Can Sewing Machines Sew Leather?

Last Updated On August 22nd, 2018

Leather is a favorite material of many art enthusiasts and hobbyists. It’s easy to handle leather as they are more steady than fabric and you can make nice bags and purses out of them. But for stitching leather you might need an industrial sewing machine or buy a dedicated leather sewing machine. A standard sewing machine can only be used to sew leather if:

  • You make certain modifications and adopt a few tricks
  • Use thin leather with thickness up to 3 oz which can be sewn by regular machines
  • Use certain special supplies

Today we will tell you how to use a normal sewing machine to sew leather effectively.

Get Your Supplies Together

You have to arrange a few things in order to enable your standard sewing machine to stitch leather. Head to the market and get the following things:

  1. Leather needles – needles for sewing leather are different than normal needles. They are meant to sew through thick layers of leather with ease. They are stronger and will not pose the risk of breaking. You should use a leather needle for better performance and ease of operation.
  2. Polyester thread – threads which are stronger and thicker are more suitable for sewing leather.
  3. Teflon foot, roller foot or walking foot – you can buy Teflon or walking foot according to the specification of your sewing machine. Using these makes the stitching job easy.

Tips for Sewing Leather on a Standard Sewing Machine

Start by using a few test stitches and see which needle size fits the best. There are few points you can consider to get better results for your leather sewing project.

  • You can try pressing the leather to make it flat and smooth. Use low setting like wool or linen on the iron based on the leather’s thickness. Put a cloth over the leather and then do the pressing.
  • Your machine may find it difficult to start sewing the thick edge of a seam. You can place a folded square of leather or fabric under the pressure foot to raise the height. This will make it come up to the height of the seam in a horizontal position for easy stitching.
  • Thick seams of layers of leather can be gently hammered to make them flat. You can reduce the height of topstitched seams and make it easy to sew through. Place a cloth in between the hammer and the leather before you start pounding!
  • It is recommended to take things slow when you are using a standard sewing machine. Steadily sew through the leather and make sure to hold it in a straight line.
  • The pressure foot of your sewing machine can stick with the leather due to the material type. You can use a Teflon foot or a walking foot to eliminate the problem. If you do not have access to those, take help of clear adhesive tapes and coat the bottom of your zigzag pressure foot. It will make the leather slide easily over the foot.

Don’t worry, sewing machines can sew leather too. Just follow the tips above and you’ll do fine.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the advise, I hope it will work fine for ny machine, cause am using old singer hand sewing machine, for my cloth, nd I want to starting using it for leather, can I use dis same process for it.

    1. Hi Ablin,

      You might want to invest in a needle that’s meant for sewing leather before you do as you might hurt yourself and damage your sewing machine.

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