Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: September 13, 2021
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Not all sewing machines can sew through leather like they do regular fabric. This is because unlike regular fabric, leather is as tough as they come. If you have started home or even professional project that involves leather sewing, you may have realized how hard and near impossible it is to make it work with your usual sewing machine. However, with the right leather sewing machine, the tough material will no longer be an issue.
The best sewing machine for leather spots advanced sewing features such as sturdier needles, stronger feed dogs, and a specialized foot. You also need a machine sewer that offers additional features to enhance the convenience, accessibility, and durability of your sewing. To help you achieve your sewing goals, you will have to take the first step of getting the best leather sewing machine. Luckily, this article has compiled the top leather sewing machines with features that may suit your needs and a buying guide to make the research process easier.
Efficiency, convenience, quality! These are the words that immediately come to mind when describing the Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine for leather. This single needle, lock stitch, portable sewing machine spots modern and enhanced features such as its industrial sub-tension system, variable speed controller, and its LED lighting which not only make it an efficient machine but a convenient one to use as well. These features make it powerful and precise with the bright white LED light improving your vision while sewing for better stitching accuracy.
The Juki TL-2010Q, which is a sewing and quilting machine, offers a working area of 23 inches that comes with a supplementary table attached to give you more quilting space for larger projects.
This high-performance sewing machine also boasts of a thread trimming system enabled by a trim button and the foot controller. It also has a thread tension scale that gives you control over the thread tension based on the material and the thread in use. Not forgetting the Juki TL-2010Q’s new speed control lever that enables you to manipulate the sewing speed through its installed microcomputer.
What are its best features? The Juki TL-2010Q is specially designed for high-performance precision in stitching. This is made possible by its industrial sub-tension system and variable speed controller.
What could be improved? For us, the major downside for this sewing machine is its warranty. Though not the lowest, being five times lower than most of the sewing machines in this list does not inspire trust in this machine’s overall longevity.
The Baby Lock Jazz II is a sewing machine that you can always count on. It comes with features that not only make it convenient for use but also efficient for a very long time. This sewing and quilting machine gets the job done faster with its automatic systems including its automatic bobbin winder, automatic threader, and its programmable needle motion button.
The automatic bobbin winder holds the thread in place and automatically stops when the bobbin fills. Its programmable needle up and down motion button conveniently allows you to choose your needle’s starting position for faster sewing commencement. This is also ideal for applique and chain piercing.
You can also get to enjoy a wider creative space with the Baby Lock Jazz II’s. All its 12 inches sticthes are available for your quilting and bulky projects, which makes it the best sewing machine for jeans and leather among other bulky fabrics. Speaking of increments, this sewing machine also boasts of an increased reverse lever. Its hands-free presser foot and easy to replace quick set bobbin features also give the Baby Lock Jazz II quite the convenience factor.
Why are we impressed? For this sewing machine we found the 12-inch working space, quick-set bobbin, and reverse lever quite nifty as they uniquely ease your sewing experience.
What negatives must you be aware of? With sewing speeds as high as 1000 stitches per minute this sewing machine could do with a speed controller.
The Janome HD3000 is a heavy-duty sewing machine designed for an advanced sewing experience. Featuring 18 stitches, you get a variety of options to express your sewing creativity. Moreover, the one-step buttonhole makes it ideal for crafty sewing.
With the Janome HD3000, you can also get to enjoy an eased sewing process with handy features such as its automatic thread cutter, an in-built auto threader, push-pull bobbin winder, and free arm features. Other features such as the free arm enable the Janome HD3000 to give you access to areas that are troublesome to reach while sewing. This enables you to produce better quality stitches. The automatic threader and automatic thread cutter help you start and finish quickly so that you can get to your next project.
Its extra-high presser foot gives this sewing machine the propensity for handling bulky sewing. The Janome HD3000 could, therefore, be referred to as the best sewing machine for leather bags with its extra presser foot space alongside the previously mentioned features. Its sewing speeds however allow it to handle lighter leather fabrics but it is still ideal for heavier thread fabrics such as canvas.
What do we love it for? The Janome HD3000 has quite the value for money with nifty features such as its high presser foot, automatic thread cutter, automatic needle threader, free arm, and thread tension adjustment just to name a few. With such features at its price range, the Janome HD3000 is a steal.
