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Last Updated: December 25, 2019

Best Sewing Machine for Leather

PREMIUM CHOICE

Consew-206RB
5/5

EDITOR'S PICK

Juki DDL-8700
5/5

BUDGET CHOICE

Brother CS6000i
5/5

Are you looking to start sewing leather?

Then you’re going to need a strong sewing machine.

Good sewing machines for leather are strong, and are capable of sewing through even heavy materials with speed. Everything from the needle to the presser foot needs to function with power. Once you’ve found that, you’re good to go.

The real question is how much sewing leather is your concern.

There are 2 main types of sewing machines for leather to consider. The first is the domestic sewing machine, which can handle leather but is built with other sewing projects in mind. An industrial sewing machine is designed specifically for stitching leather.

A good, heavy duty domestic sewing machine will get the job done. But if you’re looking at sewing with leather frequently, you might want something that can handle stitching with even more power and speed.

Product Quick Compare

A photo of Janome HD3000 against white background

Janome HD3000

4/5

4 / 5

Singer 9960

Singer 9960

4/5

4 / 5

Singer 4411

Singer 4411

4/5

4 / 5

Juki DDL-8700

Juki DDL-8700

5/5

5 / 5

Singer 4452

4/5

4 / 5

Leather Sewing Machine Tippmann

5/5

5 / 5

Consew-206RB

Consew 206RB-5

5/5

5 / 5

Reliable 4000SW

Reliable 4000SW

4/5

4 / 5

Brother CS6000i

Brother CS6000i

5/5

5 / 5

A photo of Janome HD3000 against white background

1. Janome HD3000

Best leather sewing machine for occasional leather work
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Janome
SPM: 1,800
Type: Manual
Model: HD3000

While not designed specifically for the purpose, the Janome HD3000 holds up well against other sewing machines for leather. This sewing machine offers many features that live up to it’s heavy duty name, and a blazing fast speed to pair with it. With a maximum speed of around 1800 spm, this sewing machine can go as fast you need it to whenever you need it to. Of course, the speed isn’t the only thing that makes this sewing machine stand out.

The Janome HD3000 heavy duty sewing machine comes equipped with a 5 piece feed dog that makes it perfect for sewing leather. The feed dog adds to the performance of the machine well, seamlessly feeding all but the heaviest leathers into the machine. As long as your sewing materials aren’t overly heavy, the Janome HD3000 should be more than able to handle them.

Other features add power to this sewing machine, as well. An extra high presser foot allows for more control over the machine, which is always a plus when working with leather. Similarly, the free arm design allows you to roam around the machine a bit more than other options on this list. The drop feed system used by the machine allows for more seamless use of the 5 piece feed dog, as well.

With maximum stitch dimensions of 6.5 millimeters width and a 4 millimeter length, the machine can power through most materials with ease. A push-pull bobbin winder makes the entire process easier, although you do have to manually thread your needles. For sewists with experience, of course, this shouldn’t be an issue. The Janome HD3000 also offers built in reverse stitching, which will help when you inevitably make a mistake while working with leather.

Other small quality of life features top things off for this machine. Most notably, a light within the machine makes it easier to see around your projects. And the hard covering case is just another heavy duty bit of this machine. With the proper care, you should be able to keep the Janome HD3000 around for ages before you see any issues. Standard accessories include a buttonhole foot, a blind hem foot, a rolled hem foot, and an overedge foot.

The Janome HD3000 heavy duty sewing machine all comes together in a sturdy frame which is built to last. With a a lot of power, sewing speed, and quality of life features, you can’t go wrong with this machine. It isn’t all perfect, though. The lack of range in the adjustable stitch length can sometimes leave you stuck, while the machine is also prone to jams. The Janome HD3000 also suffers from performance issues when working with heavier leather materials, although this is usual for domestic machines.

What I liked

  • Great stitch speed.
  • Strong, heavy duty build.
  • 5 piece feed dog has no issue with leather.

