It’s much easier to find the best sewing machine for leather and denim. At least it’s much easier than finding a proficient tailor who owns this type of sewing machine. Custom leather and denim materials are touch as nails. This isn’t literal, of course, but such materials are harder to crack into than cotton or silk.
So what makes a sewing machine the best sewing machine for leather and denim? Let’s find out!
The key to a good sewing machine for leather and denim is THREAD and NEEDLE TENSION. Conventional sewing machines come with automatic tension systems. This system doesn’t allow you to manually meet the needs of a thick material like leather. They are more suitable for thin materials.
The following machines offer incredible adjustability in needle positioning and tension. It won’t ruin your project and jam up your machine. That’s a promise!
* All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth sewing machine reviews below.
Best Sewing Machines: Top 10 Choices
1 Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine - Editor's Choice
Brother PQ1500SL sewing machine can perform at a lighting speed of 1,500 stitches/minute as a maximum figure. You still control its speed by a foot pedal fastly or slowly like other sewing machines. The fast speed helps you complete projects rapidly, while the slow speed makes sure you finish the complex designs carefully.
This Brother sewing machine features a super powerful engine to accelerate to the high sewing speed. It is an ideal machine to use on a large scale of sewing and quilting.
The Brother brand integrated a needle positioner, an automatic needle threader, and thread trimmers to make the sewing machine operate conveniently. These features allow the PQ1500SL model to proceed with the tasks easily and quickly.
You should oil this machine regularly if you use it frequently. Fortunately, Brother engineers designed this machine with small holes to oil from the outside. You can find it easier to oil the machine with these holes.
Not only is the maintenance easy, but the cleaning process for this sewing machine is as far as hard. The machine comes with an included brush as a tool to clean it.
You can adjust the height of the feed dog to use the free-motion quilting. There are four heights for you to fit any projects. A pin feed mechanism included in this design helps you change the feed dogs to a pin. This feature enables you to easily shift the quilt layers or perform with hard fabrics such as velvet instead of leaving marks behind.
History of the Brother Sewing Machine Company
2 Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 - Best Compact Sewing Machine
Let me begin by highlighting the fact that the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is packed with 600 integrated stitches. Isn’t that amazing! So if the first pick doesn’t seem too appealing, due to the lack of enough stitches, you know what to buy instead.
In short, it’s the best sewing machine for leather and denim. And for those who don’t want to spend big bucks just because they desire to work with tougher fabrics!
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine ranks as the best upgrade. The tons of excellent features make it seem like the machine is a high-end model. The kind that empties your wallet! But, fortunately, that’s not the case here.
It’s a fairly intuitive machine. Especially when it comes to finding stitches you wish to use.
Sadly, you might have to fiddle with tension adjustments more often than expected. That’s the only annoying part of this Singer sewing machine.
SINGER QUANTUM STYLIST 9960 - Threading
3 Singer Heavy Duty 4423 - Best Sewing Machine Suitable for Beginners
Are you new to the hobby of sewing? Particularly through tougher fabrics like leather and denim?
If yes and yes, then you’re looking at just the perfect option. The Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine is the ultimate model for your journey.
There are way too many user-friendly features this unit is equipped with. Combine that with the high-performing motor. And you get to complete your projects without much difficulty.
Needless to say, the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine is easy on the premise of usability. You don’t require special skills to be able to operate it.
When working with tougher materials, you expect strong stitches. Without having to deal with constant needle snapping! Correct? So if this is what you desire, this is what you buy.
When a sewing machine is light in weight, what does that mean? Two things! The first is easy portability, which is good news. And the bad news is that the machine is more likely to shift or wobble during heavy-duty sewing. So are you willing to overlook the bad for the good here?
SINGER Heavy Duty 4423 Sewing Machine
4 Brother XR9550PRW - Best Sewing Machine Suitable for Professionals
Brother XR9550PRW is a perfect sewing machine for a beginner thanks to its ease of use. The machine can sew smoothly; however, it makes a loud noise while operating.
- 1To begin with, it’s not too heavy to move around.
- 2Secondly, it features several stitch options. With the ability to sew through tougher fabrics!
