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8 Of The Best Leather Sewing Machines

When it comes to sewing leather, not all sewing machines are equal, which is why I’ve put together this guide to the best leather sewing machines for the home sewer!

Some sewing machines can handle leather beautifully while others will drag and mark the leather in such a way that it is no longer usable – the machines recommended here are the best leather sewing machines.

Of course, if you sew for a living, you may be keen to learn more about the different types of sewing machines, the best professional sewing machines and industrial sewing machine types.

If you’re a sewing beginner do check out my guide on buying a sewing machine and if you’re more advanced I have a great guide on the best sewing machines for advanced sewers too!

Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

Best machines for sewing leather - what is the best leather sewing machine in 2021?

Best Leather Sewing Machines (For Home Sewers)

So, what is the best sewing machine for sewing leather? In all honesty, it really depends on what you need the machine to do. I’m sharing the best machines below, but do consider what you would like to achieve and make your decision based on that. I’ve also got some information towards the end of the article to help you answer those possible questions you might still have.

Here are the top four sewing machines for home sewers who want to sew leather on a home sewing machine. Read on further down for more in-depth reviews!

1. Best For Price


SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine

  • 23 stitches and a buttonhole
  • Great for leather and other heavy weight fabrics
  • 25 year warranty


2. Best For Reviews


Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

  • Metal gears rather than usual nylon
  • 18 stitch types and one buttonhole
  • Great for medium weight leather


3. Best For Serious Sewers


JUKI DDL8700H High-Speed Lock-Stitch

  • Industrial sewing machine
  • Works with leather and heavier weight materials
  • High speed (4000rpm) for intense sewing


4. Best Dark Horse

Janome Skyline S5

  • A powerhouse machine
  • Sews beautiful stitches in leather
  • 1000 stitches per minutes


Let’s now take a look at each of my recommendations in more detail so that you can buy the best leather sewing machine for YOUR needs!

1. Singer 4423 Sewing Machine

The Singer 4423 sewing machine is noted as being a heavy duty sewing machine.


Singer 4423 Sewing Machine

  • 14.5lbs
  • 15.5″ x 6.25″ x 12″
  • Metal frame

This sewing machine works well with leather and other heavier weight fabrics.

Suitable for making clothing and home furnishings.

Manufacturers Specs

  • 23 stitches covering basic, stretch and buttonhole!
  • Can sew 100 stitches per minute
  • Automatic needle threader

What I Love

  • The inner frame on this sewing machine is metal which gives it a more solid feeling
  • It’s a simple machine, with dials and knobs rather than electronic buttons
  • Comes with a 25 year limited warranty

What I Don’t Love

  • The foot pedal is quite light so control can be tricky
  • It’s not the prettiest of sewing machines


Overall, this is a solid machine for anyone that wants a basic mechanical machine that can sew leather up to a medium thickness.

With many stitch options, it’s suitable for sewing clothing and home furnishing pieces, and the buttonhole feature is a winner too.

The lighter weight peddle may take some getting used to, but available at less than $200, it’s quite a bargain!

2. Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine

The Brother Strong & Tough sewing machine is another mechanical machine that can handle leather and other heavy weight materials.


Brother ST371HD

  • 14.5lbs
  • 7.87″ x 16.1″ x 12.21″
  • 800 stitches per minute

This sewing machine is not only strong and tough for leather and other fabrics like denim and canvas, but it can also sew lighter fabrics beautifully as well.

The addition of varied sewing machine feet means you won’t be needing to buy many additional accessories on top.

Manufacturers Specs

  • Automatic needle threader
  • 37 different stitch options
  • 800 stitches per minute

What I Love

  • Can drop the feed for some free-motion sewing!
  • Free arm attachment option
  • Sews nicely on heavier fabrics and leather

What I Don’t Love

  • It’s more ‘plastic’ feeling than other options
  • Reverse button can be tricky


This sewing machine has had some great (and some not so great) feedback regarding its sewing capabilities.

It is from Brother, who makes great solid machines, but I still prefer my Bernina over this Brother.

3. SINGER Heavy Duty 4411 Sewing Machine

A speedy machine from Singer, capable of sewing 1100 stitches per minute.


SINGER Heavy Duty 4411

  • 14.5 Pounds
  • 15.5″ x 6.25″ x 12″
  • 1100 stitches per minute

The second Singer machine on this list of leather sewing machines – this one is more ‘heavy duty’ than the Singer 4423 we looked at first of all.

