The last guide to find the best sewing machine for leather you’ll ever need

In this article, we have explored some of the best sewing machines for leather, a complete guide to select the best sewing machine for leather, tips to sew leather with regular sewing machines and types of industrial leather sewing machines.


We'll keep on updating this article with the best available machines to sew leather that suits your budget.

Leather! Yes; leather is a fine product that is charming, irresistible and durable. Leather seldom walks out of fashion. It makes people go awestruck due to its finesse of the product and quality.

Crafting goods with leather can be little tricky, and it requires a machine that can bear its firm texture. With the regular needle, you might end up breaking the needle or even spoil the quality of the standard sewing machine.

Standard machines cannot take the overload of heavy duty fabric like leather, Canvas, Vinyl, and so on. However, you might be surprised with the way leather smoothly works and is so easy to sew with a heavy duty sewing machine for leather.

Our selection of eight best sewing machines for leather

Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine

Janome is known for its quality and has produced lots of computerized machines like Janome 8077 and also mechanical machines like Magnolia 7318.

What are the pros?
  • It has a reverse stitch lever to secure the threads and has a durable leather product. Reverse stitch lever helps in locking the stitch so that threads don’t break when the product is consistently used.
  • Seven piece feed dogs system provide great versatility and move different types of fabrics very smoothly on this machine. It can handle leather, knits as well as silk.
  • 18 in-built stitches although not sound a lot, but it will cover your all the basic needs plus provide you with some fancy stitches to get your creative side going.
  • 1 step buttonhole essential if you want a hassle-free perfect button-hole.
  • Stitch selection dial so you can easily access stitches.
What are the cons?
  • No speed control button on the machine, which could be handy for beginners.
  • It's noisy
Can I sew leather on Janome HD3000?

This machine has a lot of amazing things and can hold thin leather excellently. You can make leather garments, but don't expect to sew thick industrial leather with this machine. Read the full review of HD3000 here

Juki DDL 8700 Straight Stitch Industrial Sewing Machine

Juki is a brand known to produce high-quality sewing machines. The machines are not only high quality but also well crafted. 

What are the Pros?

This machine is a beast here are some of its amazing features.

  • Looking for speed to increase the output rate of your sewing projects, you can go as fast as you can with 5,500 stitches per minute speed.
  • Support many different types of fabrics
  • It is an industrial machine it does come with a knee lift pressure foot
  • It is a rock solid machine and made of metal.
What are the cons?
  • It does not come with a servo motor, but like most industrial machines it has a clutch motor. 
  • It is noisy due it's motor.

However, these cons are not deal breaker for this excellent machine; most industrial machines have these fundamental problems. Here is the review of Juki DDL 8700 straight stitch industrial sewing machine.

Singer 4423

This 23 built-in stitch machine is known as heavy duty extra high-speed sewing machine. And why not! The body is made of heavy metal, and bedplates are that of stainless steel.

What are the pros?
  • It can stitch at a remarkably high speed of 1100 stitches per minute.
  • Easy to use. 
  • Let the Automatic needle threader; thread the needle for you.
What are the Cons?
  • You have to bit careful with the foot pedal. It's touchy and challenging to control the speed of this machine.
Can I sew leather on singer 4423?

Yes, it can sew through one or two layers of leather and other heavy fabrics. You'd have to experiment with layers and don't put the too much unnecessary strain on this machine

You can go up to one layer of 8oz to 9oz leather to push it to its limit. Having said that, don't do it regularly or you will sabotage your machine. 

As usual, you need to have all those prerequisite before you sew leather on this machine.

Should I buy this machine?

Although this machine does not have all those bells and whistles, it does an excellent job with its limited stitch options.

With the incredible speed and ability to handle heavy duty fabric I'd recommend this machine to anyone who is starting out.

If you have some minor leather projects to work with on irregular intervals go with this compact machine. Otherwise, opt for an industrial grade machine. 

Singer 9960 quantum stylist sewing machine

It is a futuristic and one of the advanced machines by Singer brand. It is made for stylists.

