If you’re a sewer who has always loved the fashionable look of custom leather, and longed to try a leather project of your own, you may be wondering what you need to get the job done. Can your machine, or the new machine you’ve been eyeing, handle it?
Leather is one of the toughest materials to sew on. It definitely doesn’t let a needle penetrate its thick hide easily! In order to tackle the dense material, you’re going to need a heavy-duty machine that can get the job done, without the leather getting jammed or the machine missing a stitch.
The home sewer doesn’t want to invest thousands in an industrial machine they’ll only use a few times a year at most. But with careful selection you can have a home sewing machine that has the power to handle leather, denim, and other tough fabrics with ease.
There are several options in a range of prices. The Singer 5532, the Singer 4411, the Janome HD1000, and the Janome HD3000 are all in the $200 to $500, and will be able to handle your leather projects without trouble. But of the three, the Janome HD3000 is likely the best choice.
The Janome HD3000 is a heavy duty machine with a cast aluminum body that keeps it in place well during heavy use, making it more stable and making it feel more balanced. With a strong motor, it can take on leather, denim, canvas, and other heavy or bulky fabrics.
The HD3000 is the perfect choice for working with leather because it has a 5-piece feed dog that keeps the leather moving smoothly, so you can sew through it without skipping stitches or having to maneuver the leather too much. With its extra-high presser foot lifter, it can sew over five layers or more, depending on the bulkiness or thickness of the material.
Although it doesn’t have the electronics that many entry-level machines have, it makes up for it with its solid build and reliability, coming in at almost 19 pounds. It comes with 18 built-in stitches that will provide you with all the utility stitches you might need.
The drop-in bobbin is easy to use, though some users have reported that it doesn’t wind quite as tightly as the bobbins on other machines. Other user complaints are that the light isn’t bright enough, it’s a bit noisier than some machines, and the work space of the sewing machine isn’t quite as large as they’d like.
Other basic features of the Janome HD3000 include a 1-step buttonhole and manual thread tension control.
If the Janome HD3000 isn’t quite in your budget, the Singer 5532 might be a good second choice. It has the ability to achieve up to 1,100 stitches per minute, has a solid metal frame, a top-load bobbin, 32 stitches, an automatic needle threader, and a 1-step buttonhole, making the Singer 5532 a budget-friendly, feature-rich runner up to the Janome HD3000.
Whichever machine you choose, you should find that it performs admirably under the challenge of leather material, and it won’t be long before you’ve finished your first project, eager to start another!