Best Sewing Machine for Leather in 2020

If you are in a hurry and want to find out which is the best leather sewing machine, then I’d suggest going with Juki TL-2010Q.

Anyone who works with leather regularly definitely needs a specialized sewing machine for it. After all, making mistakes with leather is expensive, time-consuming, and extremely frustrating. It is tricky business as one wrongly placed hole can ruin your entire fabric.

Hence, it is crucial to buy a good leather sewing machine after extensive research. To make things easy for you, I have compiled a list of the best sewing machines for leather. I can personally vouch for each one of these.
 
Today, I’ll be reviewing the following sewing machines for you:

Why Can’t You Use a Regular Sewing Machine for Leather?

I wanted to see for myself what will happen if I try sewing leather with a regular sewing machine. As they say, curiosity killed the cat. In this case, it actually ended up ruining my leather. Thankfully, I was using fabric scrap for the experiment.

Here’s what happened.

A regular machine is not created to accept the thickness of leather. I faced great difficulty trying to push the fabric through the throat plate and the presser foot.

With a bit of struggle, I managed to push it through but that only led to the next disaster. The machine simply refused to sew and I ended up with a stuck needle. It left undesirable permanent holes in my fabric.

I did try the popular trick of covering the universal presser foot with some tape. At least for me, this didn’t work.

Moral of the story – just don’t do it!

What to Keep in Mind When Sewing Leather

Since I have myself used sewing machines for leather work, I thought I’d include some helpful tips for you here. All these suggestions work well for both genuine and faux/vegan leather.

Inspect the Leather Before Buying

Since leather is basically animal skin, you are likely to find deformations and scars on it. Be sure to inspect the fabric carefully. You want to be sure that it will work for the project you have at hand. Hence, have a clear vision of how you would cut the pattern on it.

Also, make sure that the surface is smooth and has the right thickness for your project. A thickness of 2-3 ounces is considered thin. On the other hand, something like 10 ounces is very thick.

Thinner material is suitable for hats, pants, skirts, and other types of stretchable clothing. Thicker leather works well for making winterwear, bags, wallets and other durable items.

Use Clips and/or Tape

Since any kind of interaction with a needle will leave permanent holes, you can’t use sewing pins for planning your projects. Instead, go for binder clips, paper clicks, invisible tape or hair clips.

If your fabric is too thick or you are trying to sew multiple layers of leather, then you can hammer them together before sewing. This will reduce the height of the fabric and also make the layers lay together flatter. Do cover the leather properly with a clean cloth before picking the hammer though.

Do All Markings on the Wrong Side

I would advise you against using transfer paper and marking wheels. Use tailor’s chalk to do all the markings instead.

Make sure that all markings are on the wrong side of the garment so that your finished product turns out flawless.

Use the Right Needles and Thread

You need specialized needles to use with a sewing machine that sews leather. These needles are usually larger and designed in such a way that they can easily stitch through multiple layers.

When you sew leather, the pointed end of the needle becomes dull much faster. It’s imperative to replace the needle as soon as you notice any significant wear and tear.

Not doing this can cause damage to your fabric or sewing machine. Hence, be diligent with your needle inspections and replacements.

For thread, it is best to choose nylon, rayon or polyester. Don’t use cotton thread as it won’t give you the kind of robust stitches you require.

Do a Test Run

Since leather is expensive and unforgiving when it comes to stitching, always keep some fabric scrap handy. Do a test session with the scrap to see if you are getting the kind of results you want. It is a good idea to save the deformed and scarred sections of fabric for this purpose.

You’ll have to play around to get the right thread tension and stitch length. If the thread tension is too tight, it will break the needle.

How do you know whether you are using the right amount of thread tension or not? In the finished product, the seams should be tight and close. If they become visible when the sewn fabric is pulled, then thread tension is off for sure.

Be sure to go for longer stitches as they help create strong and secure seams. Experiment on the scraps as much as you can before starting to work with the actual fabric.

Finishing Touches

The good thing about leather is that it doesn’t require any special kind of finishing. Cut off any extra fabric from the seams and you are done! Use only the sharpest tool you can find for this as you want to keep the edges as clean as possible.

Be sure to also topstitch the seams for a professional ‘finished’ look. This will also reduce bulk and make your seams lay flat.

Leather Sewing Machine Reviews

I have done extensive market research to find the best leather sewing machines available for purchase at the moment. Let us quickly jump into the reviews.

