Can You Sew Leather With a Regular Sewing Machine?

Leather is one of the most distinguished and well-known fabrics available. Many even believed it to have been the first-ever fabric to be sewn. This outstanding fabric comes from animals’ hide and skin. While most leather comes from the cowhide, almost all animals’ skin can be used to produce leather including pigs and crocodiles. 

The leather fabric is being used to produce lots of products in the fashion world including clothes, shoes, and furniture, it can also be used for bookbinding and is well known for its intense durability and wrinkle resistance. Its level of durability is what spawned a curiosity among sewers if it can be sewn using a regular sewing machine. 

In this article, we will be discussing the probability of sewing leather with a regular machine, if it is possible, how it should be done, and what the outcome will be. Read along to find out. 

Can You Sew Leather With a Regular Sewing Machine?

As you might have suspected, it is possible to sew leather using a regular sewing machine. As a hobbyist or a regular home sewer who wants to practice the occasional sewing of leather, you don’t have to purchase an industrial machine for leather sewing purposes only. It can easily be done on your regular sewing machine.

All you have to do is to make sure your sewing machine is equipped with a varying straight stitch length and also make use of leather-effective needles. There are three presser feet that are perfect for sewing leather on your regular sewing machine.

These presser feet ensure the sewing process is less sticky and ensure a perfect sewing result.  One of these is the roller foot which comes with built-in mini rolling pins which prevent the foot from getting stuck with the leather during the sewing process.

The Teflon foot is another perfect option as it also won gets stuck to your leather. You can also make use of the walking foot which is accustomed to almost all the best leather sewing machines. The walking foot is designed in two halves and moves in a fixed walking motion to prevent the leather from getting stuck.

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What Are The Needed Accessories To Sew Leather?

Due to its outstanding qualities, the leather fabric requires a distinct approach that is different from sewing other fabric types. This difference makes the required sewing tools different from your regular needed sewing accessories. While you might not get to instantly use some of these tools, they will be needed later as you progress with your leather sewing practice. These required leather sewing tools include.

I. Binder Clips

Unlike knit and woven fabrics, leather has no holes through which pins can penetrate. The unavailability of holes makes it difficult when you attempt to pin two pieces of leather together which can result in damage to the leather skin with holes when the pin gets removed and the material becomes constricted by the pin.

To prevent all these from happening, it is advisable to make use of the binder clips to bind your leather together when sewing. There are different types of blinder clips available that can perform the function perfectly. 

II. Leather Needle 

The regular sewing machine is not strong enough to sew your leather which is why it is preferable to acquire a leather needle to prevent your project from getting messy and your sewing machine from getting jammed. The leather sewing needle is designed with an outstanding tip which allows it to cut through leather effortlessly without causing damage during the sewing process. 

III. Leather Glue/Cement

Since the leather is not as malleable as woven and knitted fabrics, you might discover that your seam allowance is not positioned flat and looks to bounce when sewing a seam gluing down the seam allowance is your best solution in this situation.

Different types of leather glue and cement are available for this purpose and it is important to be cautious and make sure no error has been made as it cannot be undone once glued.

Another solution is to seal the leather seam allowance in place using fusible webbing. With this method, your leather might get scorched by the iron which can damage the fabric. 

IV. Rotary Cutter

The rotary cutter is the ideal tool for efficiently cutting your leather. It comes with replaceable blades that can be easily changed once it gets blunt and gets the job done better and faster than the scissors. For perfection, you can make use of the 45mm rotary cutter for cutting the leather straight edges, and the 25mm for the curved edges. 

In the absence of the rotary cutter, or if you just don’t like using it, you can make use of the craft cutting knife instead of a metal ruler. 

V. Cutting Mat

A self-healing cutting mat is required for your leather projects as it makes it easy to cut your leather precisely. When working on small projects, you can make use of the A4-sized mat while a project that requires a large cutting process should be done on A2 sized mat. 

VI. Sewing Machine

While you might be sceptical if your regular sewing machine can carry out the leather sewing task, the truth is numerous sewing machines can easily handle leather sewing while some basic machines might struggle.

Sewing slow and steady on your regular sewing machine which is not equipped with electronic and computerized features will do the trick and you will get the hang of it once you start to sew.

VII. Thread 

It is advisable not to make use of cotton thread when sewing leather. The cotton thread gets damaged slowly thanks to the built-in tannins presence in leather fabric. To ensure a perfect sewing result when working on leather, you can use the polyester thread or nylon thread instead of the cotton thread.

You can also go with a regular weight thread or a topstitching thread. When using a regular weight thread, it is advisable to double it up to give your stitches a topstitch look. You should also make sure the stitch length is long just like the size that can be used for woven or knit fabrics. 

What Are The Seams That Can Be Used For Sewing Leather?

Taking note of the construction process is vital. Hand-sewn leather has a different look from machine-sewn ones. You will be opting for the lock stitch pattern which makes use of a needle, an upper thread, bobbin thread, and a hole rather than the saddle stitch with two needles, two lines of thread, and a hole.

This stitch pattern allows you to work with different seam options when sewing leather. A few of the recommended options include. 

I. Open Seam

The regular open seam gets pressed open after being sewn. This seam can easily be sewn using a binder and clips. When making use of the open seam, the piece of leather within the edge and the edges are more visible.

II. Lapped Seam

When using the lapped seam, another leather piece gets laid on the first of the leather to create an overlap and gets stitched down. This seam option is crafty and the binder caps are useless. A leather glue or cement is your best option when using this method. 

III. Welt Seam

A perfect seam option for heavy fabrics is a plain seam that produces a normal stitch. Its seam allowance gets moved to a side and gets stitched down. You can make use of the binder clips while sewing the first seam to ensure the leather stays in the perfect position. 

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By following this article from the beginning, you will have discovered that it is genuinely possible to sew our leather fabric using your regular sewing machine. We have also listed the compatible presser foot for the project, the needed accessories, and seam options to make your sewing process straightforward.

With consistency and meticulousness, you will start making outstanding projects with leather by making use of your regular sewing machine.