Looking for the best leather sewing machine for your next leather sewing project? Before you invest your hard-earned dollars in a machine, have a read through our reviews of the best leather sewing machines on the market.
It’s important to have a sewing machine that’s specifically made to handle heavy duty fabric such as leather rather than trying to use an ordinary machine which could end up breaking your sewing needle and jamming your machine. Leather is a strong and durable fabric and whether you’re making a leather handbag, clothing or footwear, a heavy duty machine is a must.
Top pick: best sewing machine for leather
What sewing machine can sew leather? Let’s take a look at the best sewing machine for leather.
Here’s a summary of what you need to know about the Juki TL-2000Qi:
Type: heavy duty sewing and quilting
Max speed: 1500 stitches per minute
Max stitch length: 6mm
Lift of the Presser Foot: By Lever, Maximum 9mm; By Knee Lifter, Maximum 12mm
Needle: HAx1 (130/705H) #7-#18, HLx5 #9-#16
Dimensions 17.8 x 8.6 x 13.8 inches
Weight (Machine only) 11.5 kg
Warranty: 2 year motor; 5 years parts
The Juki TL-2000Qi is the best sewing machine for leather that will last you for many years. This is a great industrial, heavy duty sewing machine that’s known for its sturdy build and workhorse motor.
This is one of the fastest leather sewing machines in this review. It’s faster than your average sewing machine which usually sews between 1100-1300 stitches per minute. This is perfect if you run a sewing business and need to work quickly on your projects.
You can adjust the speed according to the project you’re working on. For heavier fabrics such as leather, you may need to slow down the machine so you can better control the fabric.
The foot controller can cut your thread for you or you can use the automatic thread trimmer button on the machine. This saves you time and stress as you don’t need to stop sewing, find scissors and cut the thread yourself. This is all done for you at the touch of a button!
Working with leather and other heavy duty fabrics means that a regular sewing machine would vibrate a lot and be uncomfortable to use. This is why the Juki has an aluminium die cast frame to reduce the vibration of the powerful motor.
While you might not be buying a Juki for quilting projects specifically, it’s great to know you can still use it for this. There’s 9 inches of space between the needle and the machine’s arm which is enough space for a large quilt project.
Most people who buy a Juki are those who run a small business and spend hours on sewing projects. Spending a lot of time using a sewing machine can lead to eyestrain especially if the working space light isn’t very powerful. The Juki’s LED light makes your working space bright enough to reduce eyestrain.
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Singer 4452 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
Sewing Speed (SPM): 1,100
Max. stitch length: 4mm
Warranty: 25 years, limited
Frame: Heavy duty metal frame,
Number of stitches: 32 built-in stitches (18 decorative, 6 basic, 7 stretched)
Feet: 4 feet included
Stitch width: 6mm max stitch width
Other features: SINGER Sewing Assistant App
The Singer 4452 heavy duty sewing machine has a heavy duty metal frame making it looking strong and sturdy, perfect when working with leather and other heavy duty fabrics.
Unlike the Juki machines which are very expensive, the Singer 4452 is a lot more economical and budget-friendly. This makes it a perfect leather sewing machine if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a machine.
It has 32 built-in stitches for a variety of projects including 6 basic stitches, 7 stretched stitches and 18 decorative stitches. There’s also a built-in needle threader making it quick and easy to thread the needle and save you time.
Being a mechanical sewing machine instead of a computerized sewing machine means that it isn’t prone to technical issues like many other regular sewing machines.
The Singer sews up to 1100 stitches per minute which is a bit slower than the Juki however it is still a great speed.
The accessories included with the machine are an even feed/walking foot for layers of fabric, non-stick foot for leather and vinyl, a 5-pack of Size 16 needles (which is the thickness needed for sewing leather) and a clearance plate for thick seams.
Other accessories include an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper / lint brush, quilting guide, needles, bobbins, screwdriver, auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt that are all stored in the accessory tray. A soft-sided dust cover is also included.
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Another great machine is the Juki TL2010q.
This machine is suitable for those who run a sewing business and work with leather and need the best leather sewing machine.
It is NOT suitable for beginners or for projects that require decorative stitching.
It only has the one stitch but what makes the Juki TL2010q popular is it has the fastest sewing speed at up to 1500 stitches per minute, faster than the other machines I’ve reviewed in this article.
This is an industrial machine perfect for working with leather and working quickly on mass production sewing.