What I didn't like

  • Adjustable stitch length is difficult.
  • Struggles with heavier materials, and is likely to jam.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5
Singer 9960

2. Singer 9960

Best leather sewing machine for home use
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Singer
SPM: 850
Type: Computerized
Model: 9960

The Singer 9960 isn’t a very heavy duty sewing machine, but it gets the job done. With a speed of 850 spm, the Singer 9960 moves fast enough to bring your projects to life. This speed might not impress relative to other leather sewing machines, but it’s more than functional – this is true for much of what the Singer 9960 has to offer. This all purpose sewing machine stands out among other leather sewing machines as being good enough for leather, and great for everything else.

This sewing machine has several quality of life features to love. With more than 600 built in stitch patterns, five different monogramming fonts, and 13 built in buttonhole styles. Stitches can be selected from a one touch screen on the side of the machine, while the 8 most common stitch patterns can be switched to from buttons along side the screen.

A drop-in bobbin system loads from the top, making the bobbin winding process simpler. Singer has also included a clear bobbin cover, so that you can monitor thread supply. The clear cover can come in very handy when sewing leather; machine errors can be easily spotted through it.

Three features stand out as being helpful for sewing leather with this machine. The first is the heavy duty metal frame. Singer is renowned for producing very strong, durable machines, and this model doesn’t fall short of that. Users will notice that this machine is difficult to shake – it would probably function perfectly during an earthquake. An electronic twin needle setting adds an extra degree of needle strength, as well.

A 7 piece feed dog system feeds leather into the machine easily. Users will notice that leather sometimes does get caught up, but other features prevent this from being a huge issue. If you’re able to handle a few snags, this feed system should push leather through well enough for most needs.

Another great feature for leather sewing is the included extension table, which gives you significantly more room to work. Working with strong and sticky materials like leather can add a lot of difficulty if you don’t have experience. Extra room to work is much welcomed.

Users will appreciate the other accessories included with this machine, as well as some smaller quality of life features. 18 foot options include feet for every sewing situation, including a button hole foot. 2 included LED lights illuminate your working area, while an automatic stitch locking function prevents jams.

There are a few issues with this sewing machine, though. Notably, the 7 piece feed dog system can leave marks on heavy materials like leather. Additionally, the machine struggles sewing leather at times, with remarkably slowed performance when using heavy leather. For faux leather or small clothing needs, this machine has no issue. If you’re just doing small, around the house types of projects, this is the perfect machine for you.

What I liked

  • Extension table to add more room.
  • Durable and heavy duty build.
  • Twin needle allows the needle to function with power.

What I didn't like

  • Feed dog system leaves marks on leather.
  • Can't handle heavy leather.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5
Singer 4411

3. Singer 4411

Best leather sewing machine for control
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Singer
SPM: 1,100
Type: Mechanical
Model: 4411

Singer boasts that the Signer 4411 is a true workhorse, and they’ve certainly designed the sewing machine to live up to that title. With a top speed of 1,100 stitches per minute, this sewing machine will not slowed by almost any materials. In fact, the only thing that can stop it is the adjustable presser foot pressure included with the machine. If you’re looking to incorporate leather in to your home projects, and you want a bit more control, this is the machine for you.

Of the two types of sewing machine, this is where the difference begins to get blurred. While the Singer 4411 is a domestic machine, it functions similarly to an industrial one. Performance of this machine is bolstered by a stainless steel bed plate which prevents sticking while sewing and allows the power of this work horse machine to really shine through. A full metal frame allows for more durability and strength than most domestic options, as well.

The needle is also fairly strong, with adjustable positioning. Dimensions of the stitch can also be changed. The stitch width defaults to 6 millimeters, while the stitch length is fully adjustable. Reverse stitching and button holing are built in, as well as 11 stitch patterns. 6 of these patterns are devoted to basic stitches, 4 to decorative patterns, and 1 to buttonhole. Four foot options help with this, too. The buttonhole foot does what the name implies, as well as the zipper foot and the button foot. The default foot, as mentioned before, allows for adjustable presser foot pressure to alternate the stitch speed.