What were we disappointed with? With convenience features of its kind the Janome HD3000 could also use a speed control to regulate its speeds.
The JUKI DDL-8700 is quite the performer, designed as an industrial sewing machine this is undoubtedly the best industrial sewing machine for leather and here is why we think so.
With 5500 stitches per second sewing speed, this machine gets your projects done faster than a regular machine would, whether it is tough leather or cotton material. It also comes with a servo motor that makes it easier to regulate the high sewing speeds. Which would be quite utile for a beginner.
The JUKI DDL-8700 is also quite convenient, spotting features such as its presser foot with a 13 mm lift which put among the best walking foot sewing machine for leather with eased operational function. Speaking of eased operation this industrial designed sewing machine is usable at home with its reduced noise and lessened vibration feature that makes your sewing experience a little more relaxed. Its wide dimensions also add to this machine’s convenience enabling you to easily access the different functioning facets of the JUKI DDL-8700.
Why is it special? The 5500 stitches per minute sewing speed is quite impressive. Also, the fact that you can control the speed with the servo motor gives you operational options which are quite convenient. The fact that you can sew with lesser noise and vibration is an amazing feature to have on a sewing machine as well.
What are the flaws? A longer warranty would do some good in assuring the durable quality of this sewing machine at the very least. Also being a straight stitch only sewing machine limits your creative options.
As a high performing, durable, and affordable leather sewing machine, the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 has to be the best heavy-duty sewing machine for leather in the business. With its heavy-duty metal frame interior and stainless-steel bedplate, this sewing machine is what durability looks like. The SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 will not only serve you for a long time but it will serve you well too. Spotting relatively high sewing speeds of up to 1100 spm not to mention its powerful motor that makes penetrating through fabric as tough as leather a piece of cake.
And that is not all, the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 also improves your sewing experience with its automatic needle threader, a 32-stitch count for more decorative designs, and not forgetting its fully automatic 1-step buttonhole for eased button placement. Its adjustable presser footer with a high-pressure foot lifter makes it ideal for both light fabric as well as fabric as heavy as leather.
What are its best features? Our favorite feature for the SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 has to be its metal frame which not only gives this machine durability but also supports the machine’s interior mechanisms and ensures skip-free sewing. The 32-stitch count is pretty cool too.
What could be improved? The SINGER Heavy Duty 4432’s footer is relatively low which makes it a bit trickier to form stitches on folded fabric or multiple layers of it.
This is the modern sewing machine designed with modern technological features that will make sewing feel less of a task to be completed and more fun activity. Boasting of a generous 37 stitch count your creativity options have just been extended to levels that you may have not have imagined yet. It has 6 sewing feet which include; nonstick, blind stitch, spring action zigzag foot, button sewing feet, buttonhole, and zipper options. This means that you can seamlessly sew through different types of fabric from leather, to denim, to polyester, and so on. And with the drop feed, you get to apply free-motion sewing. With such features especially its footer options it would not be a mistake to refer to this sewing machine as the best sewing machine for leather and denimamong other fabrics.
That, however, is not all as you get to enjoy convenient features such as its built-in handle for better portability, a versatile free arm that accommodates different levels of sewing techniques, and its trademark jam-resistant Quick-Set drop-in top bobbin.
What makes it special? Though not mentioned in the description the Brother at your side support feature that allows you to access technical help through online platforms such as live chats is quite nifty. The feet variations and extensive stitch options widen your sewing options and enhance your creativity on the machine which is awesome and efficient.
What cons did we find? With automatic features such as automatic threading, the lack of convenient features such as an automatic thread cutter makes it less convenient. Also, its comparatively low sewing speed is a little bit disappointing.
Looking for a modern design, efficient sewing machine that will ease your sewing experience? Well, the Brother XM2701 is that sewing machine. With its 27 unique stitching options that are inclusive of an auto-size buttonhole, zigzag stitch, blind hem, and even decorative stitching you get a wider spectrum for your sewing innovation.
This lightweight sewing machine is incredibly designed to accommodate both a beginner and a seasoned sewing machine user. This is evident by features such as its versatile free arm feature that allows for a wide range of sewing tasks. With its six quick-change sewing feet, this machine could be described as the best sewing machine for denim and leather. This is because, with options such as the buttonhole, zipper, zigzag, blind stitch, narrow hemmer, and button sewing your heavy fabric options are widened.