It can also be used for quilting projects.
This machine is very expensive so isn’t suitable for beginner sewing or for those with a smaller budget. If you run a small business, this machine will pay for itself in no time because you will work much faster than if you were using other slower machines.
Usually with a fast machine it can end up vibrating and shaking however the Juki tl 2010q has a sturdy build that makes it stable at its highest speed.
You can slow the machine down to the minimum 200 stitches per minute if you’re working on a complex project that you need to work slowly on.
When you receive your Juki tl 2010q it comes with the standard accessories that you’ll need to get started. Standard needles, a lint brush, spool cap, 4 bobbins and an oil dispenser are all included as well as 2 screwdrivers.
The Juki comes with a standard foot as well as an even feed foot, half inch quilt foot, walking foot, zipper foot, two darning feet, a piercing foot and blind hem foot.
The machine has an extension table which helps with large quilting projects that require a larger working space and it also comes with a dust cover to protect the Juki when you’re not using it.
Juki extension table
Having an extension table is really important for when you’re working on large garments or projects such as a quilt. The Juki tl 2010q gives you a larger working area with the extension table. The extension table is twice the size of other machines.
One of the reasons people buy the Juki tl 2010q is that it allows you to easily work on quilting projects. Using the free-motion quilting gives you so much control over the work you do and the large throat makes it easier to work with a bulky quilt.
While it’s great to have a super fast sewing machine, this can present problems when you need a slower speed when working with heavier fabrics. Thankfully, the Juki tl 2010q allows for speed control so that you can choose the best speed for the project.
Multiple thread cutting options
You can cut the thread in 3 different ways: using your foot pedal, the button at the front of the machine and a thread cutter behind the needle, depending on what you are working on.
The Juki tl 2010q has a quiet operation which is surprising given how fast the machine can operate.
Juki tl 2010q review: the cons
We’re sharing some of the negative things we’ve found with the Juki so that you understand some of the issues you may come across.
Low-level LED light
Some people complain that the Juki LED light isn’t powerful enough. A bright working space is important so if you find the light isn’t bright enough, you can just use a small desk lamp that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Needle threader difficulty
The needle threader is a bit difficult to use and many complain that the Juki manual isn’t great. When manuals are confusing, just look up a tutorial on Youtube!
It takes a little time to get used to but once you do, it won’t be an issue anymore.
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What is a leather sewing machine?
A leather sewing machine is a sewing machine built especially to handle leather and other heavy duty fabrics. Much like a regular sewing machine, a leather sewing machine uses electrical and foot power to drive the sewing needle through leather so you can sew pieces of leather together. A regular sewing machine is made for softer fabrics such as cotton, polyester, linen and rayon fabrics.
Fabrics such as polyester can be up to 1mm thick. In comparison, leather can be up to 1.4mm and sometimes thicker, up to 4.0mm thick. Leather for clothing is usually around 0.5 to 0.9mm. If you’re using thicker leather then you need a stronger sewing machine that can handle such thicknesses.
Sewing machines that can handle thick leather and other heavy fabrics are known as heavy duty or industrial sewing machines because they’re usually used in factories for large scale production.
You could try sewing leather by hand but it requires precision, patience and a lot of time. Most people don’t have the ability to sew leather by hand and need a machine to finish projects quickly, especially if they run a business.
Do I need a special sewing machine for leather?
Some people don’t have the money to buy a special sewing machine for leather and try to use a regular sewing machine. The problem with this is that if you’re using the sewing machine for a few hours you run the risk of overheating your sewing machine or ruining the motor, which wasn’t built for thick fabrics like leather.
Regular sewing machine needles also break easily when used on heavy duty fabrics such as leather and denim. You’ll be replacing your sewing needles often!
You could probably get away with using your regular sewing machine if you’re sewing a small piece of leather and not using it on leather very often. Just here or there might be ok, but if you’re regularly working on projects with leather then buying a leather sewing machine would be better.
What’s the difference between a leather sewing machine vs standard sewing machine?
The best leather sewing machine is different to a regular sewing machine in many ways.
The machine itself usually weighs a lot more than a standard sewing machine. This is because it is made of metal and has a stronger, more powerful motor. This makes the leather sewing machine more sturdy which is important because when you work with heavy duty fabrics such as leather, a machine needs extra stability.
They tend to be larger as well as heavier, so you need to have the right amount of space at your workstation to handle a leather sewing machine.
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