking for a sewing machine for leather, Janome HD3000 is a perfect candidate as it’s heavy duty and made for the job.
2. Singer 4432 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Under $300, Singer 4432 is excellent at sewing leather and other materials, even multiple layers of fabric for that price point. This is a sturdy machine with a metal frame, a heavy-duty electric motor so sewing light leather projects will be easy and fast. With these, you can easily create your own shooting gloves from leather.
- Affordable prices
- It comes with an automatic needle threader
- Accessory tray also included
- Not suitable to use on multiple layers of leather
- It works quite loud
If you are a beginner, on a budget, but want a durable sewing machine that can make beautiful and consistent stitches, this is the one for you.
What we like about Singer 4432;
- Feed pressure adjusting control and box feed will allow sewing without skipping stitches
- You can use your own presser foot to get better control as this machine comes with snap-on feet
- Automatic threader makes threading the machine a breeze.
- One step buttonhole maker, creating buttonholes is easy as it gets.
Singer 4432 sewing machine is perfect for someone who is on a budget but still wants to get into sewing leather. Great for beginner type of person out there.
3. Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine
The Brother ST371HD is a budget-friendly sewing machine that is ideal for everyday use. Despite being a low-cost unit, it can handle leather and support heavy-duty stitching.
With this durable sewing machine, you can sew both thick and lightweight fabrics. It is equipped with a metal needle plate for heavyweight needles and easy fabric feeding.
For a sewing machine of this price range, it does an incredible job. It is capable of 37 decorative and utility stitches for blind hems, buttonholes, zipper insertion, stretcher stitches, and more.
It comes with 6 sewing feet along with button sewing feet, non-stick and spring action zigzag foot, zipper, blind stitch, and buttonhole. With the drop feed feature, you can complete free-motion sewing with ease.
What we like about the Brother ST371HD sewing machine:
- A heavy-duty sewing machine can handle both lightweight and thick fabric
- Includes a built-in needle threader and other important things like an auto bobbin winding system, a Quick-Set drop-in top bobbin, and a free arm
- 37 unique built-in stitches
- Operates at a maximum speed of 800 stitches per minute.
- Comes with an instructional DVD in English and Spanish
- Backed by a 25-year limited warranty with lifetime free technical support
- Can handle thick leather
- 25-year limited warranty
- Easy to use
- 37 unique built-in stitches
- Buttonholer is not good
- Not for heavy sewers
This unit is perfect for anyone looking for durability and flexibility. It is a heavy-duty machine that can complete your projects in less possible time.
4. Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine
The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 is the ultimate sewing machine designed for daily use. It is packed with loads of amazing features that help you to meet your creative demands. Not just that, but it is also very easy and convenient to use.
It is a computerised portable sewing machine with a large selection of stitches such as decorative, stretch, and basic. This makes it ideal for fashion sewing, crafting, home décor, and quilting. It also has an impressive selection of fonts, so you can personalize your projects.
It is the best sewing machine you will use. It has 600 built-in stitches including 13 built-in 1-Step Buttonholes and 5 Alphanumeric Fonts. It also comes with an exclusive buttonhole underplate, stitch elongation, and mirror imaging to expand creative possibilities.
Unlike other units, it is easy to start up. It includes an easy and quick threading, built-in needle threader, pre-set stitch width & length, a start/stop button, stitch editing capabilities, and direct button stitch selection.
Why we like about SINGER 9960 sewing machine:
- Loaded with an array of amazing features
- Computerised sewing machine with a large LCD screen
- Provides easy stitching functions
- Capable of 850 stitches-per-minute
- Includes a lot of accessories
- Lots of features
- Perfect for creativity
- Large LCD screen
- Easy stitching functions
- Very fast
- Unreliable customer support
- Poor quality plastic built
If you are looking for a feature-rich sewing machine for your creative projects, this could be the one for you.
5. Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
We have another great sewing machine from SINGER. It is a heavy-duty unit with 50% more power and speed. It is a true workhorse built for the ultimate sewing experience at home.
Despite the compact size, it can easily handle long seams and thicker fabrics. It is a durable unit with all-metal frame construction. It is designed to give you professional results in no time.
It includes a stainless steel bed plate for smooth fabric flow, while the interior metal frame ensures skip-free sewing. It has a lot of rigid support to hold all the mechanisms in alignment.
With 1100 stitches per minute, it is one of the fastest sewing machines available out there. From canvas to denim and layers to quilts, it can stitch all kinds of fabrics with ease.
What we like about SINGER 4411 sewing machine:
- Equipped with 69 stitching applications
- 11 built-in stitches with 4 decoratives, 6 basic stitches, and 1 built-in buttonhole
- Adjustable needle positions and presser foot control
- Heavy-duty metal frame with a strong motor
- 1100 stitches per minute for speedy sewing
- Comes with a powerful motor
- Perfect for decorative stitching
- 1100 stitches per minute
- Can stitch almost all fabrics
- Metal construction
- Doesn’t last long
- Problems with needle positioning
With the SINGER 4411 sewing unit, you can save time and complete your projects quickly. It is a perfect sewing machine for crafting, decorative stitching, and other projects.
