Best Tools and Materials for Leather Sewing Machines

General

If you are interested in sewing leather, you might be wondering what are the best tools and materials for leather sewing machines. Leather is a durable and versatile material that can be used to make a variety of items, such as wallets, bags, jackets, belts, and more. However, leather also poses some challenges when it comes to sewing, as it is thick, stiff, and sticky. Therefore, you need to have the right tools and materials to sew leather successfully and avoid damaging your machine or your project.

In this article, we will cover some of the essential tools and materials for leather sewing machines, such as needles, thread, feet, and accessories. We will also give you some tips on how to sew leather with a sewing machine and achieve the best results.

Needles

One of the most important tools for leather sewing machines is the needle. You need to use a special needle that is designed for leather, as a regular needle will not be able to penetrate the leather smoothly and may break or bend. Sewing machine needles have triangular or chisel-shaped point that cuts through the leather fibers instead of pushing them aside. This creates a clean hole that reduces the risk of tearing or puckering the leather.

Leather needles come in different sizes, depending on the thickness and weight of the leather you are using. The size of the needle is indicated by a number, such as 90/14 or 100/16. The higher the number, the thicker the needle. Generally speaking, you should use a larger needle for thicker leather and a smaller needle for thinner leather. For example, you can use a 90/14 needle for light to medium weight leather, such as lambskin or cowhide, and a 100/16 or 110/18 needle for heavy weight leather, such as saddle or tooling leather.

You should also change your needle frequently when sewing leather, as it can become dull or damaged after prolonged use. A dull or damaged needle can cause skipped stitches, uneven seams, or damage to your machine or your project.

Thread

Another essential tool for leather sewing machines is the thread. You need to use a strong and durable thread that can withstand the tension and friction of sewing leather. Polyester or nylon thread is a good choice for most projects, as it is synthetic and resistant to heat, moisture, and abrasion. You can also use cotton thread if you want a more natural look, but be aware that it is less durable and may break or rot over time.

The thickness of the thread should match the thickness of the needle and the leather you are using. The thickness of the thread is indicated by a number, such as 40 or 69. The higher the number, the thinner the thread. Generally speaking, you should use a thicker thread for thicker leather and a thinner thread for thinner leather. For example, you can use a 40 thread for light to medium weight leather and a 69 thread for heavy weight leather.

You should also choose a color that matches or contrasts with your leather, depending on the effect you want to achieve. You can use a matching color for a subtle and professional look, or a contrasting color for a bold and decorative look.

Feet

Another important tool for leather sewing machines is the foot. You need to use a special foot that allows the leather to glide smoothly under the needle without sticking or slipping. A regular foot will not work well with leather, as it will drag or push the leather instead of feeding it evenly. This can cause uneven stitches, distorted seams, or damage to your machine or your project.

There are different types of feet that are suitable for sewing leather, such as:

Walking foot: 

This type of foot has an upper set of feed dogs that move in sync with the lower set of feed dogs on your machine. This creates an even feed of both layers of leather without shifting or stretching them. A walking foot is ideal for sewing thick or multiple layers of leather.

Teflon foot: 

This type of foot has a non-stick coating that prevents the leather from sticking to it. A Teflon foot is ideal for sewing thin or smooth leather.

Roller foot: 

This type of foot has small rollers that help the leather move under the needle without dragging or slipping. A roller foot is ideal for sewing curved or irregular shapes of leather.

You should also adjust the pressure of your foot according to the thickness and stiffness of your leather. The pressure of your foot determines how much force is applied to hold the leather against the feed dogs. You can increase or decrease the pressure by turning a knob or dial on your machine. Generally speaking, you should use less pressure for thicker or stiffer leather and more pressure for thinner or softer leather.

Accessories

In addition to the tools mentioned above, there are some accessories that can make your leather sewing easier and more enjoyable, such as:

Leather scissors: 

These are special scissors that have sharp and strong blades that can cut through leather cleanly and easily. You should use leather scissors to cut your leather pieces before sewing them, as using regular scissors can damage or dull them.

Leather punch: 

This is a tool that can make holes in leather for inserting rivets, snaps, eyelets, or other hardware. You should use a leather punch to make holes in your leather before sewing them, as using a needle can create uneven or messy holes.

Leather glue: 

This is a special glue that can bond leather pieces together temporarily or permanently. You can use leather glue to baste or secure your leather pieces before sewing them, as using pins can leave permanent marks or holes in your leather.

Leather conditioner: 

This is a product that can moisturize and protect your leather from drying, cracking, or fading. You can use leather conditioner to treat your leather before or after sewing it, as it can improve its appearance and durability.

Tips on How to Sew Leather with a Sewing Machine

Now that you know what tools and materials you need for leather sewing machines, here are some tips on how to sew leather with a sewing machine and achieve the best results:

Test your settings: 

Before you start sewing your leather project, you should test your settings on a scrap piece of leather that is similar to the one you are using. You should test your needle, thread, foot, tension, stitch length, and pressure, and adjust them as needed until you get a smooth and even stitch.

Use a longer stitch length: 

When sewing leather, you should use a longer stitch length than you would for fabric, as shorter stitches can weaken or perforate the leather. A longer stitch length also creates a more attractive and professional look. You can use a stitch length of 3 to 4 mm for most projects.

Use a lower speed: 

When sewing leather, you should use a lower speed than you would for fabric, as faster speeds can cause heat buildup or damage to your machine or your project. A lower speed also gives you more control and accuracy. You can use a speed of 600 to 800 stitches per minute for most projects.

Use clips or tape instead of pins: 

When sewing leather, you should avoid using pins to hold your pieces together, as they can leave permanent marks or holes in your leather. Instead, you can use clips or tape to secure your pieces without damaging them.

Use a seam allowance guide: 

When sewing leather, you should use a seam allowance guide to help you sew straight and consistent seams. A seam allowance guide is a metal or plastic attachment that attaches to your foot or needle plate and has markings that indicate different seam allowances. You can align the edge of your leather with the marking that corresponds to the seam allowance you want to use.

Use a topstitching technique: 

When sewing leather, you should use a topstitching technique to create strong and neat seams. A topstitching technique involves stitching along the edge of your seam allowance on the right side of your leather, about 2 to 3 mm from the seam line. This creates a double row of stitches that reinforces and flattens your seam.

Use an iron or a hammer to press your seams: 

When sewing leather, you should press your seams to make them lie flat and smooth. However, you should not use a regular iron or steam on your leather, as it can damage or discolor it. Instead, you can use an iron on a low setting with a pressing cloth between the iron and the leather, or a hammer with a soft cloth between the hammer and the leather. You should press or hammer your seams from the wrong side of your leather.

We hope this article has given you some useful information on the best tools and materials for leather sewing machines. Leather is a wonderful material that can be used to create beautiful and durable projects. With the right tools and materials, and some practice and patience, you can sew leather with a sewing machine and enjoy the process and the results.

Leave a Reply