Let’s admit it, leather is a tough fabric to work with. Leather sticks, you can’t pin it down without messing up the fabric, and it is hard to stitch. These difficulties make it especially important to pick the best sewing machine for leather.
What you need to do is decide what you need in a sewing machine, based on the kind of leather you are going to use.
This article will explain what to look for in a leather sewing machine, and the best models currently in stock.
Best Sewing Machine for Leather: Top 10 Picks
Here are the best leather sewing machines currently available. They all work great with leather, but be sure to look at the pros and cons of each one before you make your purchase.
1. Brother ST371HD
The Brother ST371HD is awesome if you want a cheaper sewing machine that works with leather.
Although this machine is not as heavy-duty as many industrial models, it works great for first-timers, and those with a limited budget. It is simple to use, and it works well with leather and other kinds of fabrics making it a great option if you are looking for the best sewing machine for leather.
Sample Customer Review…The Brother Strong & Tough delivers a solid and straightforward machine with plenty of features to satisfy sewing demands. This machine is perfect for those who prefer the simplicity of mechanical operation over computerized. Although not as robust as an industrial model, the Strong & Tough beefs up many parts of the machine for added durability and increased sewing strength.
I was able to easily sew through multiple layers of denim and even seat belt webbing. Plus, this sewing machine just looks cool with its rugged carbon fiber-esque panels and dark charcoal accents. This is a great sewing machine for masculine types who want to sew but aren’t so fond of the flowery flourishes and pastel colors that predominate the industry.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
2. Juki TL-2010Q
Do you need a portable machine that can sew leather? Unfortunately, leather typically needs heavy-duty machines that cannot be carried around.
However, this model made by Juki is an exception if you want a portable machine.
Amazingly, this option for one of the best sewing machines for leather is lightweight and portable, while still offering a great deal of workspace, so you can work with bigger fabrics. This model comes with an automatic needle threader.
This model will work well for years.
Sample Customer Review…I love my Juki! This machine has become my prized possession. I can’t say enough great things about this machine. It is a straight stitcher and that’s really all I use. I have another machine if I need decorative stitches, but so far, I haven’t used any other machine for over a year now. I have had no issues with this machine and it sure makes sewing so much more enjoyable with the large harp and ease of use.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
3. Janome HD3000 Sewing Machine
The Janome company is well-known for making machines of high quality. The Janome HD3000 is an awesome hybrid between a sewing machine for home use and an industrial machine.
This machine is simple to use, with its automatic needle threader, and top-loading bobbin system (jam-proof). It works great on leather and other fabrics.
Sample Customer Review…Great machine! I’ve been wanting a heavy-duty machine since my last denim sewing project. This machine went through 8 layers of heavy denim without an issue! The machine has a good weight to it so it didn’t budge or shimmy while sewing those 8 layers. I’ve sewn many projects with a Singer Prelude – it did the job but, it just couldn’t make it through the denim without a struggle. This Janome HD3000 will be my go-to machine from now on. Love it!Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
4. Singer 4423
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The Singer 4423 is probably the most liked sewing machine in the world; it is cheap and very capable.
While not exactly matching the sturdiness and power of leather sewing machines, it’s awesome for first-timers and those on limited budgets.
This model sews at 1,100 stitches per minute, which is very fast. It is just as simple to use as other models made by Singer, making it one of the best sewing machine for leather.
Sample Customer Review…This machine really sews like a dream. My aunt, a fashion designer, purchased one for herself and I loved hers so much I had to have one of my own. It is truly heavy-duty as far as performance, but not too heavy to schlep around as needed. I can sew directly through leather and vinyl, and even through woven seagrass baskets and fans, which previously broke my needles instantly if I made the tiniest error.
I’ve been able to create so much more quickly and expand my capabilities with this machine. Truly the best gift I’ve given myself in a very long time. I have a Janome and another Singer but this workhorse has become my primary, while the other two are now my backup/teaching machines.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
5. Singer Quantum Stylist 9960
The Singer 9960 is perhaps the best leather sewing machine in stock.
While not a specific heavy-duty sewing machine, it is made to handle leather; it has a wonderfully smooth fabric feed, strong feed dogs, and an extension table for big projects.
The 9960 Quantum Stylist is one of the greatest sewing machines for making clothes and definitely the best sewing machine for leather. It has 600 built-in stitches, an array of editing and customization options, and lots of features that are easy to use.
Sample Customer Review…After extensive research, I chose to purchase a nice machine for myself, and I am very happy with the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist 600-Stitch machine. This is the very best sewing machine that I have ever owned. I cannot express enough how wonderful this sewing machine is. When the machine arrived, I was sewing right away. I did watch the YouTube instructions. The automatic tension works great. I love the feet and the different stitches. I use a variety of materials and all sew well with this machine.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
6. Brother CS6000i Sewing and Quilting Machine
The Brother CS6000i is a classic machine that will allow you to sew through the leather. It is lightweight, and portable. With 7 types of buttonholes, 60 built-in stitching options, and a large table, this machine is extremely versatile.
This machine is an awesome choice if you are looking for a model that is simple, quality, and budget-friendly.
Sample Customer Review…I sincerely love this machine! I usually use this machine for making my own clothes, accessories (bags, home items, gifts, etc.), and shooting DIY video tutorials. In all scenarios, it has proven to be an excellent workhorse. The machine is lightweight, very user-friendly, and comes with a generous amount of feet/accessories.
If you have any doubts about using the machine, the user manual is seriously your best friend! It’s easy to be a little suspicious of the quality because of the lower price-point, but I would recommend this machine to both beginners and more advanced sewers that are in need of a reliable home machine.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
7. Consew 206RB-5 Sewing Machine
Are you looking for a heavy-duty, simple, and efficient sewing machine? If you are, this option may be for you.