Like the 9960, the 4411 includes a drop-in bobbin with a clear cover. The 4411 also pairs with the Singer Assistant app to add a computerized element to this otherwise mechanical sewing machine. Features of the app serve as built-in customer support, helping you to answer any questions that might come up during sewing.

As far as domestic leather sewing machines go, this one definitely stands out. There are a few weaknesses, though. Because the 4411 punches above it’s weight class, there are some limiting factors to consider. The needle included is too weak for heavy leather, which this machine can mostly handle. After a lot of sewing, the machine can also stiffen and lock up. And the 4411 is known by users for eating more delicate fabric.

What I liked

  • Heavy duty, work horse machine with enough power for most projects.
  • Adjustable speed to go at your own pace.
  • Easy to customize for people with more experience.

What I didn't like

  • Needle doesn't hold up for heavier projects.
  • Machine can lock up.
  • Machine isn't as good for more delicated designs and projects.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5
Juki DDL-8700

4. Juki DDL-8700

Best leather sewing machine for leather lovers
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Brand: Juki
SPM: 5,500
Type: Mechanical
Model: DDL-8700

When it comes to leather sewing machines, the Juki DDL-8700 is the gold standard. Running with lots of power and speed, the Juki DDL-8700 shows the true difference in the types of sewing machines for leather. Your everyday sewing isn’t fit for this machine, because it isn’t built for any delicate needlework or intricate designs. Juki designs powerful leather sewing machines, and that’s why this has become the editor’s choice.

This machine is a straight stitch sewing machine designed for medium to heavy materials. This means that it can sew through almost all types of leather at it’s maximum SPM of 5,500. The maximum stitch length of this machine is 5 millimeters, allowing about 6 stitches an inch. This allows for high speed, very tight needlework on very tough materials.

Additionally, this heavy duty sewing machine is equipped with a rounded DB needle, which punches effortlessly through leather. The needle can handle materials sized 9 through 24, allowing for a lot of flexibility. A single needle Lockstitch mechanism keeps the needle rolling in stride, helping to prevent any issues with the feed. This machine also features an automatic lubrication system to help prevent any materials sticking during sewing. This also adds a degree of durability, as the machine requires less maintenance over time.

Accessories include a bobbin winder, presser foot, and tools for assembly. The machine also features an LED light to keep your work area lit, as well as a few needle options. The bobbin winder is relatively simple, although that has a different meaning with industrial machines. The servo motor on this machine functions effortlessly, as well. As with most heavy duty machinery, you can expect a bit of noise. The low, purring hum of the Juki DDL-8700 isn’t too unpleasant.

The biggest thing that you need to consider when looking at this machine is the assembly. Unlike most domestic machines on the market, this one is not shipped assembled – or even in large parts. Instead, the Juki DDL-8700 arrives totally disassembled and without instructions. If you aren’t familiar with the inner workings of a sewing machine, this will be a difficulty for you. Luckily, the advent of YouTube and other online resources adds a degree of simplicity to this.

This is a very powerful machine, which can cut through all but the heaviest materials with no issue. If you have experience stitching leather, then this is the machine you should be eyeing. Beginners might want to look elsewhere, as well as anyone not ready to put machines together.

What I liked

  • Very powerful, fast machine.
  • Flexible as much as an industrial machine can be.
  • Strong motor and all the necessary accessories.

What I didn't like

  • Requires assembly.
  • That assembly has no corresponding instructions.

Editor's Rating: 5 / 5

5/5

5. Singer 4452

Best leather sewing machine for hobbyists
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Singer
SPM: 1,100
Type: Mechanical
Model: 4452

Similar to the 4411, the 4452 packs a bit more punch but lacks some of the helpful features. If you enjoy leather sewing as an activity and have a bit of experience, then you’d enjoy the 4452. At 1,100 SPM the speed functions with a fair amount of power. At a maximum, it can handle two layers of 4 to 5 ounce leather. This is acceptable for most projects, but is a little light for people who work with leather frequently.