6. Janome HD1000 Heavy – Duty Sewing Machine
The HD-1000 by Janome is one of the best sewing machines you can get for your projects. It is a sturdy and durable unit with easy-to-use features. It is designed to provide an enjoyable sewing experience.
Whether you are a pro or beginner, Janome HD-1000 is ideal for everyone. It features heavy-duty aluminium construction that makes it a great choice for sewists. With this unit, you can handle a wide range of sewing types and fabrics.
It includes 14 stitches and a four-step buttonhole for a range of applications. Along with that, you will also get a storage tray and a built-in needle.
The best thing about this sewing machine is the accessories. It comes with a range of different accessories, including extra needles, bobbins, two screwdrivers, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, hemmer foot, seam ripper, a softcover, and a hem guide. Everything is included with the machine, so you don’t need to buy it separately.
What we like about Janome HD-1000 sewing machine:
- 14 built-in stitches including stretch stitches, utility stitches, and a 4 step buttonhole
- Body made of cast aluminum for long-lasting durability
- Includes a free arm for sewing cuffs, pants, collars, and others
- Comes with a built-in automatic needle threader
- Includes an accessory storage tray
- Includes a wide range of accessories
- Durable construction
- Suitable for both beginner and experience sewers
- Comes with a storage tray
- Easy to use
- Issues with bobbin driver
- Gets jammed frequently
Janome HD-1000 is ideal for sewists looking for a sewing machine for a wide range of applications. With durable construction, it is built to last for years.
7. JUKI DU-1181N Sewing Machine
The Juki DU-1181N is a single-needle, industrial sewing machine. Coming from a leading brand like Juki, it ensures high performance and durability. If you want a sewing machine for sewing medium weight fabrics, this could be the one for you.
With top and bottom feed technology, it allows medium weight fabric to be sewn more easily. It is sold as a complete unit, so you don’t need to buy anything separately. It includes a machine head, stand, table, motor, drawer, sewing light, and all other components required for sewing.
It is designed for professional sewing and can help you complete your projects in no time. It comes with a motor with speed control for convenient use. It is fast, quiet, and durable. With this unit, you can easily sew up to 3/8″-thick leather. It can also sew multiple layers of fabric and denim.
What we like about the JUKI DU-1181N sewing machine:
- Equipped with a motor with great piercing power
- Includes a compound walking-foot feeding system for feeding bulky and thick materials
- The cylinder bed helps to sew into hard-to-reach areas
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Sold as a complete unit
- High performance
- Can handle variety of fabrics
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Powerful motor
- Comes with a lot of accessories
- Doesn’t come assembled
- No instructions available
This unit is ideal for sewists looking for a professional-grade sewing machine. It can handle a variety of fabrics and can sew multiple layers with ease.
8. Reliable Barracuda 200ZW Zig-Zag Sewing Machine
The Reliable Barracuda 200ZW is a popular choice among professional sewers. It is best for sewing leather items and other heavy materials like canvas, upholstery fabric, denim, vinyl, and sailcloth.
It is a powerful unit that can easily sew up to 8-10 layers of canvas fabric without hassles. It is the ultimate sewing unit that is designed to give you a high-quality stitching experience. It includes both top and bottom feeding for secure and accurate stitching.
It also includes a built-in speed reducer. It is because of these features that make this unit is convenient to use. It has a solid base with all-metal construction. This makes it a long-lasting and durable investment.
Despite having so many great features, it has a low price tag. With this sewing machine, you can sew fabrics that are difficult to work with.
What we like about the Reliable Barracuda 200ZW sewing machine:
- Features an all-metal construction for durability
- Perfect for heavy fabrics
- Can sew multiple layers of heavy fabric with ease
- Provides 800 stitches per minute
- Includes a heavy-duty carrying handle for easy portability
- Made of metal
- Heavy-duty machine
- Can sew multiple layers
- Very fast
- Can stitch a variety of fabrics
- Bad customer service
- Not very durable
If you often work with heavy fabrics like leather, canvas, denim, and others, you will find this unit useful. It is a strong unit with all the right features you need.
9. Heureux Z6 Sewing Machine
If you are looking for an efficient, computerised sewing machine, look no further because Heureux Z6 is all you need. It is an easy-to-use sewing unit that is designed for flexibility and durability. It will help you to improve your creative capability.
It provides 200 unique utility, heirloom, decorative, and alphanumeric stitches. Along with that, you get eight styles of one-step and auto-size buttonholes. With these features, you can easily construct everything ranging from quilting to garments.
With the help of this unit, you could start your DIY sewing work. It is a portable unit with a carrying handle, so you can easily carry it wherever you go.
It is powerful enough to sew multiple layers of thick fabrics like denim. You can use this unit with a variety of fabrics including flannel, chiffon, velour, sailcloth, etc.