With a large bobbin, an extra-long stitch, a heavy release finger, and many attachments, the Consew 206RB-5 is made for heavy materials like leather.
Its fabric feeding is incredibly even making the stitches consistent, and all standard attachments are easy to set up.
Sample Customer Review…The machine is great, everything I was looking for in an industrial-type machine. I have had no problems whatsoever with this machine so far. Any size stitches you may need, are at the touch of your hands. Love this machine.Review from eBay.
8. Singer 4432 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Yet another Singer sewing machine that is heavy-duty is the Singer 4432. With it comes 32 built-in stitching options. The automatic needle threading system, sturdy metal frame, and easy-to-use features make this machine very user-friendly.
Sample Customer Review…I’m a professional seamstress and have been using the same machine for the last 23 years. Last week I had to take my steady Eddy into the shop for the first time ever and needed a replacement/backup. So I ordered this one. I took it out of the box and strung some denim gold thread through it and went straight through a pair of jeans, like butter.
It hung up and hummed just a little at the tripled over flatbed seam (12 layers of stretch denim) but did go right through after that and it did everything else beautifully. The finished seam looked exactly like a factory hem. The stitch length was dead on and the machine didn’t get cranky over that heavy topstitch thread like my regular machine.
Then I got a piece of scrap purple satin and played around with the settings, I went up and down with bright white thread changing the stitch and the stitch length just to see what they all look like. One word “wow.”Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
9. Singer Sew Mate 5400
Are you ready to sew leather like a pro? If so, this sewing machine may be for you. The Singer Sew Mate 5400 is highly recommended for leather tailors.
It is lightweight, portable, and the computerized system makes it very convenient to use.
Sample Customer Review…I have been using this machine for over a year and a half now and all I can say is for the price it gets the job done. I have had a Kenmore for more than 20 years and the Singer Sew Mate is much easier to use. I have had NO problems with breaking needles or bobbin problems. At one point during the Fall and Winter, I was sewing about 30 hours a week on this machine and everything worked great. The selection of stitches is really extensive for the casual sewer, and most are very nice when applied as accents to apparel. Overall, I am extremely pleased with this machine.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
10. Janome HD1000 Sewing Machine
The Janome HD1000 is a beginner-friendly, heavy-duty sewing machine. It has 14 stitching options. It has an automatic threading system along with 14 stitching options.
With the removable storage compartment, you can also sew free arm. This sewing machine is a great option for anyone looking for a basic machine that is able to sew through leather smoothly.
Sample Customer Review…I bought this machine about 3 years ago and it still works as well today as when I got it. It will easily go through many layers of fabric, even thick home decor fabrics. I struggled at first with stretch fabrics but only because I wasn’t using the right needle. One of my favorite things about this machine is that it is very easy to service myself. I dust and oil it regularly and it keeps it working very smoothly. I have 2 sewing businesses and I use this exclusively for one and as a backup to my commercial machines at the other.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
Buying Guide: Things To Consider When Purchasing The Best Sewing Machine For Leather
Leather Stitching Machine Needles
Domestic sewing machines tend to have weaker needles. If the leather is too thick, the needle is likely to break before it can puncture the fabric.
Plus, domestic machines are created to hold thinner fabrics, which means the foot might not clamp on the leather or the stitches might not be big enough. This would cause a snap to the thread.
Industrial machines tend to have denser needles. This means if you have thin leather, the machine would make big holes that might ruin your design.
Industrial machines also tend to use bigger stitches than domestic ones. So the leather would break apart more easily.
You must decide which type is best for your needs.
How to Sew Leather
Not all fabrics act the same way: chiffon is delicate, polyester stretches, and leather has unique qualities to be aware of when sewing, so choosing the best sewing machine for leather is a crucial step.
Certain types of leather are, “sticky.” When you have to use a sewing foot to hold the fabric in place, the leather might stick to the foot. If you are not careful, you might have uneven stitching.
Additionally, you must be careful about how you sew leather; when you create a hole in the leather, it is hard to disguise the hole, unlike with other fabrics.
Leather, as a heavy fabric, is not very forgiving. You cannot hold the material down with pins without those holes being a part of your design. It is important that you get a machine designed specifically for this type of fabric.
Leather Sewing Machine Accessories
Perhaps you want to try making projects with leather, but your machine is not working, and you don’t want to waste money on a new one.
Perhaps you just purchased a new machine, but you want it to be more efficient.
No matter what your reason is, here is a list of accessories to help you improve your sewing experience.
Stronger Feed Dogs
Leather might stick to the presser foot. This makes it hard to guide the fabric. Of course, you must keep the foot in place – so what can you do?
Here’s the good news. The feed dogs help keep the fabric in the right place while you stitch. They are made to gently push your fabric so the needle can do its work.
The sturdier the feed dogs (and the more you have), the more easily your machine can guide the leather as you stitch.
Stronger Sewing Needle
Obviously, you will need a leather sewing needle.
You can easily buy these needles online for an inexpensive price. Make sure to check your needle’s compatibility with a certain machine before you purchase it.
If you have the wrong sewing needle, you will get a broken needle, and possibly some unsightly holes in your leather.
Finding the best sewing machine for leather can be a difficult task, but this list provided you with 5 great options of the best sewing machine for leather on the market. Now, it’s up to you to go find the right fit for you, but keep in mind this comprehensive list of the best sewing machines for leather.
Written by: Carmen Boneck and Lauren Pinto