Can you use your home sewing machine to sew leather?
There are many tutorials with tips for sewing leather on your regular home sewing machine. Most of these tips are recommendations to buy specialized accessories like needles or foot for leather. The truth is, even after the investment, an all-purpose machine will not achieve the perfect quality of stitching leather. To create belts and other thick leather items, you need a powerful machine that can penetrate heavy materials. If you are deeply into leather sewing and seriously aim to make your dreams come true, you should get a good heavy duty sewing machine for leather and arrange your workplace accordingly, buying all necessary special-purpose accessories for the machine itself and perhaps even a sewing table to handle such projects. If you sew rarely or need to sew only thin leather items, then you can use your regular sewing machine.
What makes the best sewing machine for leather?
When people describe a sewing machine using a word ‘best’, they can put at least two different meanings in it. By ‘best’, most of the hobbyists—especially beginners—mean price-quality ratio. But although special-purpose heavy duty or even industrial sewing machines for leather can cost you a fortune, it doesn’t always have to be this way. For example, Singer 4423 is a very affordable option, yet it sews different types of leather with precision and makes accurate seams. Leather clothes and accessories designers often don’t worry about money, their concern is the possibilities of the machine and by ‘best’, they mean ‘great performing, feature-rich, specialized’. If you’re serious about sewing leather and that’s the way you think, something like the JUKI DU-1181N would be a great option for thin leather, and for heavy leather, you can choose models like the Reliable Barracuda 200ZW. These models feature such accessories as specialty feed dogs or a foot designed for leather. Consider your budget and requests to decide what is best for you.
Domestic vs. industrial sewing machine for leather
There are three differences between domestic and industrial sewing machines. First, domestic machines have a smaller engine and less piercing power. Thus, penetrating thick and heavy material with accuracy will be difficult. The second difference is needles. Industrial machines have stronger needles. These devices often come with a bunch of useful accessories like extra needles for very heavy leather, canvas, denim or satin. The last difference is a construction. Industrial machines are built for sewing all day long; they are productive and reliable, created for durability. With such heavy-duty industrial sewing machines, you can successfully run business and create as many masterpieces as you want without any machine durability issues. For professionals, it is the right choice. Hobbyists and occasional sewers may find this investment unnecessary. They will be perfectly happy with devices like the Janome HD 3000.
Stronger needles, feed dogs, and a special-purpose foot
There are different types of needles for thick and thin materials. The needles penetrating multiple layers of fabric need to be strong. The needles of industrial sewing machines usually are the strongest. In addition, you can easily order extra needles. Such companies as the TechSew, Toyota, Brother, and Singer provide high-quality needles made specifically for heavy-duty tasks.
The mechanism that feeds the fabrics under the needle is called a feed dog. Choosing the right feed dog is critically important when it comes to working with delicate fabrics like thin leather. The TechSew 2700 has a specialty feed dog that prevents the piece of cloth from tearing while sewing.
When it comes to working with faux leather or other sticky fabrics, a special-purpose foot is better than a normal basic presser foot. The first one prevents the material from sticking and helps with feeding through properly. A walking foot is probably the most popular type of specialty foot. If you want to grip the thick leather from both the top and bottom and feed it through easily, you should pick the walking foot. For example, the walking foot that comes with the Reliable Barracuda 200ZW allows you to fully control the movement of the thick and heavy material. The other sewing machines from our research also have a special-purpose foot for leather or a presser foot adjustment. Honestly, you can choose any of them. Both options make your sewing more comfortable and shield you from unintentional mistakes. For example, the JUKI TL-2010Q and Janome HD3000BE with their presser foot adjustment are the common choices for faux leather projects.
Leather doesn’t forgive mistakes – you can’t fix them. Sometimes, to make a perfect steam, you need a speed control. Beginners appreciate this feature because they yet cannot sew quickly and accurately. For professionals who create many items in a short time, it is best to have a fast sewing machine. Anyway, it is much better to have options than to have not. Depending on your project, you can choose from 200 to 1500 stitches per minute.
When a company offers a long-term warranty, this means that risks are calculated and the probability of breakage is low. Domestic sewing machines like Singer 4423 Heavy Duty and Brother ST371HD are usually backed by 25-year limited warranty. But the warranty on industrial sewing machines is much shorter and can last from two to five years.