Leather is not your everyday textile. If you are going to start sewing leather it is important to determine if your current machine is up to the challenge. Leather material is thicker and tougher than cloth materials and not meant to be sewed on a general use machine. Choosing the best leather sewing machine for you is important, you want to be sure you are buying a machine that will last long and do the job well.
Tip 1 – Consider the Strength
Sewing machines are not all created equal. Even though they function similarly, each machine is made for different work. To create a stitch the machine has to force the thread on the top into the fabric with the needle and then loop it around the lower bobbin, and then pull it back through the top. Newer machines run on electric motors and use their belt drive to force the needle up and down. Therefore the needle only has as much power as the motor that drives it.
Motor ratings are important. For a leather machine you will need at least a 1.2 or 1.5 amp motor, anything less will not work properly. The best leather sewing machine will also include the following;
Ribbed Drive Belts
Reduction Gear Systems
Precision Engineer Devices that Control Slipping
Tip 2 – Go All Metal
Choose a sewing machine made of all metal. The motors in these heavy duty machines are so strong that the plastic casings cannot hold them properly. Metal machines will last much longer and your work will be much easier.
Tip 3 – Select Add-Ons
Add-ons help lower the sticking that occurs between the presser foot and the leather, this allows the material to slide through the machine more easily and prevents bunching. The following are good add-ons;
Rolling Presser Foot – This attachment has wheels on it that move sticker materials like leather to slide through the machine and not catch.
Walking Foot Attachment – This attachment often has two presser feet. These feet alternate rotating up and down as the needle moves.
Tip 4 – Be sure your Needles are Compatible
If you have the best leather sewing machine you need to be sure you have the needles necessary to work with leather. You will want to purchase needles with thicker shanks, they are tougher and can get through the leather without breaking.
Tip 5 – Try a Walking Foot Machine (Optional)
Recently I mentioned a walking foot attachment, this is not the same thing. These are the next step up in a sewing machine. The Walking Foot Machine is meant for sewing layers of leather, vinyl and/or denim that is usually used as upholstery. These machines are different than other heavy duty machines because they pass the material with a number of different methods including the feed dog, and presser feet. These machines come in a few different styles;
Triple Feed/Compound Drive
Double Feed Drive
Jump Feed Drive
Presser Foot Feed Drive
Snap Feed Drive
Remember that if you will be switching to leather your general sewing machine is not going to be productive. If you are looking to get the best leather sewing machine follow these tips and you are sure to select the right machine for your needs.