What are the pros?
  • To be precise, it has 600 built-in stitches that are a lot to create and recreate the magic on fabrics.
  • Buttonhole can be difficult to create, but with this machine, you can sew 13 different styles of automatic buttonholes. The best part is every buttonhole requires only one step so that you can do more in less time.
  • You'll love the auto pilot and speed control options. These will allow you just to press the button and machine will sew for you on the speed you choose.
  • Also, it has an automatic thread cutter that trims upper and lower threads with one single touch.
  • You also have five different font options to emboss fabrics or sign a signature on fabrics.
  • Also, it has an automatic thread cutter that trims upper and lower threads with one single touch.
What are the cons?
  • There is no knee lifter which could have been a handy tool. But no other machine in this price range has it too. 
  • Not all the feet provided with this machines are labeled. But you can watch videos on YouTube to identify the feet.  
Can I sew leather on singer 9960?
  • Yes, it can sew light weight leather and also other light to heavy weight fabrics. But you need to insert the right needle, use proper feet and the right tension on the machine to deal with leather or other thick fabric on this machine.
Should I buy it?

This machine is superstar all-rounder with amazing bells and whistles you can dream of. It can handle your regular sewing machine, quilting machine and monogramming machine tasks.

If you are looking to work with thick fabric on this computerized machine, you can do that with right settings and right accessories.

Off course, you can't do upholstery covers, for that you need industrial grade machine with fewer bells and whistles.

However, Singer 9960 quantum stylist machine is great for you if you do create different sorts of clothing at home from light to heavy fabrics except for upholstery.

Singer 5532

Again a product from Singer brand – a reliable and high-speed the Singer leather sewing machine.

What are the pros?
  • It can sew flawlessly at high speed of 1100 stitches in a minute.
  • You'll have 32 built-in stitches modes to choose from; including 11 essential, ten decoratives, One Buttonhole and ten stretch stitches. 
  • Light on weight despite the metal frame inside. 
What are the cons?
  • The LED light is not bright enough to be a stand-alone light in the room.
Can I sew leather on Singer 5532?

Yes, it can. It works efficiently on many types of fabrics such as jeans, pants, coats, leather garments, fleece, sequin, lycra and so on. 

Should I buy it?

If you are a beginner and have the variety of things to sew including leather garments, it will not let you down.

Although it can handle many types of light to heavy fabrics, I don't recommend using it on 9oz leather or more. If you have to make horse riddles, belts, boots, then should go for the industrial sewing machine for leather. 

Singer CG590 Commercial Grade Sewing Machine

The Singer is a renowned name in the world of sewing machines. If you want a basic lightweight sewing machine from the Singer that is not made for leather, you can read this machine review or this one. Here are some of the pros of Singer CG590.

What are the pros?
  • It can sew at high speed efficiently with approximately 1100 stitches per minute.
  • This machine has heavy duty metal frame with bed plate made of stainless steel.
  • It has 18 built-in stitch patterns with a 4 step buttonhole and three positioning of needles.
  • Presser foot lifter will help you raise the presser foot little higher to accommodate your heavy fabric.
  • You can adjust the stitch size (length and width both) on this machine.

Sailrite Heavy Duty LSZ-1

Sailrite heavy duty LSZ-1 is a non-fancy simple easy to learn walking foot machine that has lots of power.

What are the pros?
  • Can sew up to 8 layers of Dacron, ten layers of heavy canvas any many layers of denim and other fabrics.
  • It comes with basic walking foot, power plus balance wheel and advanced Posi-pin clutching system that allows the incredible power to transfer from balance wheel to the needle to deal with the heaviest fabrics.
  • It’s most amazing feature is that it also comes with a built-in piping tunnel that helps users to sew a piping on cushions without scratching their heads. This feature is incredible to pipe without much assistance.
  • It also has a high 3/8” foot lift that allows enough room to maneuver heavy fabric.
What are the cons?
  • Although it is compact size, this heavy duty sewing machine for leather is heavy and not easy to move around.
  • Due to its small size, its throat is narrow which could be difficult if you are sewing extra size fabric.
Can I sew leather on this machine?

