There is little to rival the appearance of leather products. They look good and feel even better.
Leather goods are extremely rugged but also tough to create. The material is resistant to needles and very unforgiving when it comes to making any mistakes. A single ill-placed hole can undo all your good work and become a very expensive, frustrating mistake.
The smart solution is to invest in the best sewing machine for leather and we are here today to help take all the sting out of that buying decision.
We’ll present 10 of the best sewing machines for working with thick fabrics ranging in price from very cheap to top-tier machines better suited for commercial users.
There’s something for everyone here!
Is A Leather Sewing Machine Really Necessary?
While sewing leather by hand can be rewarding, it’s also time-consuming and certainly not the easiest type of crafting.
Buying a sewing machine is not strictly speaking necessary but it will certainly simplify things for you.
If you have decided to work with leather using a machine, buying one that is specifically designed to deal with thick material is a must. If you use a standard sewing machine, the leather is likely to stick to the throat plate or presser feet. In the best scenario it will slow you down while the worst outcome is a hole in the leather ruining your project completely.
Specialized leather sewing machines also tend to give you longer stitch length choices. This is essential for strong and secure seams.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not your existing machine will cope with leather, get some scrap leather and give it a try.
Some Basics of Sewing with Leather
Keeping a close eye on your thread tension is crucial. If you are using a regular sewing machine, it might try to stitch more tightly which can cause the thread to snap. Buying a machine specifically for working with leather will minimize this risk.
It’s essential not to skimp on your needles. Leather is predictably hard on needles so make it a rule of thumb to start a fresh project with a new needle. It’s not worth saving a few cents if you end up spoiling all your hard work by snapping the needle, jamming your expensive machine and ruining your garment all in one go!
Synthetic thread is generally better than cotton. Nylon and rayon are usually your best bets. In the case of your leather not sliding properly, some baby powder can be surprisingly effective.
If you are looking to sew with leather, it’s highly recommended that you get yourself this awesome set of presser feet to make your life easier whatever machine you use.
Before thinking about buying a new machine, honestly analyze your specific needs. Consider how you will use the machine and how much you have to spend. Buy the best sewing machine you can afford without overcommitting yourself.
We will look now at 10 of the best sewing machines for leather reviews so that you can confidently invest in exactly the right machine for you. We cover a wide range of styles and price points so that whatever you are looking for, you should have plenty of solid options.
Top 8 Best Leather Sewing Machine 2018 Reviews
1) SINGER Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine
We’ll kick off our top 8 sewing machines for leather reviews with a heavy duty, all-round workhorse from Singer, the highly respected 4423.
With a durable metal frame and a stainless steel bedplate, this Singer is built for serious mileage. Although it’s heavy, it’s not particularly bulky so you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Capable of an impressive 1100 stitches per minute (spm), this is not a machine for beginners. The extremely powerful 105-watt motor makes this raw power possible.
You’ll get a wonderful automated experience with the 4423. The needle is threaded automatically just as the bobbin will wind with a single push of a button.
The 1-step buttonhole is the easier of the two types generally available.
Four presser feet are thrown in:
- All-Purpose Foot
- Buttonhole Foot
- Zipper Foot
- Button Sewing Foot
If you want to make a small extra investment, this great set of presser feet will cover all your sewing needs and make light work of sewing with leather.
With the Singer Sewing Assistant app – available for iOS and Android – you can enjoy answers to FAQs, watch some handy tutorials and pick up some great advice on sewing techniques.
From making simple alterations to creating garments from scratch, the 4423 is a versatile powerhouse coming in at an extremely good price.
If you want a no-nonsense machine capable of sewing leather without breaking the bank, the Singer 4423 should certainly be on your shortlist.
- Frame and bedplate built to last
- Extremely fast: 1100 spm
- Great variety with 23 automatic stitch choices
- Perfect for drapery and upholstery
- Automatic needle threading and bobbin winding for total convenience
- Very reasonably priced for such quality
- Singer Sewing Assistant app gives excellent instruction
- Not suitable for those just starting out
2) Sailrite Heavy-Duty Walking Foot Sewing Machine
When it comes to sewing with leather, many people recommend hand sewing to avoid the misfeeds that are common with many sewing machines. This advice is sound if you stumble in and buy any old machine but with Sailrite’s LSZ-1 you can sew with absolute confidence.
This machine redefines “heavy duty”. You’ll be able to sew through up to 10 layers of canvas or 8 layers of Dacron fuss-free. When it comes to sewing leather, even if it’s thick from tanning, you’ll have no problems at all.