JUKI TL-2000Qi

JUKI TL-2000Qi is an amazing heavy duty sewing machine for leather. Not surprisingly, it is a massive hit amongst professional sewists worldwide. JUKI TL-2000Qi falls somewhere between a classic home sewing machine and an industrial sewing machine.

It certainly has the power and speed of an industrial machine. You get to straight stitch at a speed of 1500 stitches per minute.

JUKI TL-2000Qi has been designed to handle tough heavy duty fabrics like leather, vinyl, canvas, and denim. It does fall at the higher end of the price spectrum. But if quality is your top priority, then this is a worthy investment.

Its sturdy metal body ensures that the machine does not vibrate all over the place while in use. You also get the option to manually select stitch length using the adjustment dial. Any person who has sewn leather knows that this is a very important and useful feature.

Pros

  • Comes with an extension table to give you a wide work area
  • High-speed stitching (up to 1500 stitches per minute)
  • Responsive foot pedal for controlling sewing speed
  • Large throat area makes it easily maneuvering bulky projects
  • Sturdy, stable and durable (constructed out of aluminum die cast)
  • Automatic needle up/down function
  • Option to select stitch length
  • Knee lever to lower or raise the presser foot without using your hands

Cons

  • Speed can be controlled only through the foot pedal
  • The automatic needle threader is not very user-friendly

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Juki TL-2010Q

Juki TL-2010Q is a much more advanced version of JUKI TL-2000Qi. It is also, of course, a pricier version of JUKI TL-2000Qi.Like JUKI TL-2000Qi, the Juki TL-2010Q is also a single needle straight stitch machine with an ability to sew 1500 stitches per minute.

They both come with a knee lever that you can use for lowering or raising the presser foot. Both machines are sturdy, stable and powerful weighing between 37-38 pounds.

There are a few major differences between the two sewing machines. Juki TL-2010Q comes with a sliding speed control. You can use it to set the sewing speed anywhere between 200-1500 stitches per minute. On JUKI TL-2000Qi, sewing speed can be controlled only through the foot pedal.

Another additional feature is a tension scale and a sub-tension lever located on top of Juki TL-2010Q. You can use it to adjust the tension manually. This will reduce the likelihood of the thread becoming too loose or too tight while stitching at high speed.

Pros

  • Sliding speed control allows you to set sewing speed anywhere between 200-1500 stitches per minute
  • Tension scale and sub tension lever for manually adjusting thread tension (JUKI TL-2000Qi does not have the sub tension lever)
  • Comes with an additional 1/4th inch quilting foot (not included with JUKI TL-2000Qi)
  • Large throat area
  • Includes auxiliary table measuring 12 x 23 inches
  • Stitch length regulator with 6 settings
  • Automatic needle up/down function
  • Knee lever to lower or raise the presser foot handsfree

Cons

  • The automatic needle threader is not very user-friendly
  • The instructions manual is not very good

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Brother ST371HD

Brother ST371HD is a beginner-friendly heavy duty sewing machine for leather. It falls on the lower end of the price spectrum. It is an excellent choice, especially for newbies or for those who are nervous about investing a lot of money in a sewing machine for leather.Brother ST371HD comes with 37 built-in stitches allowing you to work on a wide array of sewing projects. You also get 6 presser foot attachments (blind stitch, zipper, buttonhole, spring action zigzag, nonstick, and button sewing foot).

The nonstick foot is very good at gliding over heavy duty fabrics. Hence, you get smooth and consistent stitches on leather, suede, vinyl, and other difficult fabrics.

It comes with 2 needles (number 16 and 14) for heavy-duty sewing. The number 16 needle helps you in tackling heavyweight fabrics. The number 14 needle comes in handy when you are sewing multiple layers of fabric together.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly – very easy to work with
  • 37 built-in stitches with an easy stitch selection dial
  • One-step buttonhole feature
  • 2 needles for heavy-duty sewing are included
  • Fast sewing (as per user reports, it can sew up to 800 stitches per minute)
  • Comes with 6 presser foot attachments and 3 needles in total
  • Versatile – suitable for both heavy duty and regular/lightweight projects
  • Portable and lightweight

Cons

  • Speed can be controlled only by adjusting the pressure on the foot pedal
  • Has a plastic body and parts – long-term durability might be an issue

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Singer Heavy Duty 4411

Singer Heavy Duty 4411 is another excellent option for the price-conscious buyer. It is certainly one of the cheapest heavy duty sewing machines available in the market.