- 3I would also like to add that the Brother XR9550PRW is a suitable option for beginners as well. I mean the functionality is such that anyone can handle the machine. For any type of work!
The XR9550PRW model has 110 included stitches like alphanumeric, decorative, heirloom, or 8 styles of automatic buttonholes. There is an LCD screen indicating the stitch choices when you push the stitch selecting button. You can adjust the settings for the chosen stitch on this LCD screen too.
As this sewing machine offers a wide range of stitch styles, you can use it for various projects like home decor or creative projects. You should not anticipate it to perform as great as a high-end model. You own it at a lower price, so you get what you paid.
For example, the buttonhole foot allows you to create uniform buttonholes. The zigzag foot is the universal foot for utility sewing projects. On the other hand, the monogramming foot features a transparent window to see the on-progress stitches. So, this foot helps you make decorative stitches like hemming and smocking.
It has a speed control slider including three settings: fast, medium, and slow. No matter how much you press the foot pedal, the machine sews at the set speed. You can start or stop sewing by either the foot pedal or the button.
XR9550PRW Project Runway Limited Edition Sewing Machine Overview
5 Singer Heavy Duty 4432 - Best Sewing Machine Suitable for Heavy Fabrics
How about spending your money on a machine specifically crafted for dealing with tough fabrics? Including leather and denim of course! Sounds great, doesn’t it? If so, then here’s the Singer Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine.
The needle positions, heavy-duty frame, and professional speed are a huge plus. I mean isn’t it great to hear that the best sewing machine for leather and denim has an outstanding piercing power? It makes handling heavyweight fabrics an easier task.
Plus, added durability and stability also take control. So whatever way you look at it, the Singer Heavy Duty 4432 is a better contender.
The Singer Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine works like a charm. Clean, easy, smooth, and quiet. You can use whatever fabric you like. Be it stretchy nylon, rayon, cotton, or jeans.
To top it off, the dials of the unit are convenient to use. Without even going through the entire manual! So it’s not complicated if that’s on your mind.
But you’d think that the automatic threader makes the task of threading easier. That’s where you’re wrong. This one here is a little bit finicky to deal with.
SINGER HEAVY DUTY 4432 & 4452 Sewing Machine Presser Foot Pressure
6 Janome HD1000 Heavy-Duty - Best Mid-range Sewing Machine
Giving the top pick a run for its money is the Janome HD1000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine. But the former is equipped with more integrated stitches. The Janome HD1000 has 14 while the Janome HD3000 offers 18. Not much of a difference though.
Adjusting the thread and bobbin tension is also a piece of cake. And the fact that the Janome HD1000 comes with an extra-high lifter for presser foot says what? That it’s the best sewing machine for leather and denim. It can even handle multiple layers if that’s what you’re also thinking.
Convenient to use features with a solid metal construction. Makes any machine capable of tackling all kinds of sewing projects! You can experiment with several layers and different fabrics. Without a worry in the world!
Do you prefer working with top-loading or front-loading system for bobbin? If it’s the former, then this pick is wrong for you. The Janome HD1000 features front-loading. But, to be honest, practice does make your perfect.
Threading the Janome Sewing Machine
7 Juki TL-2010Q 1-Needle - Best Sewing Machine with the Highest Speed
If you think 1,100 stitches each minute is the highest, think again. The Juki TL-2010Q Portable Sewing Machine can perform 1,500 stitches each minute. With awesome stitch quality, even though just straight stitching!
As a beginner, you’ll appreciate the easy operation and setup. And as a beginner, here’s another feature that might hit home.
Once you use this machine, there are a lot of features you might find truly appreciative. Such as the adjustments to the presser foot, speed control, and high performance.
You don’t need an industrial denim sewing machine. Or a leather one for that matter! Instead what you require is the Juki TL-2010Q 1-Needle Lockstitch Portable Sewing Machine. Tons of power and beautiful stitches are the key takeaways here.
It might seem like a deal-breaker but I encourage you to look at the drawback subjectively. The Juki TL-2010Q doesn’t offer any other stitches apart from the straight kind. Unless your projects demand the use of more stitches, you’re all set with this one.