As the name hints, this machine can also be used for making sails for boats. With straight and zigzag stitches available, you can make light work of heavy sailcloths made from Dacron.
You will need to buy yourself a separate needle for leather. The needles provided will simply not puncture the material properly or stitch effectively so make the small investment and get yourself a great dedicated needle.
The Sailrite comes with a patented Power Plus Balance Wheel. This is twice as large as a regulation flywheel and offers much more power. You’ll be able to sew at 500 spm.
With the wide mechanical zigzag presser foot, you’ll be able to simply pull thick fabrics through in both directions with consistently strong results.
For beginners through to proficient home sewers and sailmakers, the LSZ-1 is a solid and durable machine that will cope with the heaviest materials all day long.
- Sew through 10 layers of canvas with ease: ideal for thick leather
- Commercial quality in a residential machine
- Power Plus Balance Wheel – bigger and more powerful than a regular flywheel
- First-rate customer support
- Make bags or work on upholstery with ease
- 2-year warranty so buy with confidence
- Straight and zigzag stitches
- Presser foot: zigzag mechanical walking foot
- Quick at 500spm
- Need to buy needle for sewing leather
3) SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine
Another classic sewing machine from Singer next, the 9960 Quantum Stylist.
This machine has 600 built-in stitches. No, that’s not a mistake. Six hundred! These are broken down as follows:
- Utility Stitches (103)
- Buttonholes (13)
- Decorative Stitches (34)
- Upper and Lower Case Letters, Numbers and Characters: 5 fonts (450)
With so many stitches, it’s great news that you can consult these on a handy reference chart on the machine itself.
There are 18 presser feet, an automatic needle threader and an automatic thread cutter taking lots of work out of your hands and allowing you to focus on your crafting while the machine does the work.
When working with larger projects, the extension table comes in very handy.
If you want to monogram, you’ll be spoiled for choice with 5 attractive fonts available.
With plenty of accessories thrown in and all major bases covered, the Singer 9960 will allow you to confidently work with leather without needing to hand sew unless you want to.
For a fully automated and digitized experience, you really can’t go wrong with the 9960. It seems almost impossible to believe that so much can be delivered for so little. If you are serious about sewing, this machine should definitely be on your shortlist.
- An incredible 600 built-in stitches for absolute versatility
- Very cheap for such quality
- Rapid sewing: 850spm
- 19 presser feet for maximum choice
- Extension table for larger projects
- Automatic needle threader and top drop-in bobbin make setting up a breeze
- Automatic thread cutter for quick and easy sewing
- Auto-pilot and speed control allow you to focus on awkward areas more easily
- Auto-sized buttonholing
- LCD display crisp and clear to read
- Can be highly confusing for beginners or those who are not tech-savvy
- Cannot mount this model to a cabinet
- Not all feet are labeled so need to consult your manual
4) JUKI DDL-5550 Industrial Straight Stitch Sewing Machine
We’ll take a look next at a more expensive industrial sewing machine from the highly reputable manufacturer Juki.
The DDL-5550 is not as versatile as some machines. It’s a single needle, straight stitch machine so if you want zigzags and more variety, this is not the machine for you.
The speed needs to be seen to be believed. With an ultra-quiet 110V motor, you can stitch at up to 5500spm. This is far quicker than most of the opposition.
For an industrial sewing machine that’s also perfectly comfortable in the home, take a good look at the DDL-5550. Think carefully about exactly how you intend to use your machine and, if your needs are simple, this is worthy of checking out further.
- Incredibly quick: 5500spm
- Brand heritage
- Whisper-quiet so perfect for home use as well as industrial projects
- Automatic thread trimmer for ease
- Auto-lubrication to minimize maintenance
- Built-in bobbin winder great time saver
- Will struggle with thicker leather
5) Juki TL-2010Q 1-Needle, Lockstitch, Portable Sewing Machine
Another great machine from Juki is up next, the TL-2010Q.
This machine is slightly less expensive than the above model but still not ideal if you are on a tight budget.
The Q is for quilting here and whether it’s ambitious quilting projects or working with leather, the Juki delivers in fine style. It should be noted that the straight mechanical stitch means that this is not suitable as an all-purpose sewing machine.
Lots of sewing machines for leather are extremely complex but this all-metal beast is extremely user-friendly without compromising on quality.
With 3 presser feet and 4 bobbins, you’ll have enough variety without being bewildered.