Speaking of being the best the Brother XM2701 is also the best sewing machine for canvas and leather. Its striking performance mentioned above alongside its needle strength makes it the best machine for sewing light leather.
Why did it make our list? We like that this machine is quite versatile. This is made possible by the 27 unique stitch count, the 6 change sewing feet, and the versatile arm features.
What is not ideal about it? For a leather sewing machine its sewing speed is relatively low. Also, its needles are not strong enough to handle tough leather, which narrows your options when it comes to sewing leather.
Coming from a renowned manufacturer, the Singer Prelude 8280 is a simple looking sewing machine designed to perform well and last long. Moreover, its price makes this sewing machine an incredible pick with value for money.
The Singer Prelude 8280 spots 13 needle positions and a white LED light, which will significantly improve your sewing experience. With 100,000 hours on the LED light, you get the best possible view while you operate your sewing machine. The Singer Prelude 8280 also boasts of a heavy-duty Aluminum frame that ensures your machine lasts longer.
If you are into decorative sewing then the Singer Prelude 8280 gives you an auto-tension lock function that improves your decorative stitching experience. At just the push of a button, you can tie off your decorative stitches. Its accessories kit is also quite stocked including; a zipper foot, dust cover, a large screwdriver, a large and small spool cap, and a seam guide just to name a few. And to top it all off the manufacturer gives you a 25-year warranty is the assurance of the quality of this machine.
What are our favorite features? The long-lasting LED light is a catch as it illuminates your sewing operation for an optimum view while maintaining the same temperature for as long as you use it. Not forgetting its well-stocked accessories kit that gives you everything you need to maintain this sewing machine.
What could be better? For a sewing machine of its caliber it was a little disappointing that it did not have automatic needle threading. The stitch count is also quite limited.
Things to Consider
You now have an idea of some of the best leather sewing machines in the market and what they can offer. But you only need one and it has to be the perfect one for your needs. How do you pick the best one? Well, this buying guide will give you some of the essential features to consider before you dig into your pockets. Read on to find out how you can find the best sewing machine for leather.
Why do you need a special sewing machine for leather?
Apart from being highly stylish and fashionable, leather is tough and rugged. That said, leather can be a nightmare to work on when using a regular sewing machine. It has an extremely tough surface for a fabric (which is why we like it) that makes it hard for just any sewing needle to penetrate. Yet this is just one part of the frustration that you would get for trying to sew leather as you would cotton. Its material is also sticky, which interferes with the flow of sewing on a sewing machine and makes it difficult to pin down without making an error. And unlike regular fabric, a sewing error on leather shows and can be even more aggravating to correct (that is if you can).
This is why you need a sewing machine specifically made for leather. A sewing machine with features adjusted to cater to the rigidity and sticky nature of the leather fabric. That means reinforced needles, special footer, stronger feed dogs, and the likes.
How to sew leather on a sewing machine
Taking up home leather sewing projects to create something like wallets, a leather clutch, or maybe a leather sandal strap? Well, getting the right tool for your project is the first step but once that is done, the hard part begins. Sewing the leather to create a cool leather product. Well, sewing leather is as simple as sewing silk or cotton on a regular sewing machine as long as you have the right sewing equipment. However, to achieve the creative vision for your sewing project, especially as a beginner you need to consider some fundamental steps. Here is a step by step approach on sewing leather using the right sewing machine;
First, you will need to install the right needle. Sewing machines even for leather sewing come with different needle types that vary in shape and strength to cater to different grains of leather. Make sure that the needle you choose is the right type.
Next, if your sewing machine has various foot options, adjust to the type that is suitable for leather sewing. The walking foot and the Teflon foot are quite ideal which feed the leather through the machine for even stitching.
The third step is threading. If you are using most of the sewing machines for leather reviewed above, you get to enjoy automatic threading. Just make sure that the thread is either nylon or polyester.
You can then begin your leather sewing by making the desired stitches. Ensure that the stitches are as long as they can be since shorter stitches tend to damage rather than sew through the leather material.
During your stitching process also make sure that you do not use pins to hold it in place. This is because unlike commonly used fabric holes punctured on the leather material stay permanently.
Take your time and make sure that you make precise stitches because errors in sewing leather are unforgiving. And once you are done make sure that the thread ends are secured with tight knots.
