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Leather is a beautiful material that can be used to make anything from handbags to furniture upholstery, but not just any old sewing machine will do when working with it.
Traditional sewing machines used to make garments and quilts don’t have motors powerful enough to handle leather on a daily basis, which is why an industrial machine may be more appropriate for some projects.
Are you trying to determine which is the best sewing machine for leather projects that you will be creating? Read on, and we will provide you with all the information you need here in this detailed guide.
Top 10 Sewing Machines for Leather Comparison Table
Industrial or Domestic – Which Should You Choose?
The types of projects that you will be tackling and how often you use the sewing machine to work on leather pieces will determine what type of machine you need.
As you can see in our table, there is a noticeable price difference between industrial models and domestic sewing machines, but it is very important to select the right one based on how you will use it.
- Industrial. If you sew real leather on a regular basis, then you need to invest in an industrial machine. The motors are designed to handle thicker, bulkier materials and the shell of the machine is usually made of metal instead of plastic.
If you sew upholstery, craft projects where the leather is mounted onto another stiff material such as leather photo album covers, or need to pass through multiple layers of leather for the majority of your projects, then an industrial machine is best.
- Domestic. If you will be sewing vinyl (faux leather) or only sew real leather on occasion, then a domestic machine is fine. Since vinyl is much thinner and softer than real leather, a regular machine can handle it.
If you do sew leather or other thick materials on a regular basis, a domestic machine wouldn’t last very long. It would take quite a toll on the motor, even resulting in an overheated, burned out unit. It can, however, handle the occasional real leather project.
Regardless of the machine you choose, check to see what kind of warranty the manufacturer offers so you know what to expect in the event of malfunctioning parts.
The Proper Accessories
Regular thread and needles won’t do for leather, so make sure you’re equipped with the right notions before you get started.
Singer offers some heavy-duty needles designed specifically for use on leather while the thread types can vary.
For an industrial machine, you will probably need a thick nylon thread that is waxed since it is capable of holding the material together and can pass through it more easily thanks to the wax coating.
Those of you who have a domestic machine can use a thread like that of Coats and Clarks that is thicker and heavier than quilting thread to help provide you with a stronger seam.
Many will also benefit from a walking foot when sewing leather, which will help prevent the leather from shifting as you sew.
A Unique Machine for Extra Thick Material
We wanted to mention a rather unique machine in case some of you are looking for one that can handle extra thick pieces of leather or multiple pieces that are stacked together.
Tippmann’s “The Boss” is designed to cleanly and accurately pass through leather that is up to ¾ of an inch thick.
Unlike all of the other machines we included in the list, this one is operated manually by moving the lever up and down for each stitch. You’ll find that the level of control is unparalleled, although it does require a bit of upper arm strength to utilize.
Top 3 Best Sewing Machine for Leather Reviews
Anyone looking for a heavy-duty domestic machine that can handle craft projects, handbags, and the occasional faux leather garment should consider the Juki TL-2010Q model.
This machine was designed for home décor projects, tailoring, making apparel, and even quilting, making it the go-to machine for the seamstress or tailor who dabbles in a bit of everything.
The throat of the machine is nice and wide, so even if you have bulky pieces of fabric or quilts rolled up, they should pass through without a problem.
The body is also sturdy, made of aluminum die-casting, putting it in a category of its own among other domestic machines as an industrial-like model.
We recommend that you purchase Juki’s Even Feed Foot to help you maintain control over the thicker material – leather, in this case. The motor is designed to handle passing over multiple layers of material or thicker material, and in the case of leather or vinyl, you would appreciate the added control of that foot as you sew.
Jumping from a heavy-duty domestic unit to a professional industrial machine, we have the CONSEW 206RB complete with sewing table.
If you sew upholstery fabrics, leather, marine material or canvas, then this machine will allow you to pass through them effortlessly and evenly. It features a variety of feed options, including the triple feed walking foot system that works by synchronizing the motion of the presser foot on top, the feed dog below and the needle bar. It also has drop feed, compound feed, and needle feed options.
It runs relatively quietly for an industrial machine, which is nice if you use it in your home rather than in a business.
If you’re interested in getting both machine and table for large leather projects, consider this one from CONSEW.
Sailrite’s heavy-duty machine is built to handle the thick projects such as jeans, canvas, sailcloth, upholstery, and even thick layers of leather.
While this isn’t quite in the same category as the more expensive industrial models on our list, it is still a bit more of a workhorse than the Juki we looked at earlier. You wouldn’t use something like this for quilting or making delicate garments, but it is one of the best sewing machines for leather projects and other thick materials on our list.
It features the handy walking foot system with extra wide feet that can lift 3/8” high; this allows you enough room to pass just about anything under it cleanly.(They have even tested it to sew up to 10 layers of canvas).
If you’re in need of a portable, mini “industrial” machine, then consider this one. It’s designed to handle the tough stuff, from shoemaking to leather wallets and accessories.