Fashion trends come and go every year or so only to come back in style a decade or two later, but leather never seems to go out of style. Leather is a thick fabric that is best sewn with the right kind of sewing machine and supplies. Leather is also somewhat costly to buy, so you want to make sure you get it right the first time. Here are some reviews on the top ten best sewing machines for leather. While they may all seem similar, you’ll find that they’re all different in their own way.
For your convenience, we’ve included a comparison chart so you can compare the special features found in each machine. We hope this review can help make your decision a whole lot easier.
Janome HD3000 – Heavy-Duty Machine Ideal for All Skill Levels
The Janome HD3000 is a heavy-duty machine designed to go through a variety of fabrics. Inside the machine’s top tray door, you’ll find a convenient instructional guide that’ll tell you how to adjust stitch settings, and also you’ll find several presser feet for different sewing tasks. The heavy-duty aluminum body ensures this machine’s durability.
This machine gives you a lot of stitch variance with a maximum stitch length of 0.15 inches and a maximum stitch width of 0.25 inches. You’ll be able to sew through fabrics like denim, leather upholstery, vinyl, canvas and sailcloth easily when you use the ultra-glide foot and either vinyl or leather needles.
Singer 4423 – Amazon’s Choice Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
The Singer 4423 is a mechanical heavy-duty sewing machine that sews like an industrial one with a price you’d often find on a no-frills household sewing machine. Between the stainless steel bedframe, heavy-duty metal interior frame, extra-high sewing speed and 60% stronger motor, this machine can sew through several layers of fabric with ease. Because of its fast sewing speed (1,100 stitches per minute), you can whip through your sewing projects in about one-third less time.
You’ll have all the help you need, as well as access to new sewing techniques, with the Singer Sewing Assistant App, which is downloadable through Google Play or iTunes. Singer’s Social Media Support also allows you to communicate with other sewers and exchange sewing ideas. The Singer 4423 is a basic machine that will get the job done without tons of complicated instructions to follow. Included with the numerous accessories are a storage case, a soft-sided dust cover and an instructional DVD.
Brother Cs6000i – 2018 Women’s Choice Award Sewing and Quilting Machine
The Brother Cs6000i is a computerized sewing and quilting machine that allows you to sew and quilt a variety of professional-looking projects in less time than you’d ever imagine. The built-in free arm makes it easy to sew cuffs, sleeves, pant legs and other round things that would otherwise be almost impossible to sew. If speed control has been a problem in the past, you’ll love the integrated speed control slider that allows you to just set a speed you want and you’ll sew consistently at that speed regardless of how hard you press the foot pedal.
You can create almost any project on this machine. Some simple little features that can help you make some exciting apparel or home décor items include various quilting stitches, blind stitch feet, decorative stitches, easy-to-make buttonholes, eight different quilting and sewing feet and more. In addition, the Brother Cs6000i comes with a heavy carrying case to protect the machine when transporting it from place to place.
Brother ST371HD – 2018 Women’s Choice Award Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
The Brother ST371HD is a heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine that’s strong and tough enough to get through almost any project. Whether you’re sewing through lightweight silk, layers of denim or leather, you’ll get the same smooth, effortless operation. The metal needle plate offers the threading mechanism protection while improving the thread pick up speed. For extra stability, the machine features a metal chassis. The machine also has a built-in handle, making it easier to take from one location to another.
The Brother ST371HD gives you many great features for the money. You get 6 versatile feet, one of which is a nonstick foot that sewers love because it helps you to glide smoothly over the fabric while creating perfect stitches. The walking foot gives you tight, even and consistent stitches. This machine has a one-step buttonhole function that makes buttonholes that automatically fit the button size. You have the option of dropping feed dogs if you want to do some free motion quilting. It also gives you an extra-high presser foot lift capability.
Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist – Ranked 8th Among Sewing Machines
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is a computerized portable leather sewing machine that offers not only a wide selection of stitches and fonts but also a large backlit LCD screen with brightness control so you get clear and easy viewing of all your stitches. Are you the type of person who believes the simpler the better? If so, you’ll love everything about the Singer 9930 Quantum Stylist.
Another unique feature of this machine is that it comes with 18 presser feet, many of which are unique, such as the even feed/walking foot, the open toe foot, the fancy trim foot, the stitch in the ditch foot, the braiding foot, the overcasting foot and the bias binder foot, to name just a few. Other unique and special features include an extra-high presser foot lifter, a center zigzag taper, an electronic autopilot, an auto presser foot pressure control, an automatic reverse function and 25 needle positions.
Sailrite LSZ-1 Plus – Heavy-Duty Ultrafeed Walking Foot Sewing Machine
The Sailrite LSZ-1 Plus is a walking foot sewing machine designed for heavy-duty work. To prove just how heavy-duty it really is, it was tested with several layers of heavy fabrics, including canvas, denim, sailcloth and even upholstery fabrics. It passed the test by going through 8 layers of Dacron and 10 layers of heavy canvas.
The company that makes the Sailrite LSZ-1 Plus wants to know that their customers are happy with their purchase. Their customer support includes personalized support, a warranty, a comprehensive manual, and a Set-up, Use and Maintenance DVD. This machine is fitted on a wooden base for added stability.
