Even if you were a complete beginner who hasn’t sewn a stitch in his life, you would know that the best sewing machines for leather need to be heavy duty.
Thus, the focus of this article is going to be on reviewing some of the best heavy duty sewing machines for leatherwork from some of the best brands. It goes without saying that you’ll be able to make leather handbags and leather garments.
Those heavy duty models will also work for denim and other heavy-weight fabrics. They will stitch through multiple layers of thick materials but they can also handle light and medium-weight fabrics just as well.
You’ll need to use needles for leather, that’s crucial. Check out my guide on how to change the needle on a sewing machine if you need further info.
Best Sewing Machines for Leather Reviews
Given that in order to find the best sewing machines for leather, we’ll have to look at heavy duty models, you might think that all these choices are very expensive.
You wouldn’t be entirely wrong but it also depends on your budget. You’ll definitely not find a sewing machine that can handle leather with ease and that costs $100.
However, with a budget of around $200 or so, you could buy the Singer Heavy Duty 4423. It’s not at the top for leatherwork but it’s the perfect choice for beginners on a budget. I believe that even professionals would be satisfied with this heavy duty model.
In the same price range, you’ll also find the Brother ST371HD. Or the Brother ST150HDH.
If you don’t want to spend too much money, these Brother and Singer models are the ones you should check out first. I prefer the Singer, I think it’s a bit better at handling heavy-weight fabrics.
At double the price of Singer Heavy Duty 4423, we come across Janome HD-3000BE, which is a favorite of mine when it comes to all these best sewing machines for leather. It’s certainly a very good option for more experienced users.
You could buy 3 Singer 4423 and then some sewing tools for the price of one Juki TL-2000Qi.
As for very expensive models that cost $1000 or more, we have the Juki TL-2010Q as an option for the best sewing machine for leather.
1. Singer Heavy Duty 4423: Overall the Best Sewing Machine for Leather
Let’s start with my favorite budget sewing machine for leather. I also recommended this model as one of the best sewing machines for making wigs. It’s highly versatile.
If your budget is around $200, you have two main models to consider: this 4423 from Singer and Brother ST371HD. Let’s review the Singer first because I like it a bit more than the one from Brother.
But make sure to read the reviews for both and then you can make the final choice.
There are other Singer machines belonging to the Heavy Duty series but I think that the 4423 is the best of the bunch.
Overall, it’s the one that achieves the best balance between price, quality, and specs. You can check out the other ones if you want to make sure that I’m right. Maybe you’ll find another Heavy Duty that is better for your needs than the 4423.
It’s also one of the best sewing machines with drop-in bobbin. It’s pretty rare to find a Singer model with top loading bobbin. Most of their machines have a front load bobbin. Brother is the manufacturer with mostly drop-in bobbins that are very easy to use.
Let’s see what else we get, besides the heavy duty aluminum frame. I must say that I love the design. It inspires confidence in its heavy-duty capabilities and it certainly delivers on its promises.
There are 97 stitch applications. These can be grouped in a few main categories: straight, ric rac, zigzag, multi-step zigzag, blind hem, one-step buttonhole, picot hem, decorative, straight stretch, reinforced zigzag, honeycomb, double overlook, slant overedge, and bartack buttonhole.
Thus, buttonholes are also covered among stitches.
The stainless steel bedplate allows the fabric to glide with ease.
This is a spacious machine, offering 6.25 inches sewing space and 4.25 inches height. It’s very similar to the space ensured by more expensive models.
Moreover, it also includes a high-performance motor that is 60% stronger than a standard sewing machine motor for reaching up to 1100 stitches per minute.
The accessories are also highly indicative of what this model can do: general purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, edge/quilting guide, pack of needles, bobbins, spool caps, auxiliary spool pin, spool pin felt, screwdriver, seam ripper/lint brush, soft dust cover.
There’s an adjustable presser foot pressure that allows us to sew very lightweight sheers.
We can adjust the position of the needle thanks to the three needle position dial.
We have a pattern selector dial for stitches, stitch width dial, stitch length dial, and thread tension dial.
It has a free arm, a built-in needle threader, a top drop in bobbin, and a horizontal spool pin. It’s why I also recommended this Heavy Duty 4423 as one of the best drop in bobbin sewing machines.
