This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.
You’ve come to the right place to find the perfect leather sewing machine! I’ve sewn miles of leather in my time, so believe me, starting with the right machine makes a world of difference for your projects.
Whether you’re experienced in leathercraft or are just beginning, having a machine tailored for sewing thicker fabrics like leather gives you the control you need for quality stitching.
A good machine will let you seize full mastery over even the toughest leather. Among my top recommendations is the Juki TL-2000Qi, a workhorse of an industrial machine that sews up to 1500 stitches a minute.
With strong feed dogs that grip the leather and a motor to power through thick seams, it takes command of big leather projects.
Don’t settle for a machine that can merely handle leather – find one that gives you true authority over it so you can create the bags, holsters, or clothing pieces exactly to your vision. I’ll share my curated picks of the best machines that put you fully in control of sewing leather masterpieces.
Table Of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- Top 10 Best Sewing Machines for Leather Reviewed
- What Do I Need to Sew Leather?
- What Size Needle Do I Need to Sew Leather?
- Can You Use a Regular Sewing Machine for Leather?
- What Type of Sewing Machine Do I Need to Sew Leather?
- Can Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Sew Leather?
- Can Singer 4423 Sew Leather?
- How Much Does a Leather Sewing Machine Cost?
- Do I Need a Walking Foot to Sew Leather?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Juki TL-2000Qi and Singer 9960 are recommended for thick seams and leather projects.
- Brother ST371HD is a good option for beginners and intermediates.
- Janome HD1000 and Vintage Rex 607 are suitable for heavy fabrics and tough materials.
- Use Schmetz leather needles, Coats & Clark XP heavy-duty thread, Copydex glue, and Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement for quality leather sewing.
Top 10 Best Sewing Machines for Leather Reviewed
As an avid sewer and leatherworker, you know that having the right tools is essential for quality results on heavyweight projects. When selecting a sewing machine for leather, key factors to consider include durability, specialized feet, and adjustable components to manage the thick, tough material.
In this review, we will explore top options like the feature-packed Singer 9960, portable Juki TL-2010Q, and vintage-style Rex walking foot machine, along with needles, threads, glue, and accessories to help you achieve professional leatherwork.
Singer 9960 Sewing and Quilting Machine
View On Amazon
With all those features, your creativity will soar when sewing leather projects on the Singer 9960. This versatile machine empowers your leatherwork with 600 built-in stitches, letting you easily add decorative details.
An automatic needle threader saves frustration, while the fast 850 stitches per minute speed powers through thick materials. Multiple presser feet, mirror imaging, and elongation give you total control to craft anything imaginable.
Though powerful, its quiet operation keeps your sewing room peaceful.
- 600 built-in stitches for creative options
- Fast 850 stitches per minute for thick materials
- Automatic needle threader reduces frustration
- Multiple presser feet enhance capabilities
- Quiet operation despite power
- Some issues with jamming reported
- Manual not available in all languages
Brother Sewing Machine ST371HD
Versatile yet easy to use, the ST371HD is great for beginners or intermediate sewers looking to move up from basic machines.
With quality features like an automatic needle threader, top drop-in bobbin, and 6 snap-on feet, you’ll be sewing thicker fabrics and special techniques in no time.
This lightweight workhorse can handle multiple layers of denim, canvas, even leather up to 5mm thick when you switch to the right needle.
The ST371HD may lack an LED screen and tons of decorative stitches, but it provides impressive performance for the price.
- Pros: Lightweight, portable, automatic threader, quality stitches, good for beginners/intermediates
- Cons: No decorative stitches, no digital display, plastic body
Juki TL-2010Q Sewing Machine
View On Amazon
Awesome choice – that industrial-strength Juki will empower your projects with precision and mastery. With its robust aluminum body and automatic features, this straight stitch workhorse powers through thick materials effortlessly.
The generous 23-inch workspace lets you handle large projects with ease, while the bright LED light illuminates every detail. Just set the speed and let the Juki’s high-performance motor zip through topstitching, seams, and quilting with finesse.
The automatic thread trimmer saves time and hassle as you create. Experience the reliability of an industrial machine in a sleek, portable package ready to unleash your creativity.
