How to Sew Leather with A Sewing Machine?

How to Sew Leather with A Sewing Machine?
How to Sew Leather with A Sewing Machine?

How to sew leather at your home without the use of an industrial machine? You don’t even need one. With the tips I share below, any regular sewing machine will work fine for the leather thicknesses we’ll use to make our shoes and accessories. 

(I’m not talking about insoles or soles, but the sewing that you will do to create your shoe uppers, leather straps, or sandal straps.

Now, learn How to Sew Leather tutorial will provide step-by-step guidance to get you started with your first leather sewing project.

However, we suggest you use an advanced sewing machine that’s capable of sewing heavy fabrics such as leather.

Therefore, read janome derby portable sewing machine review to find out why this machine can be your top choice.

Use a leather needle

To prepare your machine for leather sewing, the first thing to do is to place a needle specifically designed for it.

These needles can be found at any craft shop, haberdashery, or sewing store and are available in many sizes. I personally use the 100/16.

To help the needle penetrate leather cleanly, the end is different from regular needles. It’s sometimes called a spear-shaped needle. You should change your needle every other day to ensure you don’t use a blunt one.

Try changing your sewing machine foot

When sewing leather at home, I don’t use a special foot. I just use my regular presser foot. It works perfectly. There are two options for you if the leather is sticking to your foot or not flowing properly.

You could first try a Teflon foot. These feet are also known as ultra-glide or non-stick. These feet are usually white and made from (or coated with) Teflon.

They allow leather (or faux leather) to glide through the foot without sticking to it.A roller foot is another option. It depends on the brand. It could be made of metal or plastic.

The rollers, which are usually three in number – one larger at the front and two closer to the back – help control the movement of leather and guide it under your feet as you sew.

A third option is to try a walking foot (pictured above). This foot is sometimes called an “even-feed foot” and has its own feed dogs.

They work together with the machine’s feed dog to grab the leather from the top and bottom and then feed it through the machine evenly while you sew.

Read more : How to Repair Customized Cushions?

Use polyester or nylon thread

When sewing leather, it is important to choose the right type of thread for your machine. This is the most common use of nylon or polyester (regular, upholstery) threads.

However, I was told not to use cotton thread as it can be damaged by leather tannin’s and could perish over time. Such threading work can be done easily if you have an automatic needle threader, which you can get in a cs6000i sewing machine.

Use a long stitch length

When sewing leather, it is a good idea for a long stitch length. My machine is set at 4, which is the longest length. However, your machine may have a different setting. Just make sure your stitch is at most 3-4mm (1/8in). The leather can be ripped if the stitches are too short.

Hold your leather in place without pins

Pins are used to sew layers of fabric together. However, they are not recommended for leather. Any holes made in leather by pins or any other means, including pins, will be permanent.

To hold layers of leather together, you can instead use quilter clips, fold-back clips, or binder clips. You should make sure there aren’t sharp edges that could scratch or cut your leather. 

It is a good idea first to test them on a scrap piece of leather. You can also use double-sided tape to keep your leather layers together.

This can be used in long strips or multiple pieces, spaced several centimetres apart. You should not place the tape directly under the stitching line. The glue can catch on the needle and get fed into the machine.

Secure thread ends with a knot

Sewing leather requires that you secure your threads at the end and beginning of each row by knotting them (instead of backstitching if you are used to this when sewing with fabric).

If the back-stitching doesn’t match the original stitching, sewing back-and-forth over one-piece leather can result in perforation or possible splitting. Singer sewing machines 4423 can help you with such tasks in an ideal way.

To ensure a smooth start to every row of stitching, hold the thread ends at the beginning of each row with your left hand.

Once you have a few stitches in the row, let the machine feed the leather through. Your hands will guide the leather the same way you would with any other fabric.

Take your time

Remember to take your time and focus on sewing correctly. Sewing with leather is different from sewing with regular fabric.

You can’t unpick the stitches and then re-do them without causing damage to the original lines of stitching. You’re more likely to be satisfied with the result if you take your time and are careful.

These will assist you in feeling more confident while sewing with leather. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

The basic unlined leather bag (pictured above) can be a fun first project. The basic unlined leather clutch is easy to make and requires no sewing or zip insertion.

The pattern booklet provides detailed and fully photographed instructions that will help you through each step of making your first bag. 

If you are searching for something else, the Brighton Sandals might be for you. The straps and lining can be seen on a regular sewing machine.

You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of owning your very own pair. You’ll be able to wear your own handmade sandals this summer!