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Best used sewing machines for leather?

Best used sewing machines for leather?

Old 06-17-2019, 04:26 PM
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What weight of leather are you using? If it's fairly light, any machine should be okay as long as you use a leather needle and appropriate thread. The heavier the leather, the more difficult it will be.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:28 PM
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Thanks everyone. I'm now convinced to go ahead and try using one of my older Singers for the job. The cushions are a simple, square shape, so it shouldn't be too difficult. I'm looking into purchasing a teflon foot, or possibly just using my walking foot to help the machine sew smoothly and evenly. The leather is insanely expensive, so I don't want to screw this up. That being said, a new couch is probably 3-4 times as much, so I guess that I'm, "saving money."

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Old 06-17-2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by KalamaQuilts View Post
A leather needle, and a modern teflon foot for your shank machine might help.
My grandmother recovered her furniture, probably fake leather, but same idea using her singer treadle.
My good friend sewed canvas boat cushions with her featherweight. The right tools for the right fabrics!

What weight thread I wonder? Jeans thread? Button thread, surely not in a machine?
I wonder if 40 weight machine quilting thread would work?
I think that there's special thread just for leather. I'll definitely get some leather needles.

~ C
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:30 PM
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My neighbors have a very busy business just repairing leather clothing, and sewing patches on leather. They almost exclusively use Singer treadles. I did convince them to try a "newer" (than their treadle, LOL), vintage electric Singer because it had reverse on it...it worked but they went right back to their treadles!
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:05 PM
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when my kids were doing 4H horse shows, I made leather chaps on my old all metal Deluxe machine--use a leather needle. This was fairly heavy leather so I also used a bit longer stitch length. Worked fine, even putting in heavy duty zippers. I know have an old (50's) industrial Consew--it's a beast--goes forward/reverse but can sew anything.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:18 AM
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My old stand by 401A goes through leather like butter.
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by tropit View Post
I'm planning to sew some pieced leather pillows and recover some couch cushions with a medium-weight leather. I have a few, old, domestic Singers that might do the job, but they're not walking foot machines and I worry that they might not be strong enough. Does anyone have experience sewing on "leather machines?" If so, which machines can you recommend for the home sewer?


I can sew through 3 layers of leather with any of my vintage sewing machines. Singer 301A, 401A, I have more but these are real workhorses. Just make sure you use a needle for leather.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:29 PM
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As long as you are using apparel weight leather, a vintage machine with a leather needle is fine. My DH is a leather worker. I started him with a 1960ís white machine that I didnít care about. It worked ok, but I eventually found an industrial pre WWI needle feed machine on Craigslist for $300. It does a nicer stitch, and longer stitch, but I would only recommend the industrial if you are going to do leather work regularly.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:31 AM
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I have my Mom's Singer 201 and it's fantastic. Sews through almost anything. It's a real workhorse of a machine. A couple of hints for sewing leather. Like someone else suggested, be sure to get a leather needle. Second, use a longer stitch. If it's too short, it becomes like a perforation and the leather pulls apart.
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Old 06-30-2019, 10:33 PM
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If your layers are very thick, you may run into the issue of presser foot lift. Some newer machines may sew through the leather with the correct needle, but the presser foot won't lift high enough to get thick layers under it. I have run into this issue when hemming jeans also.

Also, stitch a bit slowly so your needle has time to clear the leather between stitches.

edit: My sis swears that putting a bit of regular scotch tape on the bottom of her presser foot makes it slick like the teflon feet. She says it works great on her vinyl projects.

Last edited by mindless; 06-30-2019 at 10:36 PM.
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