- Robust aluminum body built to last
- Large 23-inch work surface
- Straight stitch optimized for speed
- Industrial-style performance
- Automatic thread trimmer
- Easy to transport and store
- Lacks decorative stitches
- Manual thread tension adjustment
- Plastic bobbin case
- No automatic presser foot pressure
- Limited for lightweight fabrics
Janome HD1000 Sewing Machine
View On Amazon
The HD1000’s rugged metal construction handles heavy fabrics without jams for your toughest projects. With its cast aluminum body and 14 practical stitches, this Janome model offers consistent performance and quiet operation.
Replacing an older mechanical machine? The HD1000 has you covered. Its automatic needle threader and sturdy build make sewing denim, canvas, and heavy curtains a breeze. Fixing tension or bobbin issues takes some troubleshooting, but for canvas tents or boat covers where power and durability matter, the HD1000 delivers.
- Rugged metal construction
- Consistent stitch performance
- Quiet operation
- Can handle heavy fabrics
- Automatic needle threader
- Limited to 14 built-in stitches
- Troubleshooting issues takes effort
- Can struggle on very thick materials
REX Portable Walking Foot Sewing Machine
View On Amazon
Despite weighing 37 pounds, the vintage-style Rex 607 portable walking foot sewing machine provides heavy-duty capabilities for leather and canvas projects if you’re aware of its speed and power limitations.
This corded electric cast iron machine is built to penetrate tough materials, but it requires proper oiling and the right accessories to reach its potential.
Add the Monster Wheel to slow the speed and increase torque when sewing heavier fabrics. Take care to maintain a steady pace for smooth results, as the plastic foot pedal is prone to breaking. When used correctly, the Rex 607 can stitch multi-layer upholstery and handle thick leathers up to 9mm with the right heavyweight needle and thread.
Just be prepared to put in some extra effort to master this heavy-duty workhorse.
- Sturdy cast iron construction
- Made for heavy fabrics like leather
- Portable at 37 pounds
- Pre-tested before shipping
- Sample leather sew included
- Underpowered motor
- Cheap plastic foot pedal
- Requires oil for best performance
- Hard to maintain slow speed
- Needs accessories to reach full potential
Schmetz Leather Sewing Machine Needles
View On Amazon
You’ll love stitching leather projects with this value pack of heavy-duty needles. Compatible with most household machines, these 130/705 H Schmetz needles provide smooth, even stitches on tough materials.
The 25-piece set means you’ll always have a sharp needle on hand for all your leatherworking. With their durable construction and special cutting points, these needles easily penetrate leather up to 9mm thick without damage.
Made in Germany, they’re designed to withstand high speeds while making wallet interiors, belts, boots, saddles, and more.
Invest in this quality bulk pack, and you’ll be ready to master any leather project.
- Durable and compatible
- Value pack of 25 needles
- Sharp cutting points
- Handles heavy fabrics
- Made in Germany
- Size not specified
- Prone to bending
- Some packages were short needles
Coats Clark Dual Duty XP Heavy Thread Black
View On Amazon
Sturdy black polyester spools will withstand maximum tension when tackling thick materials. A leatherworker, raring to make heavy-duty textiles like outdoor gear, horse tack, or durable footwear, will need extra strong thread.
Coats & Clark’s Dual Duty XP in black Polyester comes in a handy pack of 3 spools to handle project after grueling project. The spools use a dual trap system that prevents unwinding at high speeds. Reviewers mention that this thread cuts fingers before it will rip upholstery seams.
- Very durable, hard to break by hand
- Good for high tension applications
- Holds up over time
- May take 3 weeks to ship
- Can be hard on fingers if the thread breaks
View On Amazon
You’re in for a treat with Copydex’s brush-on glue that bonds fabulously, sticking your projects tightly like a pup to its momma. This long-lasting 125ml bottle provides versatile, high-quality adhesion for leatherworking, crafts, and even puppy ear training.
Despite the applicator brush that can clog, it creates durable yet flexible bonds on materials like leather, wood, paper, plastic, metal, and fabric.
