TuffSew here, your heavy duty sewing machine supplier. Sewing with leather can be very difficult and unforgiving if you make any mistakes. Many people ask us for sewing tips when working with leather products. Here are seven basic suggestions which will help you when sewing a type of material unlike any other.
7 Tips When Sewing Leather
1) Make sure and examine your leather before you actually mark out your pattern. Sometimes there may be a small hole or slight imperfection in the hide. You certainly do not want to get to the end of your project and then see a small tear in your new leather purse. Imperfections are normal because the hide was once on animals who lived in the wild where scarring is a normal occurrence.
2) You can’t really pin leather-use pattern-weights. These weights will keep your material locked in place like a pin would. We recommend cutting leather with a sharp pair of heavy duty scissors or a sharp rotary cutter. That’s the safest way.
3) Use the correct sewing machine for your needs. A normal domestic sewing machine will sew lightweight garment leather. Usually you can sew up to 1/8” thickness on this domestic machine. Using a walking foot attachment or Teflon presser foot will help.
4) If you’re sewing leather products over 1/8” thickness, you are going to need a portable walking foot sewing machine that can actually handle what you are trying to accomplish. Your best bet is a walking foot industrial sewing machine. We recommend our TuffSew Straight Stitch machine.
5) You need to use a size 20 or 22 needle to penetrate thick and coarse leather. A domestic sewing machine can only take up to a 19 needle. These special leather needles will be the difference in an “A+” result versus a “C” result.
6) Make sure and use nylon weighted thread, not cotton. It’s stronger and will last much longer.
7) Skipping stitches is always an issue when sewing leather. Why? Well, first off, are you using the correct sewing machine? Look at tip number 4 above. You might be encountering uneven bulk under the presser foot or seems coming together. Make sure you are using a brand new sharp size 22 needle with your built in walking foot sewing machine. The sharpness of the needle will penetrate properly, and the built-in motorized walking foot will help feed the fabric properly.
If you are interested in understanding more about sewing with leather, feel free to stop by our website at www.tuffsew.com.