Sewing Speed Challenge TL-2000Qi vs TL-2010Q
8 Brother ST371HD Strong and Tough - Best Low-priced Sewing Machine
Who says that affordable options are not as competitive as the higher-priced ones? Definitely, someone who hasn’t come across the Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine! That’s for sure.
This sewing machine is designed for some heavy-duty work. The kind that requires the unit to be durable and flexible! You can use the machine for everyday projects. This includes mending and sewing everything from lightweight silks to thick denim and leather.
Sewing speed is also quite satisfactory. The Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine gets the job done without weakening the quality of the stitches. So find relief in knowing that this affordable model is as authoritative as the others. Even the higher-priced ones!
Just because its price tag is budget-friendly doesn’t mean low performance. The Brother ST371HD is a reliable machine that works exceptionally well. It has the power to handle jeans, denim, leather, canvas, etc. Thanks to the zigzag spring action that allows you to create thick seams. A huge shout-out to the heavyweight needles included in the package too.
Only after putting it to use will you find yourself desiring more flexibility. But only for stitch combinations! However, given the amount you’re paying for this machine, whatever is available is a pretty fair deal.
Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine Over
9 Heureux Computerized and Quilting Z6 - Best Commercial Sewing Machine
The Heureux Z6 sewing machine has 200 options for sewing stitches including 100 alphanumeric and eight styles of buttonholes. This machine also has an automatic needle threader and a jam resistant top bobbin.
The manufacturer also provides you other accessories like a screwdriver for needles, and an auxiliary spoon pin placed in the accessory tray. There is a dust cover with a soft side put into the packaging for coverage while you don’t use the machine.
Please make sure you only use fabrics with thickness no more than 5mm to work best with the Z6 sewing machine. The selection of a thread and needle depends heavily on your chosen fabric.
You can turn to page 10 of the manual to find a practical guide for the thread and needle selection. Remember to always read it before starting any new projects.
The manufacturer has set the bobbin tension correctly, so you don't need to change it. You can only adjust the top thread tension. The top thread tension at four is enough for most sewing projects.
10 Janome Sewist 500 - Best User-friendly Sewing Machine
Can you expect each and every best sewing machine for leather and denim to be convenient to use? It would be illogical to think so. Some machines are difficult to use while some are easy. And, luckily, the Janome Sewist 500 Sewing Machine is the easy one.
Leather and denim projects vary in size and shape. With that in mind, you require a machine that can handle both thin and thick materials. Am I right? This can mean mending your wallet or fixing that handle on the purse. In that case, the Janome Sewist 500 Sewing Machine is ready to take on everything.
And if you inspect further, you’ll see that the price tag suggests otherwise. I mean how many such affordable options have the ability to perform so remarkably well! And the same can be said about the plastic case. But don’t doubt durability either.
The moral of the story here is that this Janome machine can handle all types of projects. Including denim and leather! And it has the ability to continue doing so for many, many years.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been sewing for 50 years or 5 years. The Janome Sewist 500 Sewing Machine is a great option for all. Its extra-high lever for presser foot can sew through bulky fabrics with complete ease. So I genuinely recommend this model for both experts and beginners.
Unfortunately, the tension control on this thing is not automatic. So it might seem tricky to work with. But everything takes time, doesn’t it?
Handy Guide to Choosing the Best Sewing Machine for Leather and Denim
Can you imagine how difficult it would get to sew leather and denim by hand? With the standard sewing machines on the market, the experience is mutual. You need a specific and professional machine for leather and denim.
With a standard sewing machine, material thickness of about 3/16-inches is good. There are many leather and denim materials with such thickness. But for more tailored projects, opting for an expensive machine is necessary.
Along with a machine as accurate as an industry-grade model, you will need a sturdy table and a servomotor. This completes your purchase giving you plenty of space to get the job done. With features installed in the best sewing machine for leather and denim, these tools are important.
What Are the Best Features of a Leather/Denim Sewing Machine?
Standard sewing machines are residential and lightweight. They do not offer the following features, which are key to sewing materials as thick as leather and denim.