Now that was not so hard now, was it?
So, you have spotted the leather sewing machine that you like but, can you afford it? This is the ultimate question. The prices will always vary, which is an indication of the quality and capabilities of the leather sewing machine options that you have. Ultimately the best sewing machine for you will have the features that you need without you having to break the bank to afford it. However, our advice is that you consider your sewing machine as an investment that you intend to use for a long time, also considering more stitching options to widen the scope of your sewing experience not forgetting features that enable the convenience of use. It may be costly to get all these in one sewing machine but it is well worth it in the long term.
How to pick the best sewing machine for leather
To cater to your indecision and possible confusion at this point, we have made the following detailed compilation to ease your decision-making process. By considering the following factors first, you will be able to make an easy yet informed decision on the best sewing machine for leather that works for you.
Heavy-duty vs industrial
What type of sewing projects do you intend to use your leather sewing machine for? This is a fundamental question that determines what sewing machine you choose. It all comes down to the sewing machine’s design. Heavy-duty sewing machines are designed for domestic purposes. The heavy-duty sewing machine can handle complex projects and work efficiently but only if you use it in intervals. They are more ideal for one who sews as a hobby or occasionally.
Industrial sewing machines on the other hand are designed to handle a heavy workload and can run for longer. They require minimal intervals of rest and maintenance within projects and thus are ideal for a more professional user. Of course, the industrial sewing machine will come at a higher price, therefore, beckoning the question, is it necessary?
The motor is the engine of a sewing machine; hence it goes without saying that it should be as efficient and reliable as it can be. The JUKI DDL-8700 boasts of a servo motor which is the best in this compilation. This sewing machine which also has the highest sewing speed of 5500 spm needs a motor that can keep with that speed and regulate it as well. Anything less will breakdown sending you to the repair shop and cause you to incur unwanted expenses.
The JUKI DDL-8700 appears again spotting an incredible sewing speed of 5500 spm, which is what you should go for if speed is of the essence in your sewing projects. High sewing speed means faster completion of your projects and only a fast sewing machine can help you achieve that. It is also worth noting that speed is not only about how many stitches the machine can make per minute but your ability to control this speed as well. The Juki TL-2010Q expresses this best with its speed lever that enables speed manipulation through its installed micro-computer. This way you can make more accurate stitches and improve your sewing prowess as you progressively advance to faster sewing speeds.
This is where you look at the build of the sewing machine. The machine may have all the nifty features that you require to handle your leather sewing projects but, how long should it last? Well if your answer is “a very long while” then you need a sewing machine with a very strong build. The SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 fits the bill with its heavy-duty metal frame interior and stainless-steel bedplate. If you are the clumsy type, and will probably drop your sewing machines a couple of times during its lifespan then this is the ideal sewing machine for you.
Accessories for leather sewing
It is always convenient to have as many accessories as possible attached to the sewing machine you buy. They mostly include cleaning and maintenance materials, which are useful in aiding your effort to preserve the sewing machine’s longevity. The best part about having accessories is that they are issued by the manufacturer who, ideally, has the best knowledge on what is needed for each specific function. With the right cleaning brush, for instance, you do not have to worry about damaging your sewing machine while cleaning it because you used a vacuum instead of a brush to clean the bobbin case.
Reading about the qualities of the best sewing machine for leather online is one thing. However, what assures you that this sewing machine will perform as well and for as long as advertised? Because the last thing you want is to buy a sewing machine only for it to turn into a dud months later. This is where the warranty comes in. This is the manufactures assurance that whatever is advertised is as-is. The warranty period allows you to return the sewing machine for a refund or another machine in the event that it does not function satisfactorily. The longer the warranty the better the guarantee that the sewing machine will serve you well and for a long time. Most machines that we review have an impressive 25-year warranty period, the best you can find.
The stitches are one of the most important aspects of the sewing process. It is what determines whether the sewed product is as successful as intended or damaged fabric. The best sewing machine for leather has the largest stitch length and width. The Brother ST371HD and JUKI DDL-8700 sewing machines have the highest sewing lengths and widths both at 5 mm and 7 mm respectively. These figures are the most ideal for sewing tough grain leather especially since a shorter sewing length and widths will end up damaging the leather fabric since the needle holes punctured on it are rather permanent. A better sewing machine will allow you to adjust these stitch sizes to widen your stitching options and not limit you to leather and bulky fabrics.