What recommends the Heavy Duty 4423 for leatherwork
While reading The Sewing Machine Master Guide by Clifford L Blodget, I came across the author mentioning the Singer Heavy Duty 4423, which is described as a basic but very competent heavy-duty machine. That’s why I like it so much.
We are also informed that the machine has a maximum speed of 1100 SPM, which makes it pretty fast.
I mentioned that book because the author did a test with 8 layers of thick denim. It resulted that the piercing power and the ability of the Singer 4423 to go slowly with thick materials was good.
I’m well aware that 8 layers of thick denim are not a leather test but it surely tells us that this is indeed capable of leatherwork. It’s one of the many reasons why I regard this Singer Heavy Duty as one of the best sewing machines for leather for buyers on a budget of no more than $200.
Regarding its performance with leather stitching, you can check out this YouTube video for a short demonstration.
When it comes to user reviews that have used it for leatherwork, and there are many such reviews, the impressions are very positive. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it. It’s also one of the best Singer sewing machines for beginners.
2. Brother ST371HD
The second option for one of the best sewing machines for leather if you’re on a budget is the Brother ST371HD.
It’s pretty much in the same price range as the Singer 4423, more expensive by a few dollars.
Let’s see what it has to offer for beginners and for amateurs on a budget.
The manufacturer uses the words strong and tough to describe the ST371HD. It’s certainly indicating that it’s a heavy-duty model.
There are 37 built-in stitches. The 37 types are clearly displayed on the machine so you can clearly see what you get.
The stitches can be grouped as: straight, zigzag, blind hem, shell tuck, elastic, double action, fagoting, overedge, features, triple zigzag stretch, and decorative stitching.
1 step-buttonhole is also on the list.
The accessories also indicate the capabilities of Brother ST371HD: zigzag foot, buttonhole foot, zipper foot, button sewing foot, blind stitch foot, non stick foot, extra spool pin, spool caps, bobbin (4), twin needle, needle set (3), disc-shaped screwdrivers, foot controller, soft cover.
As you might have noticed, this machine already includes an accessory that can be used for leatherwork.
The non stick foot works for fabrics like: leather, vinyl, look and hook tapes, and it can also be used for hemming plastic tablecloths.
The drop feed feature allows you to do free-motion sewing, you can move the fabric however you want.
Other useful additional features are: automatic needle threader, ham-resistant Quick-Set drop-in top bobbin, automatic bobbin winding system, and free arm.
What recommends Brother ST371HD for leatherwork
Even from its accessories, Brother lets us know that their ST371HD is equipped for leatherwork because it comes with a non stick foot.
If you want a visual demonstration of how the ST371HD performs for jeans hem, leather and knit fabric, you should check out this video. It’s a very interesting video about tasting this Brother model, you should definitely watch it.
Users who have tried to stitch leather with the help of Brother ST371HD are quite satisfied with its performance.
One of the users is a total beginner who managed to sew through 2 layers of 6mm leather. I would say that it’s impressive to start with stitching leather as a total beginner to sewing.
3. Brother ST150HDH Strong & Tough Computerized Sewing Machine
If you don’t like the Brother ST371HD that I reviewed above. Or the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 that is my top favorite, then we gave the Brother ST150HDH.
This is the third option that I recommend for people with a budget about $300.
It’s not the cheapest option as one of the best sewing machines for leather but it’s an excellent heavy-duty machine.
The 50 stitches are more than enough for leatherwork, sewing clothes, mending, quilting, etc. It’s highly versatile and I love the ST150HDH for that.
It also include 5 auto-size buttonhole.
Of course, it comes with an automatic needle threader. That’s to be expect for any sewing machine that cost above $100.
However, that is a surprise is that the ST150HDH comes with a speed control slider. We control the sewing speed from a slider so we don’t have to use the foot controller if we don’t want to. We move the slider to the left for lowering the speed and to the right for maximum sewing speed.
It will also work nicely for quilting and bulkier sewing projects.
We can use a switch to lower feed dogs for free-motion sewing and quilting.
We don’t get an automatic thread cutter. What we get the normal thread cutter that is attached to the machine if we don’t want to use a pair for scissors for cutting the threads.
Sewing feet: walking foot, ¼” piecing foot, buttonhole foot, overcasting foot, monogramming foot, zipper foot, spring action zigzag foot, bling stitch foot, button sewing feet.