- Strong permanent bond
- Stays flexible after drying
- Easy to apply
- Good value
- Multi-purpose uses
- Brush applicator can clog
- Not ideal for small or detailed work
- Requires solvent like Unisolve for removal
Fiebings Leathercraft Cement Leather Glue
View On Amazon
Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement bonds leather and other materials with its super-strong yet flexible permanent adhesive. As your trusted sewing machine expert, I recommend this non-toxic leather glue for all your leather projects.
The water-based contact cement creates high-performance, long-lasting bonds on shoes, bags, jackets, and more. Simply apply Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement to both surfaces, let it dry, and press them together for invisible mends.
For flawless leather repairs, choose this top-quality leather cement.
- Super strong yet flexible bond
- Safe, non-toxic formula
- Dries clear for invisible repairs
- Stays pliable after drying
- Can be messy if applied too liberally
- Long dry time before bonding
- Not as readily available as Elmer’s glue
What Do I Need to Sew Leather?
From securing the proper needles to using the right threads and glues, you’ll need some essentials before stitching any leather projects.
Invest in leather hand tools like an awl for making holes and quality shears for cutting.
Use heavy-duty thread in the 120/277 range and maintain proper tension to avoid puckering.
Take it slow with a heavy-duty or industrial machine, adjusting the presser foot and feed dogs as needed.
You’ll have the most success pairing a leather foot with leather needles, sized between 70/10 to 110/18.
With thoughtful preparation and the right tools, your machine can master even the thickest hides.
Leatherwork requires patience and precision, but the process will reward you with durable, quality results.
What Size Needle Do I Need to Sew Leather?
Using a 70/10 to 110/18 leather needle will let you easily sew those thick hides without damaging your machine. Regular tip needles just aren’t going to cut it when you need to punch through multiple layers of sturdy leather material.
Leather needles have a sharper point and reinforced shaft that will plow through while leaving clean stitch holes behind. Just be sure to loosen up your top tension so the thicker thread can pull through without snapping.
And don’t forget to use a needle threader! Trying to get heavy-duty thread through those tiny leather needle eyes will drive you nuts.
With the right leather needle, you can tame even the thickest fabrics. Just take it slow and steady.
Can You Use a Regular Sewing Machine for Leather?
You bet your standard home sewing machine can handle leather projects, provided the leather’s not too thick or heavy-duty. With the right needle, thread, and settings, you can get smooth, strong seams in lighter leathers.
Just be sure to use the appropriate leather needle size for your project – typically size 80 to 110. Adjust tension and stitch length longer to avoid puckering. Heavy polyester thread prevents breakage.
Go slowly and ditch the pins for weights to avoid marks. With the right prep, your trusted home sewing machine lets you craft stylish leather goods like handbags, wallets, or jackets without needing an industrial machine.
What Type of Sewing Machine Do I Need to Sew Leather?
Get creative and test the limits with an industrial-strength machine built to handle heavy projects. Need a heavyweight machine for sewing leather? Stiff needles and medium speeds prevent simple machines from skipping stitches in thick hides.
Look for models with adjustable pressure feet, constant feeding mechanisms, and heavy-duty metal frames. Industrial machines offer the durability and high torque required to sew multiple layers of dense material without stalling out or jamming up.
Dominate even the toughest leathers with the right tools – get an industrial walking foot made for heavy fabrics. With the power to punch through heavyweight materials, these machines help you effortlessly create professional-looking leatherwork.
Can Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Sew Leather?
Singer Heavy Duty sewing machines can sew leather up to 1/8 inch thick at 1100 stitches per minute. These lightweight machines aren’t for heavy-duty leatherwork, but you can get clean stitch lines on thin projects with the right prep and needles.
First, condition the leather so that it glides smoothly. Then, adjust the tension and length for longer zigzag stitches that can fully penetrate the leather. Use sharper needles specifically made for denim or leather, ranging from size 80/12 to 110/18.
Take it slow and steady, allowing the machine to do the hard work of pushing the needle through. With these tips, Singer Heavy Duty models can handle basic leather pieces such as small bags, pouches, belts, and more.
It’s a good idea to experiment on scrap leather first, but with care, preparation, and the right settings, these convenient home machines can produce quality results on light to medium leathers.
Can Singer 4423 Sew Leather?