Photo credit: sewcare.com
The stitching speed of a sewing machine is hard to compete with. It goes beyond the standard 1,000 stitches-per-minute of a residential sewing machine. In the case of leather and denim, you need somewhere between 2,500 to 5,000 stitches-per-minute reach. But this goes without saying that speed isn’t everything.
If the stitching is inaccurate and too fast, it can damage the material. And you do not want to damage a designer piece. The high stitches-per-minute count also gives you the opportunity to adjust the speed. Most standard machines automatically adapt to the material. We do not want that!
Photo credit: instructables.com
An industrial sewing machine comes with more than one stitch type. A good and reliable sewing machine has a stitch from 2 to 7 types. This is a good thing for versatile buyers.
Why buy a machine that offers only a single plain stitch? If you’re buying the best sewing machine for leather and denim, you want to buy a model that is fancier than basic.
You will find sewing machines with either a walking foot feed or a puller feed. I’m sure you can guess which feed style is meant for leather and denim. And which is for thin materials like cotton. The walking food feed, of course, is for heavy-duty machines. You move your feet up and down on the pedal to sew through thick materials.
A puller feed cannot handle thick materials because the motion lasts for a short time. With a walking foot feed, you can handle both the task “at hand” and your feet simultaneously. The whole point of buying an industrial sewing machine is to make usage more comfortable, am I right?
Photo credit: sewbroidery.com
Most people want to buy a sewing machine suitable for a residential setting. For that purpose, buying a clutch motor is too loud. But, with recent advancements, noise-cancellation is right around the corner. So industrial sewing machines with clutch drive motor are becoming a popular choice. Especially among homeowners! It’s built for heavy-duty machines. It’s FAST, POWERFUL, and LONG-LASTING.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to pay a higher amount for a leather/denim sewing machine?
The general price of any sewing machine depends upon its function and design. If you plan to buy one for sewing leather or denim materials, you need a few extra bucks. For beginner-level sewing techniques, paying below $300 is the ideal bet.
But, these are only entry-level models for simple stitching tasks. For cutting through the thickest skin, you must have at least $500 to spare. With this price, expect professional needle tension and accurate adjustability.
A better option with a foot pedal, durable motor, and many other features go beyond the $1000 price range.
Photo credit: tashamillergriffith.com
Do I need to “tune-up” my sewing machine?
Let me be clear about this fact. Your sewing machine’s livelihood depends on how well you tune up the machine. Without it, it’s best to leave it to rust and go bad.
This is the best way to determine how often and well you need to tune up your sewing machine. Answer the following questions:
- How often would I use the sewing machine?
- Where would I keep the sewing machine when it’s kept idle?
- Would I hire a professional for the machine’s general maintenance?
You need to tune up your machine once every 6 months if the answer to the first question is: on a daily basis. It also applies to when the answer to the second question is: in your basement or inside your closet.
Tuning up the sewing machine once every year or so is best when you’re an occasional user. If you use it for specific domestic projects once or twice in a week, this interval is best for you.
It also applies to when the sewing machine is kept idle for long. The features of the machine are prone to catching dust, rust, and other particles. LUBRICATION IS KEY, at this point.
What should I do when the stitches are uneven?
There can be 3 reasons why some of your stitches are not the same in size:
- The needle is not accurate enough to meet the needs of a thick denim or leather fabric. You need incredible needle tension and adjustability when working with leather and denim.
- The second reason is needle positioning. The right needle isn’t all you need for treating leather. There is a right needle inserting technique for a sewing machine built to handle leather and denim.
- The third, and an important, reason is foot feed pedal. Is it too upright? Is it consistent? All these factors can play an important role. If the height of the feed is low, it can lead to uneven stitching.
My Choice: Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine
You won’t be able to spot the best sewing machine for leather and denim when you see one. You need to pay attention to the little details that makes a huge difference. Just like the model that I have had my eyes ever since I discovered it. And that is none other than the Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine.
This is the best sewing machine for leather and denim. Because of its extra-high lever for presser foot! The invaluable presser feet are unparalleled with regards to design and performance.
On top of that, the machine features seven-piece fabric feed dogs. These enable you to zoom through leather and denim without missing any beats. Try finding a model that offers this kind of an advantage!
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