With that in mind, there are still many features for users to love with this machine. First and foremost, a built in needle threader makes getting started very easy. This machine also has documentation – although less extensive – on the Singer assistant app. This machine also features a drop-in bobbin system, which also loads from the top to simplify the process. The 4452 has 32 built in stitch patterns. These include 6 basic stitching patterns, 7 stretch stitches, 18 decorative stitches, and 1 buttonhole.

Also akin to the 4411, this machine has a stainless steel bed plate which can take quite a beating. The heavy duty metal frame holds mechanisms in place through even the most rocky sewing sessions, which is great for working with leather. The machine is also well equipped to handle more direct medium fabrics, such as denim. The versatility of the machine cannot be understated – it might not be the absolute best for leather, but it is great for a lot of difficult fabrics. The 4452 also features a neat drop feed system, which allows you to disengage the feed dogs with a simple lever flip. The feed dog itself is serviceable if not great, but the drop feed definitely helps.

Like other more industrial options, the 4452 also offers an adjustable pressure presser foot. This allows more control when using the same machine for materials of varying weights. An extra high presser foot lifter adds a little extra space for materials, although it struggles to add too much more. Other features like a free arm also offer a bit more control.

What I liked

  • Adjustable presser foot adds control.
  • Many built in stitching patterns.
  • Very versatile.

What I didn't like

  • Can only handle a small amount of heavy material.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5

6. Leather Sewing Machine Tippmann

Best leather sewing machine for craftwork
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Brand: Tippmann
SPM: 1,100
Type: Mechanical
Model: Boss

A strong sewing machine built for many materials, the Tippmann Boss can handle everything from leather to nylon to sheepskin. Perhaps the coolest aspect is that this sewing machine is completely self-sufficient, requiring no electricity at all. The Tippmann Boss is a very mechanical machine in that way, requiring more effort from you than any other sewing machine on this list. There’s something magical about using this machine, though, as each pull of the handle completes one lock stitch.

The list of accessories with this machine is short, but serviceable. The first and most important accessory is the manual, which will guide you through using this esoteric machine. It also features a spool of thread, 2 bobbins, some Allen wrenches and screwdrivers, a spool thread stand, a bobbin winder, and an instructional DVD. These are enough to get you started, but you will only learn to use the machine to it’s maximum potential with heavy use.

Everything about this machine is adjustable, including the stitching dimensions. You can adjust your sewing length between 4 per inch and 16 per inch. The machine, due to it’s very mechanical nature, is very consistent in it’s stitching. The machine is also built for years of durability, with a rugged cast-aluminum housing. You could use this machine for hours a day, every day, for years before you would run into any issues. If you don’t find this to be the case, Tippman offers a guarantee for a full year after your purchase.

The machine can handle sewing a maximum thickness of 3/4″, which can handle almost every project. Again because of the manual use, it’s difficult to snag or to jam the machine in a way that you can’t easily adjust and fix. The accessories included aren’t flashy, but they’re good enough to get you started. This is a great machine if you’re looking to get into heavy duty projects, and need something with a bit of oomph behind it. The power of this machine is your power.

Note that the mechanical nature doesn’t necessarily make this machine difficult when sewing, simply more laborious. You’ll put in more effort for your stitching than you would with an automatic machine, but can still get through a good amount of work without finding yourself in pain.

What I liked

  • Offers more control than almost every other machine.
  • Handles a wide variety of materials, including leather, nylon, and sheepskin.

What I didn't like

  • Manual nature requires a bit of effort to use.

Editor's Rating: 5 / 5

5/5
Consew-206RB

7. Consew 206RB-5

Best leather sewing machine for all leather purposes
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Brand: Consew
SPM: 3,300
Type: Mechanical
Model: 206RB-5

The all around best of the leather sewing machines on the market, the Consew 206RB-5 is a powerhouse. This leather sewing machine is lightning fast, sewing at a maximum of 3,300 stitches per minute. Designed to handle whatever you throw at it, the Consew 206RB-5 can be used to blaze through soft material or quickly finish projects with heavy ones. Table mounted, purchasing the Consew 206RB-5 is a commitment, but one worth making.

