Leather Sewing Machines - 10 Tips For Sewing Leather
A few years ago, I decided to sew leather saddles, bags, purses and other leather items when I resettled in Scotland. I never quite liked working with leather fabrics until I acquired one of the best leather sewing machines.
Despite this acquisition, I've continued to have a love hate relationship with leather. Even having one of the best leather sewing machines hasn't made me love them. Traditionally, I always preferred to work with textile fabrics but whenever I think something would look better with leather, I jump onto my leather sewing machine and make it.
Working with leather can be quite tricky for the uninitiated. For starters, you really can't make a mistake with leather because they will be impossible to fix. I'm no expect of stitching leather but a lot of people do ask me to give a few tips about how to sew leather. So here are my two cents on the subject.
My top 10 tips for sewing leather
1. Before you even begin making any sort of markings on your leather, it is important to examine for scars, tears and other imperfections. It is easy for the leather to have imperfections on them because it was once the skin of an animal that lived outdoors. Their skin are often scrapped against brushes and trees. The last thing you want to see is to finish cutting the leather and then discover there is a hole in it. What will happen if you don't have any more hide left.
2. Don't try pinning leather fabrics. You can only do so with a clicking press so unless you own one, don't even try it. Instead a cardboard cut pattern and weights should be your first choice when it comes to sewing leather. Some of the best sewing machines for leather can do this for you quite easily.
3. Get the right sewing machine for leather. The type of of machine depends on the weight of leather you want to sew. Leather for garments are usually not heavy and can be sewed with a domestic sewing machine. The best leather sewing machines come with a walking foot, teflon presser foot and a roller foot. For other types of leather, you need a heavy duty machine. Of course there are some types of heavy leather that can only be sewn with a heavy industrial leather sewing machine.
4. If your needle keeps breaking when sewing leather, you need to buy a needle specifically designed for sewing leather or heavy fabrics. This type of needle will help you make beautiful, even stitches.
5. You should always aim to use the right type of thread to sew leather. The best types of thread for sewing leather are pure nylon and polyester upholstery weight thread. Leather garments are generally made to last several years. Don't use threads with cotton in them because they will disintegrate with time. This will make the stitches lose and destroy your work.
6. Use interfacing to give some structural features to your leather project
7. It can be sometimes very difficult to press press seams open. This is especially true of garment-grade leather which struggles to hold when pressed together. You can hold the shape by using a double sided adhesive tape.
8. Sometimes the machine struggles to maintain even stitches. In such cases, you should change to a fresh leather sewing machine needle and a teflon gather foot.
9. If you are having difficulty pulling the leather through the feed dogs, get one of these gadgets. You simply place it under the presser foot and it will evenly distribute the pressure on the feed dogs and move the fabric along nicely.
10. So I know I said my 10 tips for sewing leather however, I want to leave the 10th tip to you the readers. What other leather sewing tips do you want to add to this list?
And if you are looking for some of the best sewing machines for various projects, sewbroidery.com has you covered. Go check them out.