Unfortunately, the non stick foot that is used to sew fabrics such as leather, plastic, vinyl and oilcloth is not included. You’ll have to buy that separately, it is available as an optional accessory.
Among the other accessories, a heavyweight needle pack is included, which goes to show that it’s perfect for leather.
We get #14 heavy duty needles for sewing heavier fabrics such as jeans and leather, two #11 needles for medium weight fabrics, and two #14 ballpoint needles for knits and other stretch fabrics.
What recommends Brother ST150HDH for leatherwork
One of our clues is in the name. It’s called a Strong & Tough Computerized Sewing Machine so that’s one clear clue that it’s a heavy-duty model.
Furthermore, we are told that we can sew on everything.
We can stitch multiple layers of heavyweight fabrics, denims, lightweight silks, etc.
Another thing that is highly important is that many buyers use it for leatherwork.
Buyers use the Brother ST150HDH for making faux leather & leather bags, bonded leather bench cushions, etc.
It also works for making wigs.
Another indication that this ST150HDH works well for sewing leather is that it comes with a heavyweight needle pack. I’ve mentioned that above.
All in all, for a budget around $300, the Brother ST150HDH is an amazing machine, truly one of the best and most versatile.
4. Janome HD-3000BE: Amazing Sewing Machine for Leather
I love the entire black design with JANOME written in red but that’s certainly not why this HD-3000BE is one of the best sewing machines for leather and why it’s among my favorites.
Among more experienced sewists, this model is pretty famous for being heavy duty.
This is the machine some people get if they don’t want to use thick thread on chunky items on their fancier, more expensive computerized machines.
Janome HD-3000BE is quite the epitome of heavy duty for a decent price. Janome HD-3000 is the same model but in white.
The first info we get is that this is a heavy-duty machine that is perfect for a beginner or sewist looking to do a decent range of stitches on a wide range of fabrics.
I believe that it’s a great model for beginners, too, as long as you’re willing to spend a bit more to buy it. This Janome is not a cheap model.
We can select from 18 stitches.
The 18 stitches might not sound impressive but Janome manages to cover a wide range: straight, zigzag, overcasting, overedge, tricot, triple strength, outline stretch.
A one-stop buttonhole is also included.
We also get a stitch length and width adjustment.
Other features include: extra high presser foot lift, drop feed, needle threader, free arm, buttonhole lever.
The accessories also reveal what this model is capable of: automatic buttonhole foot, rolled hem foot, blind hem foot, zigzag foot, bobbin (5), needle case, quilter, screwdriver (2), lint brush, seam ripper, spool holder (2), extra spool pin, felt.
The speed will be varied from the foot control.
The user manual is quite helpful. If you take your time, it will reveal exactly how to use this machine for all your projects.
For example, in the section on straight stitching on heavy fabrics, the steps are detailed perfectly for a complete beginner. That is just one example but there are many more like this one.
Last but not least, it comes with a hardcover.
What recommends Janome HD-3000BE for leatherwork
When I went to check out the user reviews for this Janome, the first ones I came across were actually referring to how good this machine is for leatherwork.
Someone describes it as the best heavy duty machine for quality and price on all cloth and leather professional projects. That’s exactly what I believe, too.
Given its higher price, I don’t expect that everyone will want to get this one for their work. But those who can afford it, should definitely give it a second look.
You can watch this very short video that demonstrates a bit what the HD-3000BE can do, especially when it comes to thicker fabrics.
5. Juki TL-2000Qi
Considering the price of around $700, it’s surprising to see that the Juki TL-2000Qi is a considerably popular machine.
Moreover, this machine only has a straight stitch. You absolutely can do a multitude of projects with a straight stitch, after all this is the most frequently used type of stitching. It’s highly versatile and we also use other types from time to time.
We can also adjust the length stitch.
But if you need some zigzag from time to time, you’ll need to get a second machine. The same goes if you want a machine that does buttonholes for you. Or one that sews buttonholes. Still, with a straight stitch you can still do zippers. And there are other fasteners that you can consider.
However, this is a very fast machine that it’s capable of sewing up to 1,500 stitches per minute.
The accessories for TL-2000Qi are: foot controller, auxiliary table, exclusive screwdriver, screwdriver, cleaning brush, bobbins (4), needles, spool cap, cover, knee lifter lever, upper feed presser foot, 1/5 quilting foot, compensating presser foot.
The compensating presser foot is used for creating an even stitch along the edge of the material.