JUKI TL-2010Q – Super Fast Quilting and Sewing Machine
The JUKI TL-2010Q is a sewing and quilting machine that sews faster than almost any other machine. If all the correct settings are used, this machine does a great job on most types of fabric. It also comes with an extension table for a wider work area. It sews through canvas, upholstery, leather and almost any other fabric you can think of.
This full rotary hook sewing machine is not a beginner’s machine but makes for a perfect second machine for sewers who want to advance their sewing skills to the next level. The aluminum die cast arm and bedplate not only make the machine more durable but also provide a low-vibration and quiet operation.
Singer 4411 – Highly Ranked Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
The Singer 4411 is a heavy-duty sewing machine that does not only come with built-in decorative stitches, but also provides the basic ones. Its adjustable presser foot control and adjustable needle position give you the extra help you need when working with heavier fabrics or layers of fabric.
The Singer 4411 comes with three different warranties. As with all Singer sewing machines, this one also offers various video tutorials through the Singer Sewing Company as well as Social Media Support where you can communicate with other sewers worldwide.
Singer CG590 – Commercial Grade Sewing Machine
The Singer CG590 is a sewing machine that offers you the speed, quality and performance sewers want and need to create professional-looking apparel, crafts or other sewing creations. The convenient drop-feed system makes darning and free motion quilting easy and fast. The electronic foot control gives you a consistent speed without the annoyance of jump-starts every time you start sewing. If that’s not enough, it also has a regulating dial you can set for slower speeds regardless of the amount of pressure you’re applying.
The Singer CG590 has a lot of special features to make sewing fun, easy and convenient, including the needle position selector, the top drop-in bobbin with no bobbin case needed, the free arm sewing and the stitch balance control. These features, not found on many machines, let you make adjustments so the top and bottom thread meet at the right spot.
Singer HD 4432 – Heavy-Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine
The Singer HD 4432 is a mechanical sewing machine that’s durable, sturdy and will have you understanding why Singer sewing machines have such a good reputation. It comes with a variety of accessories and, while it may not sew through multiple layers of thick leather, it will sew through a lot of different fabric types and thicknesses.
The Singer HD 4432 has many of the same features as other machines, such as an on-board storage, a built-in needle threader, a built-in reverse, three needle positions, an adjustable presser foot control and an adjustable stitch width up to 0.23 inches. However, the strong construction of this machine has put it above many others. Also, you can download the Singer Sewing Machine App, which will give you many sewing tutorials, patterns and sewing ideas.
Choosing a Leather Sewing Machine: Video
Things to Consider When Buying a Sewing Machine
When we buy a new sewing machine, we generally buy it with the intent of having it and using it for many years. Unfortunately, many consumers spend hundreds of dollars buying machines only to replace them with a new or better model a few years later because the original purchase wasn’t what they really needed or wanted.
One of the best tips I can give is to know what you want and need before you make the purchase. Just because a salesperson tells you that you’ll love a certain feature doesn’t mean you’ll actually use that feature. Do you really want to spend your hard-earned money on things you don’t need?
Here are some helpful tips on buying the best sewing machine for leather.
- Consider buying from an actual dealer. You may not get the lowest price with a dealership, but you’ll get a lot better customer service and help when you need it. In many cases, they’ll also service the machine if needed.
- Try the machine out. Sewing leather and similar fabrics is a little more difficult than lightweight fabrics. Set some time aside, go to the shop and try sewing on a couple of machines. If you have a question, the dealer should be able to answer it.
- Take a few fabrics with you. Grab a couple of different swatches of fabrics you know you’ll be sewing with and take them to the sewing shop and try them out. That’s the best way to find out if a certain machine will handle your kind of sewing projects.
- More is not always better. Owning the most expensive sewing machine and the one with the most features is great if you can afford to buy something you won’t use. While it’s important to not buy a simple machine that you’ll outgrow in a year or two, you also don’t want to buy one so complicated that it intimidates you so much that you'll quit using it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do I need a special kind of thread to sew leather?
Answer: The best type of thread for leather is bonded nylon thread. Bonded nylon thread comes in a variety of different weights and thicknesses. Besides having a sewing machine designed to sew through leather, one of the most important things is to use the right kind of thread and needle size. When buying thread, match the thread weight and thickness with the fabric you’re using and the project your making.
Question: Why do I need a sewing machine just for leather when I already have a household sewing machine that still works well?
Answer: Household sewing machines are more than adequate for most sewing projects and fabrics. However, they generally have a limit on the sewing machine needle size’s they can accommodate. In many cases, size 19 is the biggest needle you can use. If you’re sewing thicker leather, you may need a larger size to avoid breaking needles.
Question: Where is the best place to buy my new sewing machine for sewing leather?
Answer: Shopping can be very complicated today, especially with the addition of online shopping. If you’re uncertain about your new machine, you might want to go to a store that specializes in sewing machines and lets you try them out. Once you get an idea of which one fits you best and which one you feel most comfortable, you can purchase it there or look for the same model online.
Many inexperienced and beginner sewers are intimidated by the idea of sewing through thicker fabrics. It may be because they’ve been unsuccessful in the past sewing with old fashioned machines designed for light-duty use. Or, it could be due to horror stories they’ve been told about broken needles and skipped stitches. The great news is that sewing through leather and similar fabrics can now be fun and easy with the right sewing machine for leather fabrics. With the aid of this buying guide, sewers can find the right machine to meet their sewing needs.