Power plus wheel, walking foot, 5 mm width of zigzag stitch and 6 mm of straight stitch make this heavy duty sewing machine a beast. It can handle heavy fabrics like leather, canvas, denim, dacron and even upholstery materials with ease.

However, if you want to make shoes, this is not a machine for you. It can handle the thickness, but you'll need post arm machine or cobbler machine to reach on difficult inside parts of the shoe material.

Should I buy it?

If you have some of the heaviest materials to tackle and don't have enough budget to get an expensive industrial machine. This compact heavy duty machine will able to handle your most heavy-duty requirements.

TacSew GC6-6 Industrial Machine

It is another good machine to sew leather, easy to use, and can perform things at high speed.

What are the pros?
  • You'll love the special top and bottom feed that is engineered to prevent fabric from slipping.
  • M style large bobbin can gather more thread than the regular bobbin size.
  • You do not have to lubricate it every day; it lubricates automatically. It is a hassle free and time saver feature on this sewing machine.
  • It is fast and can stitch up to 1600 stitches in a minute. However, it solely depends on the fabric. You can't sew every fabric including leather at such a high speed.
What are the cons?
  • It is a straight stitch machine, and don't come with a zigzag stitch. If you need a zigzag stitch, spend $100 more and go with Sailrite Heavy-Duty LSZ-1.
  • Not easily portable
  • Noisy
Can I sew leather on this machine?

Yes, it can sew leather with ease and perfection. It supports up to 8mm of straight stitch length, which is more than enough to handle heavy fabric like leather.

Should I buy it?

Yes, if you need a straight stitch powerful machine that can sew leather and other upholstery fabrics, you'll love the power of this simple walking foot machine.

Map for searching the best sewing machine for leather:

Here we have aligned a series of categories that can serve as a map while selecting the best sewing machines for leather. You need to consider a lot of things while shopping for the best leather stitching machine.

And having map, guidance, tips and reviews handy can serve the purpose and also save time. All the machines vary from one another regarding features, design, and engineering. 

Why do I need a sewing machine for Leather?

The leather is an expensive material and taking the risk with that is not recommended. Selecting a machine specifically to sew leather is important for a few reasons mentioned below.


Leather and heavy duty fabrics can damage standard sewing machine. 
Standard machine’s needles are not made to sew leather, and they often break while sewing leather.


Standard machines cannot carry thread from one hole to another, but the needle keeps on piercing. These needle piercings can damage the leather, and leave permanent holes.


Some leathers have a sticky surface on the other side. When you sew this type of leather, it often gets stuck with the throat plate of the machine. Oh boy! this is the worst feeling ever.


Mostly you are required longer stitches for the leather, that your regular sewing machine does not support.


Best sewing machine for leather can render you with the best service and sew for years


Standard sewing machines tend to have the light grip of stitches. As standard machines are engineered to sew lighter fabrics; that requires light stitch grip to hold two pieces of cloth.

Since leather is a solid material, lighter stitch formula will not work on it. Some machines try to adapt to firmer stitches which can cause breakage of both needle and thread.​


Standard machines can also accumulate large lump of thread on the other side of the fabric. When you are working with leather, it will cause issues.

Going for the best sewing machine for leather will be a wise investment. As neither leather is a cheap material nor leather products are.

Can you sew leather with your standard sewing machine?

Yes, you can sew leather on some regular sewing machines, but there are limits. Mostly there is a cap on how much thick material machines can accept, and it is low on a regular sewing machine.  

Additionally, you need to prepare your machine for this kind of special project. 

If you try to sew more adhesive leather, there are chances you can sabotage your machine.

If you are a frequent user of leather, then investing in an industrial leather sewing machine can be beneficial for you.

Tips for sewing leather on standard machine

Although, these tips will not work for on a long term basis; however, it can work well for a small one-time or two-time projects.

