Can Sewing Machines Sew Leather?

  • By: joleenllorence
  • Date: May 29, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Hey seamstress our today’s question is Can sewing machines sew leather precisely and easily?

So the answer is Big YES! You can sew leather easily with the sewing machine but it can required some practice before you can try to sew leather on regular sewing machines or you can go for the machines which are more likely best for leather material and can help you to sew a leather no matter if you are beginner, intermediate or a professional seamstress.

It is possible to use an ordinary sewing machine to sew on leather. Using a standard sewing machine for sewing leather is possible, but one should be aware of its limits. It is possible to use a standard sewing machine with skinny (about 1oz.) leather. 

It is essential to use leather-specific threads. The thread should have a thickness that is at least twice the standard. The key is to move slowly during use. The machine must work slowly to penetrate the leather material and finish the stitches.

Even then, parts can break. It all depends on how the machine is used and maintained. You can try it out to see if leather sewing is something you like before purchasing a dedicated device. Keep your pace slow and take care. This machine is not made of heavy materials. 

Can Sewing Machines Sew Leathers

It can certainly break. The device can also be heated to excess, which could cause damage to the motor. The best choice is to buy a machine specifically made for the job. An industrial-duty leather sewing machine would be the best. Let’s discuss can sewing machines sew leather, can a sewing machine sew leather.

Selecting the Right Machine

Can you sew leather? When it comes to sewing leather, one of the most important aspects is the type and model of the machine you use. Many devices are designed for something other than handling heavy materials like leather. Therefore, it is crucial to pick a machine capable of the job.

If you want to sew leather, a heavy-duty sewing machine is the best option. These machines are specially designed to handle thick and heavy fabrics. Ensure you have plenty of clearance below the presser foot, a powerful motor, and a sturdy frame.

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Needles and Thread

needles for sewing leather

It’s crucial to use the right thread and needles for sewing leather. The purpose of leather needles is to penetrate thick, rigid materials without breaking. They can cut through even the most challenging leather fibers thanks to their sharp point.

Use a robust and heavy-duty thread to support the weight and strains of leather. You can choose nylon thread or polyester, but select a color matching your leather to create a seamless finish.

Settings and Techniques

Can you sew leather with a sewing machine? You must adjust your machine’s settings for leather sewing. You can increase the stitch length to avoid thread breaking. However, you can adjust the tension to prevent the leather from puckering or stretching.

Use a rolling or walking foot to guide the material through your machine. You can also use clips to attach your pieces to the device instead of pins.

Here Are Some Tips for Success

  1. Sewing leather can be rugged, but it can be done with the right tools. 
  2. Before you begin your project, test your stitches on a scrap piece of leather.
  3. You can use leather adhesive to keep pieces together before you sew.
  4. Using leather-specific engine oil, you can keep your machine in tip-top shape.
  5. You should take your time, be patient and not rush – you could make mistakes or have uneven stitches.

Setup up a Sewing Machine for Making Leather

A slightly longer straight length is recommended (around 3 –3.5 mm, or 1/8” if you use imperial units). A shorter stitch length will damage the leather and cause it to become weaker. A longer stitch length will also make the leather more brittle. A good size is between 3 and 3.5.

I also decreased my thread pressure to 1 (instead of 3-4) and adjusted my foot pressure to sew leather. My sewing projects involve delicate silk fabrics, so I set my foot pressure at 1 for extra-fine materials. This is great for thicker fabrics, so I increased it to 3.

Dos-And-Don’ts When Sewing With Leather with a Machine

For cutting leather, you should use the best scissors. You can also use a rotary cutter. The Exacta can also be used to cut thin skin with leather. When stitching leather, make sure you use the best needle. The leather needle is available at most sewing stores. 

It is well worth the investment. It has a small triangle-shaped tip which makes it easier and more efficient to cut through thicker material and multiple layers. You can order a leather tool needle of size 90/14. This needle prevents tears.

Stitching the Leather on a Machine to Sew

To sew leather, use the most vital thread. A nylon thread/100% polyester thread will be stronger than regular cotton and more suitable for sewing fabric. The oils in the cotton thread can cause it to deteriorate in leather.

For sewing leather, you should use a nonstick or walking foot. A trick I learned is to apply scotch tape to the underside of the regular foot to make it stickier if you don’t have these feet. Teflon is the only product that leather experts recommend.

Sew Slowly

How to sew leather with sewing machine? One problem is that the seam allowance will stay flat. The seam allowance should be opened and pressed with a hot, dry iron. A pressing cloth is recommended. 

For open seam allowances, press with something that has a rounded corner. You can also topstitch the seam allowance from the right side on either side. Alternatively, you can trim 1/4 inch from the seam allowance and leave it at that.

Home Sewing Machine

If you plan to sew leather regularly or have thick skins that you want to sew, invest in an industrial machine. Even with the leather sewing needle, it won’t be easy to sew through the leather of this thickness with a home machine.

Binder clips should secure edges when sewing or cutting the leather. Pins should also be avoided as they can cause damage to the leather and make it very visible. You can also use paper clips if your leather is thin.

If you sew hems onto leather garments, you must use the right scissors. This helps to reduce bulk. To reduce size in the hems, trim seam allowance to half their width. If the folded edge isn’t straight, or if you have a curvilinear edge, cut at regular intervals.

A double-topstitched, double-stitched edge looks great on the leather. Topstitch with a 3-4 mm seam. The double lines may be spaced one-eighth of an inch apart.

Sewing Machine Adjustments

Learn can sewing machines sew leather. I prepared my sewing machine to sew leather. To test my settings and tools, I used scrap pieces of leather. Be sure to complete this step. It is crucial to know how your sewing machines will handle stitching leather. Use different needles and threads to make a sampler.

Frequently Ask Questions

Does Sewing Leather Make It Complicated?

If the right tools are used, sewing leather can be done quickly. This usually involves a leather-sewing machine that is well maintained as well as heavy-duty thread. After you’ve set it up, sewing leather can be as simple as other fabrics.

What Type And Model Of Sewing Machine Am I Required To Sew Leather On My Device?

Most heavy-duty sewing machines can accommodate thread sizes of up to 415. This is why they are highly recommended for sewing genuine leather.

Can You Sew Leather With A Regular Sewing Machine?

Absolutely! Sewing leather on a regular sewing machine without a unique foot is possible. In this tutorial, I’m using a standard machine foot and a needle made of leather. However, it is best to get a particular nonstick/Teflon shoe if you will be sewing a lot of leather.

Can You Sew With Regular Thread Leather?

Cotton thread is not suitable for leather. This is because the leather will quickly degrade the cotton. Sew-all or polyester thread can be used but is not strong enough to hold leather seams. You want to use a nylon thread, often called upholstery thread.


In conclusion of can sewing machines sew leather, while sewing machines can stitch leather, you must choose the suitable machine and thread for your project. Also, make sure to adjust your settings as needed. You can create durable, beautiful leather projects with patience and practice.

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