The Singer 4423 heavy duty can sew leather. It can punch through multiple layers of leather with its stainless steel bed and 1100 stitches per minute. You can experiment with different needle sizes like 70/10 to 110/18 and thread types like polyester or nylon.
The machine’s thickness adjustments allow customizing stitch settings for heavy duty, heavy weight materials. Mark your leather pieces with chalk or pens before slowly sewing. Consider adding a walking foot or upgrading to an industrial machine for extremely thick leathers.
With practice dialing in tension and stitch length, the 4423’s power and sturdiness prove capable of handling leatherworking projects. Utilize leather needles and don’t be afraid to make changes until you achieve the clean, professional results an experienced leatherworker demands from their machine.
How Much Does a Leather Sewing Machine Cost?
Y’all’d best consider how greenbacks these specialized gadgets cost ya. These high-priced stitchers drain purses faster than greedy politicians’ pork barrel spending. But a thrifty crafter knows value ain’t just price tags. So review features, not just price, when pickin’ your new leatherwork sidekick, pardner.
- Entry models under $200 are good for lighter projects.
- Mid-range $200-500 models have more power and accessories.
- Advanced $500-1500 models are professional grade for frequent use.
- Industrial models $1000+ are built for heavy-duty work.
Power, durability, and accessories impact cost. Leatherwork popularity is risin’, so compare options in your budget for your projects. Avoid skimpin’ on a machine that can’t handle thicker fabrics and get frustratin’.
Do I Need a Walking Foot to Sew Leather?
You would have purchased a portable walking foot like Rex’s if sewing plenty of thick leather or canvas. Leather needs even pressure from both upper and lower feed dogs: a walking foot maintains this. Walking feet have dual sets of feed dogs – one above the needle, one below. It bucks a bit awkwardly but prevents slippage.
It governs the material as the needle moves. Though some home machines include a walking foot, industrial models excel for leather. A portable walking foot also helps sew thick material – metal operated, tight stitches without jamming.
Before commencing leatherwork, explore leather sewing machines, a Teflon foot, a walking foot, and industrial sewing machines. Leather cleaning supplies, leather sewing patterns, leather sewing kits, leather crafting tools, and leather stitching awls enable quality leather goods.
A walking foot kit like Rex’s warrants inclusion in your leather sewing machine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What thickness of leather can my sewing machine handle?
When sewing thick leather, the thickness limits of your machine are key. Industrial walking foot models can handle heavier materials than basic domestic machines. For casual projects under 9mm thick, a heavy-duty home model should suffice if you opt for the right needle, thread, and presser foot.
Should I get a mechanical or computerized sewing machine for sewing leather?
You’ve got options for leatherwork! Mechanical machines can be just as capable as computerized ones. Focus on key features like strong motors, metal frames, and walking feet. Test stitching samples first.
Adjust tension; go slow. Either can handle leather with the right setup. Trust your skills; the machine is just a tool.
How do I adjust the tension on my sewing machine for leather?
Think of it as taming a wild horse – slowly ease up on the reins of tension. Watch for puckering and looseness to find the sweet spot. It’ll take some gentling, but soon that machine will trot along just right for leatherwork, responding to your experienced hands.
What type of thread works best for sewing leather?
For leather, polyester thread with a tex/ticket size of 135-138 works best. Its high tenacity allows it to withstand the friction of sewing leather without breaking, and polyester does not stretch. Go with a #207 Tex 80 size for lightweight leathers or #138 Tex 100 size for thicker hides.
Do I need special scissors or shears for cutting leather?
Yes, I recommend using special leather shears when cutting leather. The micro-serrated blades grip the leather better and provide a cleaner cut than regular scissors. Investing in a good pair of leather shears will give you the control and precision needed for quality leather projects.
You’ve just explored the 10 best leather sewing machines available, from heavy-duty workhorses to portable gems. The perfect machine for you depends on your budget and project needs. Whether you want a basic straight stitch or a computerized wonder, there’s an option to master quality leatherwork.
As your skills grow, remember the joy of creating is in your hands. Let your inspiration guide you to new heights with the rhythm of the needle and thread. Equipped with the knowledge to select the ideal leather machine reviewed here, you can craft anything.