  • Add a scotch tape over the throat plate of standard sewing machine to avoid leather getting stuck to presser foot and the throat plate.
  • Sewing at a stretch can burden your machine. Sew in batches 
  • Try not to create button holes with the standard machine. There are high chances of you spoiling your project, needles and machine.
  • Be extra cautious and sew only on the slowest speed.
  • Make sure you have an eagle eye on stitches. Stop and make adjustments, as soon as you see stitches are not coming through correctly.
  • Purchase a few needles that can sew leather and also fit in your machine. And change your needle frequently.
  • Always try few stitches on a scrap piece of leather, before working on your main project.

Remember not all machines can handle leather. Only a few machines that have powerful motors or features such as walking foot can improve the feeding of leather fabrics. To learn more about leather stitching machines keep reading.

What kind of thread should I use?

Needles, as well as thread both, play an essential role in sewing leather. Since the fabric is sturdy, it also requires a thread that is strong.

Sometimes you do get the special threads and accessories with your high-end purchases. However, in many cases, you don't. It's best to replace your cotton thread with a synthetic yarn.

Though synthetic is recommended Nylon and Rayon are the threads that are typically used and are also considered as the best options.

If you are doing upholstery, then use polyester thread to secure your project seams.

Types of Industrial leather sewing machines

Before selecting one of the industrial machines for the use, you need to understand leather is not just used for sewing clothes or crafts.

There is a market for a specific machine that helps in sewing bags, shoes and furniture.

You can not pursue all these different kinds of tasks by one machine. Therefore, industrial machines are divided into four categories.

Flatbed Machine:

It is one of the most common industrial machines which helps in sewing heavy duty fabric. 

The flatbed machine has a fantastic feed dog mechanism which helps in the feeding of heavy duty materials and has long arm length.

Things you can sew with a flatbed machine: Sofas, pouches, bags, car seats, tents, and strollers.

You can also utilize it for domestic use efficiently.

Horizontal column/ Off the arm machine:

It is the best for industrial use only who wants quick work on arm work.

Cylinder-bed machine:

Used to sew collars, sleeves, and cuffs.

Station-bed/post-bed machine:

It can vertically hold bobbins and loopers. Post-bed is an advanced version of the flat base machine. It is mainly used for difficult stitches like sewing pairs of gloves and boots etc.

Guide for selecting sewing machine for leather

Investing a large sum of amount in a sewing machine can be tricky. Before, you proceed to make an investment jot down answers to the questions below.

It will guide you not only in making a right decision but also what kind of machine do you require. And how much you should be investing in a sewing machine?

Why should I buy?

Having a precise layout of a plan can be of help.  Jot down your requirements:

  • What fabrics are you going to sew?
  • Are you going to use it lightly for home sewing or heavily for business sewing? Be clear in selecting a residential machine or an industrial machine.
  • Do you need a fancy sewing machine with a lot of built-in stitches?
  • Or do you need a leather specific machine?

  Having a clear mind will help you in not getting distracted by various sewing machines available in the market.

Does speed matter?

Selecting a machine also depends on your speed requirement. The time frame you can allow to finish each project.

Every brand has its specific speed limit. Some Singer brand sewing machines come with 1100 stitches per minute. Juki comes with adjustable speed. Some are extremely fast machines that can provide up to 5000 stitches in a minute.

If you are a beginner for leather sewing, go for a machine that supports adjustable speed. It will help you decrease the speed while you are learning the craft, and can increase the rate as you'll become better at it.

Speed also depends on the fabric thickness, so do not just go for high speed; go for the speed that you can adjust and match your fabric specifications.

How much noise can you bear? – Plays a significant role

Needless to say, if you are hunting for a sewing machine for home use, don't opt for a noisy machine that can disturb your neighbors, or do you want some revenge from them. 🙂

It doesn't mean you can't get the luxury of a heavy duty industrial machine in your home. There are heavy duty brands that offer less noisy experience. 

On the flip side, if you have a separate place where noise will not be an issue, then there are so many options to choose from industrial sewing machines that produce as much noise as you want. 🙂

How important is the working area?

​How much space can you spare for your machine? Sometimes, you need more space (aka long arm machine) for easy maneuverability of larger materials like horse rugs.

Of course, not everyone of you'll be sewing horse rugs. But, you need to understand your future projects and usage requirements to select the leather machine according to your arm needs and available space.