The number of stitches per minute is also a considerable factor that determines how fast you finish your projects. However, we recommend that you pick a speed that is as per your sewing capabilities for better sewing results.
Dimensions and weight
Do you intend to carry your sewing machine around a lot, or will it be permanently stationed at that storage room that no one uses once you buy it? The dimensions and weight of the sewing machine that you are eyeing should be determined by the answer to this question. Because the dimensions and weight determine the portability of the sewing machine. Hence the lesser the dimensions and weight figures the lesser the strain you will have to move your sewing machine around. Speaking of which, the Brother XM2701 is the most portable leather sewing machine on this list spotting dimensions of 12.1 x 5.9 x 15.3 inches and weighing 12.6 pounds.
The free arm feature is not common in older model sewing machines. It is a relatively novel and nifty feature that allows you to access sewing areas that are traditionally harder to reach. Collar and cuff stitches can be troublesome especially for a beginner. But with a free arm feature on your leather sewing machine, you can be able to navigate through that trouble to make quality stitches. It is also quite useful for sewing long straight fabric.
Manufactures continue to advance their sewing machine models to provide features that will make their sewing machines more efficient, and convenient for use. They have therefore added features that are not entirely necessary but quite utile on a sewing machine in improving the user’s sewing experience.
Features such as LED lighting systems and digital panels are quite nifty to aid in your sewing process as they enhance precision and usability for improved sewing results.
Other automatic features such as automatic threading, automatic thread cutters, and automatic bobbin winders are quite common in the modern sewing machine for ease of use. The best sewing machine for leather would have most of these features which would be a good pick if you can afford it.
This is question is quite common and the simple answer to it is yes, a regular home sewing machine can sew leather. Basically, as long as it can punch a needle hole in the material then the machine can sew it. However, can a regular sewing machine sew leather satisfactorily? The answer is no. the sturdy and sticky nature of leather makes it an obstinate material to use on a regular machine. That is why sewing machines with special features to suit leather sewing are recommended for this purpose.
Cleaning your sewing machine from time to time is important for the proper maintenance of the machine. However, this has to be done properly otherwise you would be doing the opposite of maintenance. The following is the proper sewing machine cleaning procedure;
Ensure that you have the manual at hand and take initial pictures for reassembly.
Also make sure that you have the right tools for the job, which includes a standard-issue cleaning brush and screwdriver.
Pick out a container to put the parts you take off while cleaning to prevent them from scattering and disappearing.
You can peruse through the manual to determine your sewing machine’s cleaning procedure and any special actions needed during this procedure.
The first cleaning zone will be the outside of the sewing machine using your brush to get rid of any dust, lint, and pieces of fabric.
Next, you get to clean the take-up and tension discs by running a piece of fabric vertically through the inside of the take-up lever channel and the tension discs channel. Or you could remove the left part of the top cover to access these areas if your machine can do that.
Then you will clean the needle area by first taking off the needle holder, then using the brush to gather and extract lint and fabric.
The following zone to clean is the bobbin area, where you remove the bobbin case for better access so that you can get rid of lint and accumulated fabric in this area.
Next, you could apply a little oil to the center below the bobbin. However, you should read the manual and make sure that it does not recommend otherwise. At this stage, you can also oil other moving parts of the sewing machine before reassembling.
Reassembly. Hopefully, you will remember to put everything as it originally was.
Our top pick is without a doubt the Juki TL-2010Q. This high-performing sewing machine impressed us the most with its one-of-a-kind industrial sub tension system and variable speed controller. It also includes in-built LED lighting, 23 inches workspace, and thread streaming to give you a convenient sewing experience.
Our second choice is the Baby Lock Jazz II, spotting an impressive 12-inch working space and other features such as the reverse lever, quick-set bobbin, and programmable needle motion. This machine deserves its spot as the best sewing machine for leather in its own right as an easy to use, high performing sewing machine.
Our best value pick for the best sewing machine for leather is the Janome HD3000. We loved this machine because of its versatile, easy to use features including its automatic thread cutter, automatic needle threader, thread tension adjustment, high presser foot, and free arm. At its price range, this sewing machine has quite the value for money.