This Singer leather sewing machine is very easy to use and beginner-friendly. It comes with 11 built-in stitches (4 decorative, 6 basic, and 1 buttonhole stitch). You also get 4 presser foot attachments (all-purpose, zipper, buttonhole, button sewing). These features allow you to work on a lot of different sewing projects.

I also really like the fact that you can easily select a custom stitch length/stitch width. I can’t emphasize how helpful this is when you are working with leather. Half your job is done once you get the stitch length/width right.

Another great feature is the clear cover on top of the top drop-in bobbin case. It helps you to conveniently monitor thread supply.

On the flip side, there is no speed selection dial. Sewing speed depends entirely upon how you are maneuvering the foot pedal. However, after a few trial runs, you will ideally get a hang of how much pressure to put on the foot pedal to sew at your desired speed.

Pros

  • Very inexpensive for a heavy duty leather sewing machine
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Option to select stitch width/stitch length
  • 11 built-in stitches (4 decorative, 6 basic, and 1 buttonhole stitch
  • 4 presser foot attachments (all-purpose, zipper, buttonhole, button sewing)
  • Top drop-in bobbin with a clear cover to monitor thread supply
  • Versatile – suitable for both heavy-duty and regular/lightweight sewing
  • Relatively quiet and fast sewing experience

Cons

  • No automatic needle threader
  • Not the most reliable leather stitching machine (especially if you are a professional who has to work with heavy duty fabrics every day)

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Janome HD3000

Janome HD3000 is a massive hit amongst professional sewers worldwide. This little gem is certainly not perfect but it’s also not too far from it.

It comes with 18 built-in stitches. That’s quite a wide variety of stitches to get creative with without feeling overwhelmed.

Janome HD3000 is also a fairly intuitive machine that even a beginner can use easily.

Some people report facing difficulty threading the machine and winding the bobbins. I would suggest watching a few videos to learn how to do this properly and you will be good to go.

Janome HD3000 comes with a powerful motor that can sew up to 860 stitches per minute. You have to control the speed using the foot pedal. However, it is highly responsive. I don’t think it will take you too long to figure out how much pressure is right for you.

This is one of the very good leather stitching machines out there. It creates even, consistent, and beautiful stitches. If you are looking for a value for money high-quality sewing machine that will stand by you for a long time, then this is a great option.

Overall, this is a pretty amazing sewing machine for both heavy duty and lightweight sewing.

Pros

  • Constructed out of durable material (with a painted aluminum body)
  • Intuitive and responsive – excellent stitch quality
  • Powerful motor (offers a sewing speed of up to 860 stitches per minute)
  • Comes with 2 packs of leather needles and 1 pack of universal needles
  • 18 built-in stitches with an easy to use stitch selection dial
  • Presser foot pressure adjustment dial (helps in choosing the right amount of pressure to match the fabric thickness)
  • Automatic needle up/down function
  • Reverse stitch lever

Cons

  • There is no option to shift the needle to the left when selecting stitch width (you can only shift it to the right)
  • Bobbin winder is not very user-friendly

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

The Winner

If you are looking for the absolute best sewing machine for leather and can afford the price tag, then I would recommend going with Juki TL-2010Q.

In the world of sewing machines, you get what you pay for. This Juki leather sewing machine performs like a dream. The sewing quality is unmatched.

I would especially recommend this to you if you are a professional whose business depends upon their sewing machine. Nevertheless, it is also a great match for you if you are a hobby sewer who prioritizes quality.

The thing I like most about this sewing machine is that it sews super fast (up to a maximum of 1500 stitches per minute). It also comes with a speed control slide. You can use it to set the speed anywhere between 200-1500 stitches per minute. I personally find it very useful as I don’t like having to rely upon the foot pedal alone for speed control.

This is a special feature that most heavy duty leather sewing machines lack. JUKI TL-2000Qi doesn’t have this feature either. Hence, it is also cheaper.

Another added plus with Juki TL-2010Q is that you get the option to do a lot of fine-tuning to the thread tension and stitch length. Stitch quality depends greatly upon using the right stitch length and thread tension. Therefore, this is very useful when you are working with leather.

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2 thoughts on “Best Sewing Machine for Leather in 2020”

    1. According to the company, Juki TL-2010Q consumes around 100 watts or 1.4 amp power. Let me know if you have any other question?

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