How often a machine requires servicing?

It is important while selecting a leather sewing machine. You don't want a machine that needs servicing more often. If you live in a remote place, this could be the most important question to ask.

It'll not be easy for you to bring the machine for servicing every six months. Look for the machines that either requires less servicing or can be easily service at home.

Maintaining the leather machine or any machine periodically is imperative. It enhances the performance of the device. Periodical servicing also prolongs the life of the machine.

However, servicing machine can be little tricky. How often your machine requires servicing depends mostly on usage and fabrics that you are frequently using to sew.

When a machine is used only for a specific category of fabrics then the machine becomes accustomed to only those fabrics. So, you won’t have to put in a lot of efforts to get it serviced every now and then – getting serviced after every year will be fine.

If you sew different fabrics and are regularly using your machine then you might require servicing twice a year.

However, if you have not used machine often, then your machine can catch rust. It needs to be oiled frequently even if it is not in use. And before using the machine you will have to fine tune the machine.

Maintenance of the machine

Is it easy to maintain?

How often I need to oil the parts?

Some machines require more oiling and maintenance than other. Go for one that requires least oiling of parts and other maintenance to save time and hassle.

Maintenance of sewing machine plays an integral role in keeping machine alive for years to come.

keep oiling the machine frequently.

Keep the machine clean and dust free.

If you find your thread is stuck or is stiff, then tune the machine before using it.

Does motor make any difference?

Surely it does. Understanding the motor and its features is one of the crucial things to keep in mind – while shopping for the best sewing machine for leather.

There are two motor types engineered for these sewing machines.

  • Servo-motor
  • Clutch motor

     Servo Motor                             Vs            Clutch motor

Produce less noise

​Produce more noise

Found in both industrial and residential machines

​Found in mainly Industrial machines

Servo motor machines come with various options for stitches

Clutch-motor machines come with limited inbuilt stitches

Industrial embroidery machines also have a servo-motor

Few old models might have clutch motors.

Can handle lightweight and medium fabric.

Can handle heavy duty fabrics, garments, shoes and leather.

Various speed options

Most have single speed

How much should I spend?

This depends upon your requirements, and what kind of leather projects you are working with right now?

What are the prices for entry level machines?

If you are a beginner and looking to occasionally handle some minor, thin and single layer leather projects, then you may don't need a leather machine. 

If you follow the guidelines and tips we have mentioned above, you'll be able to sew thin layer leather with some regular sewing machines. Those machines will cost way less than the leather sewing machine.

What are the prices for medium level leather stitching machines?

​If you are trying to work on medium layer leathers, then you can't get away with your regular sewing machine. Your best bet to go with a machine that has higher pressure feet, bigger stitch length, and more heavy duty features.

For medium level sewing machine you can expect to shell out around $350 to $450 from your pocket. 

What are the prices for most advance leather machines?

If you are professional and want to work on thickest layers of leather, then you should opt for the top of the line leather sewing machines.

These machines will have plenty of advance features like the knee control extra high pressure foot lift, up to 13 mm stitch length to secure the toughest leather, big arm length and more heavy duty features. 

In order to have your hand on the best leather sewing machine, you should be willing to pay a premium price. These machines start from $650 and go all the way up to $5000. 

Final Words:

Although sewing machines for leather sound heavy and specifically for leather, that is not the case. They can sew light, medium and heavy fabrics alike with similar precision.

A few of the mentioned machines are for advanced users but not just reserved for advanced users. I believe if you learn how to drive a car with BMW as your learning car, then you learn to advance your skills accordingly.

If budget is not an issue, it is better for beginners that they initiate their learning process with an advanced machine. You will develop advanced skills from the beginning.

You can sew assortment of heavy materials on the sewing machines for leather such as jeans, vinyl, cotton, or linen with the same excellence as you can sew leather. Also, the mentioned above are some of the best leather sewing machines that come with a lot of features.

Many of the machines mentioned here are designed to serve the purpose to both industrial people and residential users.

Although, the price can be a slight issue, otherwise selecting a machine according to your need can save you from damaging expensive leather pieces and sewing projects.

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