What we like about the Heureux Z6 sewing machine:
- Can sew up to 6-8 layers of fabrics
- Includes 200 unique in-built stitches for maximum creativity
- Equipped with specialized features such as adjustable needle position, automatic needle threads, stretch stitches and an auto one-step buttonhole for easy operation
- Includes an LCD screen for easy viewing
- Interior frame made of aluminium alloy
- Has a LCD screen
- 200 unique in-built stitches
- Can sew multiple layers
- Easy to operate
- Adjustable needle position
- Thread gets stuck in bobbin
- Doesn’t work properly at times
If you want a budget-friendly sewing machine with high performance, this is the one for you. It has everything you need and more.
10. Juki TL-2010Q Portable Sewing Machine
This unit is ideal for sewists looking for a user-friendly and portable sewing machine. The Juki TL-2010Q is a high-performance sewing and quilting machine that is perfect for all types of work.
It is constructed of aluminium die-casting for industrial-level sewing. It is equipped with advanced features like a sub-tension system, LED lighting, and a speed control slider for precision sewing.
It also provides a large work area of up to 23 inches, so you can easily sew large materials like quilts or home decor projects with ease. It has an automatic thread trimming that simultaneously trims the bobbin and needle threads at the sewing end.
Unlike other sewing machines, you don’t need to struggle with the bobbin replacement with this one. It has a bobbin case latch and an enlarged bobbin case area for easy removal and replacement.
What we like about the Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine:
- Lightweight and portable sewing machine
- Suitable for working on large and heavy pieces of cloth
- Comes with smart speed control along with a presser foot adjustment
- Designed for leather and quilting sewing
- Has a knee lifter lever for lifting the presser foot without using your hands.
- Suitable for heavy pieces of cloth
- Enlarged bobbin
- Good for quilting and leather
- LED lighting
- Includes a speed control slider
- Poor quality
- Foot peddle doesn’t work properly
If you want a heavy-duty sewing machine, you should consider getting this model. Even though it has a high price tag, it is worth paying for.
Why do you need a leather sewing machine?
If you’ve ever worked with leather, you know that you CANT make mistakes. Leather is unforgiving in this aspect because all it takes to ruin this expensive material is one stitch in the wrong direction.
That’s right, one mistake can ruin the material because, unlike with other fabrics, if you make a hole in leather, it’s there forever. Because of this, you should not use pins to plot the project as they will leave permanent holes in your leather piece.
What makes sewing leather even more difficult is that it tends to stick to parts of the machine. You’ll often find that leather sticks to the presser foot or the throat plate if you don’t have the proper sewing machine for the job which you can get around by putting some masking tape on the parts, but then the material might be too thick for the sewing machine.
Same rules apply when sewing faux leather and similar materials. If you want to test your sewing machine to see if it works with leather, just take a small scrap of the material you want to use and see how your sewing machine behaves. If it wobbles, gets stuck or is just plain not taking the thickness of the leather, it might be time for you to upgrade to a sewing machine that’s made to sew leather.
What Are the Basics of Leather Sewing?
There are a whole bunch of rules you should live by when sewing leather and we are going to get into some of them here. First of all, if you’re sewing leather, you’re going to want to watch your thread tension carefully.
Standard sewing machines will often times break the thread because they automatically try to stitch tighter and doing that with leather might cause the thread to break. You will also want a very sharp needle ALL the time. Leather will dull and ruin the point of the needle much faster than with other fabrics.
Not changing the needle will cause it to break which in turn can jam your machine AND ruin your material or project. You will want to change needles consistently when working with Leather.
When it comes to the thread itself, you’re looking for something stronger than traditional cotton thread. The most popular options are synthetic threads like Nylon, polyester, and rayon.
Now that you know what leather stitching is about, it’s time to move to the next chapter…
Should you go for an industrial-grade sewing machine?
Short answer – no. And here’s why. When it comes to industrial sewing machines, you’ll have a whole bunch of additional variables and problems to worry about. For example, you will need to oil it consistently (unless you buy a sewing machine that’s worth more than your car) and the price you’d pay for it is just not worth it if you need a sewing machine for light home projects.
If by chance, you need to sew thicker leather that you cant sew with a home sewing machine, you can always hand-stitch. yes, it’s a tedious and long process and rarely anyone likes to do it, but In my opinion, it’s much better than spending many thousands of dollars for something that you don’t use daily.
Most residential sewing machines will handle the leather thickness of 3/16” or 4-6mm.
What Are the Prices of the Best Leather Sewing Machines?
I`ll be honest, If you want a machine that will last for a long time, not jam and just overall won’t make pull your hair out, expect to pay around $500. You could get away with a $250 standard sewing machine if you intend to sew thin leather for your projects, use proper needles, and use tips you find here in this article. For that price, you will get a decent enough entry-level sewing machine with limited features that will get the job done.
Now, on the other hand, If you’re serious about leather sewing, you will need a serious machine. If you intend to sew thicker leather, you will need a heavy-duty sewing machine with a good amount of features and high durability.
For these kinds of sewing machines, expect to pay around $500 for a decent quality machine. If you’re looking for something high-end, you will pay up to $1500 and more (Did someone say, sugar daddy?) You will pay even more if you don’t buy online because local dealerships will upcharge up to 20% or more.