This machine is a single needle, walking foot sewing machine, with a 14 millimeter presser foot clearance. The Consew machine also features a 10 millimeter stitch length, and a 256 millimeter workspace. This machine is built for auto, boat, and furniture upholstery – some of the most difficult projects that you can undertake when it comes to leather sewing. If you’re doing anything less, you’ll be left with ample room and power. If you do decide to undertake projects that big, you should be set.

This industrial machine is great at stitching, and doesn’t leave much left to be desired when it comes to accessories. The Consew 206RB-5 features a large bobbin, which can be removed and replaced easily. Additionally, industrial arm lubrication makes sewing leather without any sticking very simple. A reservoir oiled hook allows for a great deal of control, even at the maximum 3,300 spm. The machine also comes with tools necessary for assembly, a spool pin, extra screws (because losing them is easy), extra bobbins and needles, and an oil dispenser.

A thread release finger helps with heavy thread, helping to prevent jams. If anything should happen, a push button safety clutch will help. The Consew 206RB-5 also has adjustable reverse stitching to help undo any mistakes or accidents.

An adjustable presser foot allows for the use of materials of different sizes, which always comes in handy. All of the parts can be changed for any special needs, including the feed dogs. These parts can be interchanged with other Consew machines, for added customization.

Stitch quality on this machine is absolutely outstanding, and working on the machine is a breeze. It does take some getting used to, but not so much that you can’t handle it. If you have experience with industrial leather sewing machines, you’ll find yourself in a world of bliss sewing with this machine. Stitching leather has never been easier.

The servo motor adds a layer of pleasantness during sewign, too. The motor, despite it’s power, is very quiet while sewing. You will hear a hum, but it can be drowned out easily with music or good conversation. The only issue that most would have with this machine is that it struggles with some materials. Those are namely: silk, knits, and polyester.

What I liked

  • Fast, powerful industrial machine.
  • Easily handles almost every leather.
  • Very adjustable and customizable.

What I didn't like

  • Has issues with silk, knits, and polyester.

Editor's Rating: 5 / 5

5/5
Reliable 4000SW

8. Reliable 4000SW

Best leather sewing machine for durability
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Reliable
SPM: 2,000
Type: Mechanical
Model: 4000SW

The Reliable 4000SW sewing machine is precisely as the brand name implies. This single needle lock stitch machine features a walking foot, allowing for a steady but still fast sewing experience. This machine can handle medium to heavy leather and other materials without issue, but might struggle with all materials. Luckily, the materials it has issues with aren’t very common.

Accessories for this machine include an UberLight LED light which makes it easy to see every part of the project that you’re working on, as well as a toolkit, drawer, and thread stand. The adjustable walking foot makes it very easy to adjust between medium and heavy materials. A SewQuiet servo motor reduces the noise of the machine, as well as the vibration. This machine rarely shakes or really interferes with you at all.

To ensure quality, Reliable tests every machine before they ship it out. This means that the variance between one Reliable machine and the next is almost non-existent. You’ll get the same machine every time. And every time, you’ll have excellent, steady sewing quality for your projects.

The only downfall of this sewing machine is with the lubrication, which requires more manual adjustment than other options on this list. You might find yourself struggling with sticky leather after a long sewing session, at which point you’ll need to find a fix. This doesn’t come up often enough to be a deal breaker, though.

What I liked

  • Easily handles leather and other medium to heavy materials.
  • Bright lights and quiet motor.
  • Great quality control.

What I didn't like

  • Poor and inconsistent lubrication.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5
Brother CS6000i

9. Brother CS6000i

Best leather sewing machine for value
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Brand: Brother
SPM: 850
Type: Computerized
Model: CS6000i

The Brother CS6000i isn’t a very powerful sewing machine, but it isn’t shabby, either. If you’re looking to do occasional leather work, you can definitely consider this sewing machine. When you don’t need the absolute best, this will absolutely do.