There’s no zipper attaching foot so that’s one thing you’ll have to buy separately. You might want to check out if it’s easy to find one where you live before buying the Juki TL-2000Qi.
It also comes with Juki’s lubricating oil, which is one of the best.
What recommends Juki TL-2000Qi for leatherwork
Just as the name suggests, Juki TL-2010Qi is the cheaper version of the much more expensive Juki TL-2010Q.
They have a few things in common and they have their differences in order to justify the big gap between their prices.
The important thing is that both these models from the TL series are some of the best heavy-duty machines for consumers. They both ensure industrial-quality sewing.
Juki TL-2010Q is certainly superior but it’s also about $300 more expensive. If you want a Juki and no other brand then you’ll have to decide how much you’re willing to spend.
Nevertheless, if you can and if you’re looking for something even better, check out my info on walking foot machines for leather. After reading that, just below, you can make up your mind.
6. Juki TL-2010Q
If we don’t count the walking foot machines that I’m going to introduce in a minute, then we could say that the Juki TL-2010Q is the most expensive machine in this article.
With a price around $1,000, I’m pretty sure that not many beginners are going to run to buy one of these. Well, I couldn’t afford one either so, I totally get it.
One thing you must remember about this TL-2010Q is that it only has a straight stitch. Nothing extra, that’s it. There are definitely people looking just for that because this model is very popular.
There’s a stitch length adjusting dial and a thread tension dial.
The manufacturer describes it as a high-performance sewing and quilting machine, capable of ensuring industrial-quality sewing.
It can handle large quilts, handbag making or home décor projects with ease. It truly is a heavy duty machine for leather garments.
The accessories for Juki TL-2010Q are: foot controller, auxiliary table, exclusive screwdriver, screwdriver, cleaning brush, bobbins (4), needles, spool cap, sewing machine cover, knee lifter lever, zipper attaching foot, upper feed presser foot, 1/4 quilting foot.
It also includes their Juki New Defrix Oil No. 1 as lubricating oil, which is one of the best sewing machines oils.
We get maximum sewing speed control with a range from 200 to 1,500 SPM, there’s a slide knob for that. Moreover, the foot controller comes with thread trimming function.
The automatic thread trimmer means that the threads attached to stitched pieces of fabric are automatically cut by a press of the foot controller.
There’s also an automatic needle threader.
The knee lifter lever allows us to lift/lower the presser foot without using our hands. The presser foot can be raised as high as 12mm (about 0.47 inches). It offers ample space.
This is another machine with drop feed for free-motion quilting and straight stitch sewing.
What recommends Juki TL-2010Q for leatherwork
I think we can start with the fact that most users describe the TL-2010Q as being a workhorse sewing machine.
Users who are using it for leather garments and for making handbags are absolutely satisfied with it. But it’s not a cheap machine so it absolutely won’t be for everybody.
Watching this very short video can pretty much sum up why Juki TL-2010Q is one of the best sewing machines for leather.
Walking foot machines for leather
Since we’ve just reviewed the Juki TL-2010Q, which is an expensive machine, I wanted to mention one last thing.
If you’re a professional that can afford a high-quality machine that can handle absolutely all leather projects, you should check out a walking foot machine, like the Consew 206RB-5. It’s certainly not a machine for everyone but it will be appreciated by professionals or highly experienced users.
Another walking foot machine that is harder to find but professionals will highly appreciate is the Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 series.
How to use sewing machines for leatherwork
There are plenty of YouTube videos that teach you how to use different models for stitching leather. If you write the name of your machine followed by leather, you’ll get a few very helpful guides.
Moreover, I also recommend checking out this small guide from Brooklyn Craft Company that explains how you need to equip your machine for leatherwork.
For example, we’re advised to get a teflon foot or a roller foot. Both are capable of gliding over leather. A regular presser foot will stick to leather. One example of such a foot is the Singer Roller Presser Foot that is compatible with other brands as well. There are others to choose from, that one is just an example.
I should also remind you that, in order to sew through leather with ease, you’ll need to get a high-quality pack of leather needles for sewing machines. Janome has a comprehensive guide on needles for sewing machines. It’s easy to pick the needles because they will clearly have leather written on the packaging.
All in all, armed with the right accessories and having your pick of the best sewing machines for leather will take you one step closer to realizing any project you have in mind.