The main selling point of this model from Juki is the exceptional stitch quality. Simply turn the dial for length adjustments while a basic slider tweaks the speed. Starting from 200spm, you can go as quickly as 1500spm.
If you are looking for an all-rounder capable of a great deal without an excess of unnecessary stitches, the Tl-2010Q could be just what you were looking for. From beginners through to more advanced sewers, the Juki is a reliable workhorse ideal for sewing leather.
- A manufacturer you can trust
- Stitch with absolute precision
- Supersized tray perfect for large projects
- Highly durable
- Very lightweight and portable for such a heavy-duty machine
- Variable speed control slider
- Automatic threading
- Trimming system controlled by foot so keep your hands free
- Quite quick: 1500spm
- 3 presser feet and 4 bobbins
- Manual thread tension
- Cannot sew while winding the bobbin
6) Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing Machine
If you are in the market for a lightweight and portable machine that will also allow you to sew leather, the Brother CS6000i is a deserved classic.
With 60 built-in stitches and 7 varieties of buttonhole using the simple 1-step method, you have a great degree of flexibility for a wide range of crafting projects.
The LCD display is clear and easy to read. Selecting your stitch length and width is hassle-free.
The drop-in bobbin is a cinch to load and jam-resistant for your convenience.
You’ll get a free-arm built in so working with cuffs and sleeves is a breeze.
A table lets you work comfortably on more substantial projects. It’s extra-wide and a nice bonus. The sewing area comes brightly lit so you can work without needing to squint your eyes.
The CS6000i stitches at 850spm when at full clip.
For a versatile sewing machine that’s computerized while still being straightforward to use, the Brother CS6000i is a wonderful choice if you want quality on a tight budget.
- Very cheap
- Needle up and down button saves time
- Stitches are neat and even
- Start/Stop button very handy
- Easy to thread
- Drop-in bobbin is user-friendly
- Great work table for larger projects
- Very quiet
- Dust cover a nice touch
- 850spm for quick and accurate work
- Presser foot pressure does not adjust
- Some plastic parts internally so not as heavy duty as some machines
- If you switch the machine off, it reverts to default settings
7) SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine
Our penultimate machine in these best 10 sewing machines for leather reviews is yet another Singer, this time the 4432.
You’ll get 32 built-in stitches (6 essential, 18 decorative, 7 stretch, 1 fully automatic 1-step buttonhole) so that all your basic needs are covered without there being too much choice to confuse you.
The metal frame is exceptionally strudy. You can sew at pace, even with heavier fabrics, with no skipping to ruin your project. It’s so durable that it can last for decades if properly maintained.
The automatic needle threader means you’ll be up and running without fiddling around.
For experienced sewers looking for a mid-range machine capable of sewing leather, the 4432 is definitely worth a road-test.
- 1100spm for swift stitching
- 32 built-in stitches for nice variety
- Automatic needle threader to save time and effort
- Heavy-duty metal frames means no skipping while sewing
- Brand you can rely on
- Quite heavy but light enough to carry around at 15 pounds (carrying case supplied)
- Can make a high-pitched noise
- Table is not wide enough for larger projects: this is particularly awkward for beginners
- Not the best machine for novice sewers
8) Brother Designio Series DZ3000 Computerized Sewing & Quilting Machine
Rounding out our reviews of the best machines for sewing with leather is another excellent model from Brother, the DZ3000.
With a colossal 240 built-in stitches, 8 buttonholes available using the simpler 1-step method and 14 presser feet, you really do get a lot of bang for your buck with the DZ3000.
The top thread and bobbin are very easy to thread. This machine is across-the-board extraordinarily user-friendly.
The worktable is nice and wide so you can craft away on bigger projects without being cramped for space.
If you want an advanced computerized sewing machine that copes well with leather but does not leave you baffled when it comes to operating it, look no further than the Brother DZ3000.
- 240 built-in stitches gives massive variety
- 8 1-step buttonholes
- Monogramming is easy
- Extra-wide table great for large projects
- Simple to thread top thread and bobbin
- 14 presser feet included
- Supersized LCD display is ultra-clear
- Not great with 120V power supply
- Quite expensive compared to some Brother sewing machines
- Plastic feels rather flimsy
We hope that you’ve found this look at the best sewing machine for leather along with the reviews to be useful and informative.
If you are honest about your sewing needs, strict with your budget and take the time to research, there is sure to be a machine for your requirements on the list above.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries about the best sewing machine for leather or anything else related to crafting. We are always delighted to hear from our readers and more than happy to help.
Now grab some leather and put your new machine through its paces!