This machine is very user friendly, with a simple to use LCD display and automatic needle threading. If automatic needle threading isn’t working or you don’t want to go that route, a diagram on the side will ease you through the process. The maximum sewing speed isn’t very high, but you can adjust your sewing speed with a simple switch on the side of the machine. A light and extended working table make sure that sewing with this machine is simple and easy to see at all times, while a built in free arm offers you as much freedom as you need.

A hard protective case and 8 presser feet top off this excellent machine. As for heavy materials like leather, this machine isn’t the best. It’s not built for it. However, it can handle lightweight simple leather projects with ease. If leather work is an occasional need for you, we would certainly recommend this machine.

What I liked

  • Easy to use.
  • Well lit, spacious working area.
  • Adjustable for beginners.

What I didn't like

  • Not built for leather.
  • Does feel like training wheels at times.

Editor's Rating: 4 / 5

4/5

Buyer's Guide

The difference between a good leather sewing machine and a sewing machine that can’t handle it is the strength. It’s as simple as that. Sewing with leather can take a lot out of a machine, as well as the users of the machine, and you need something that can hold up to it. Because of that, the factors to consider are fivefold. First, consider the needle strength, the feed dog strength, and the presser foot. Then, consider if you want a domestic or industrial machine, or a computerized machine.

Needle strength is one of the main keys to a good leather sewing machine. If your machine’s needle can’t puncture leather, then it can’t sew leather. Most needles can handle thin leather, but leather can wear away the sharpness quickly. A thin needle won’t be able to handle leather in most situations, so look for something a bit bulkier.

Feed dog strength is a very similar factor to consider. Leather will stick to most presser feet, so having a feed dog that can push leather through during sewing is a must. The stronger, more durable, and more numerous your feed dogs, the better you will be able to control the leather as you’re sewing.

Similarly, a good presser foot is very important for sewing leather. A roller foot will prevent leather from sticking during sewing, as will a teflon foot. These are practically necessary for sewing with leather, because otherwise your materials will stick too much to be usable. Being able to adjust your presser foot is a huge plus, as this will give you more control over your sewing projects.

The first big decision that you have to make is whether you want a domestic or industrial leather sewing machine. A domestic machine is made for home use, and will be slightly weaker. However, domestic machines tend to be more versatile, as well. An industrial machine is usually stronger and more durable, as it’s designed for non-stop, factory sewing. Most industrial machines are made for specific materials, though, and have a hard time branching out of that.

Finally, you need to decide if you want to be sewing on a mechanical or computerized sewing machine. A computerized sewing machine is usually best for leather, as you’ll always want as much control as you can get. If you have more experience with mechanical sewing, though, you can certainly consider going that way. Remember that your materials will often fight against you when you’re sewing leather, so help is always nice.

There are a lot of options with sewing machines for leather, so you’ll have to make decisions. But performance should always come first. If you can’t trust your machine to get the job done, then you’ll need to look elsewhere. Consider what you need out of your sewing machines for leather, and you can easily find the right one for you.

FAQ:

You don’t necessarily need a special sewing machine for leather – for light projects, most home sewing machines can handle it. If you’ll be working with leather a lot, though, you should find a machine that’s more prepared for it.

The only real difference between sewing leather and other fabrics are the strength of your parts. You need a strong needle and feed dog to keep leather in control.

A good heavy duty, domestic sewing machine for leather needs to be strong, controllable, and reliable. If you can find a machine with all 3 of those qualities, you’re good to go.

Conclusion

When looking for the best leather sewing machine, industrial is often the way to go. That is if we’re defining the best as the sewing machine that’s best for sewing through heavy leather, and creating upholstery. If that’s your image of sewing leather, the Juki DDL-8700 is the best sewing machine for you.

Your image might be a bit different, though. If the image of leather sewing in your mind is less intense, the best will be very different. Your best machine might come from Brother or Singer, brands that offer more versatile options.

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