With a heavy duty internal frame – made from metal! – this machine is a bit of a beast under the plastic.

Manufacturers Specs

  • 11 stitch types to choose from
  • Comes with four presser feet
  • Top loading bobbin

What I Love

  • 1100 stitches per minute makes for some speedy sewing
  • Metal inner frame makes this machine quite a solid option
  • Great for other heavy weight materials like denim and canvas

What I Don’t Love

  • Like all Singer sewing machines, they are sometimes prone to issues
  • Limited functionality compared to other machines around this price point


While there are some great reviews for this heavy duty Singer, there are almost just as many complaints.

Yes, it can sew 1100 stitches per minute, and handle leather well, but for the price point, your money could be spent better elsewhere.

4. Janome HD1000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

The Janome HD1000 is a mechanical sewing machine that can handle leather and other medium to heavy weight materials.


Janome HD1000 Heavy-Duty Machine

  • 18.25″ x 8.5″ x 15.25″
  • 15lbs
  • Mechanical machine

Sometimes you just want a basic machine that can do the job you need doing.

This Janome is just such a machine with 13 stitch types, multiple sewing machine feet and automatic needle threader.

Manufacturers Specs

  • 13 stitch types to choose from
  • Buttonholes
  • Cast aluminum body

What I Love

  • It’s a mechanical machine much like my trusty Bernina
  • Sews a really nice straight stitch
  • Easy to use for beginners

What I Don’t Love

  • Not a very fast machine
  • Bobbin winding can be tricky


A nice ‘weighty’ machine, the Janome HD1000 is a winner for sewing beginners who think they may want to sew leather at some point. For more experienced sewers, you may find it a little slower than you’d like.

5. REX Portable Walking-Foot Sewing Machine

A true walking foot leather sewing machine!


REX Portable Walking-Foot Machine

  • Walking foot machine
  • 37.3 lbs
  • Cast iron

I love a dedicated walking foot sewing machine – I talk about them in this guide to sewing machine types – and this one from Rex has some great reviews!

Not only does this Rex machine sew leather beautifully, but it should also be able to handle other materials that have a tendency to stick.

Manufacturers Specs

  • Dedicated walking foot machine
  • Cast iron
  • Every machine pre-tested before shipping

What I Love

  • Industrial quality sewing machine at a sensible price point
  • Option to buy more feet from Sailrite
  • Great for heavy leathers and other heavy weight fabrics

What I Don’t Love

  • Price doesn’t include the motor and table
  • Sews very fast which can take some getting used to if you’ve never used an industrial type sewing machine before


A great industrial quality leather sewing machine at a very affordable price point – don’t forget to order a table and motor too!

6. Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine

The second Janome to make this list of best leather sewing machines!


Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Machine

  • 10″ x 19″ x 15″
  • 18.7 lbs
  • Mechanical sewing machine

This is another great basic mechanical machine from Janome, which can sew leather and other fabrics.

Manufacturers Specs

  • 18 stitch types
  • Buttonhole option
  • Snap on presser feet

What I Love

  • Metal frame and gears so should last a lot longer than versions with nylon gears
  • Can handle multiple layers of fabric
  • Great for medium weight leathers

What I Don’t Love

  • The reverse button has been known to come loose in transit and will need reconnecting
  • Small working area so may struggle with bigger projects


A great machine from Janome at a great price point. Being a mechanical sewing machine, this is a great option for sewing beginners who want a machine that can handle a wide variety of fabrics, and leather!

7. JUKI DDL8700H High-Speed Lock-Stitch Sewing Machine

I love a Juki and this high speed lockstitch machine is a winner if you love to sew fast and sew well!


JUKI DDL8700H High-Speed Sewing Machine

  • Heavy duty industrial sewing machine
  • 4000rpm
  • 5mm stitch length

This Juki is the second industrial sewing machine to make the list.

While not considered suitable for sewing beginners – this machine is fast! – if you think you’re likely to start sewing with the aim of selling your makes, this would be one of the best leather sewing machines to buy!

Note however that it is a lockstitch machine, which means it cannot sew anything other than a straight stitch.

Manufacturers Specs

  • Machine head only
  • 4000 rpm
  • Lockstitch machine

What I Love

  • Knee lifter makes for raising the presser foot speedily
  • Great for sewing other fabrics at speed as well as leather
  • Great quality of stitches
  • Easily backstitch with the reverse lever

What I Don’t Love

  • Stitch length limited to 5mm
  • No table or motor included
  • No additional sewing machine feet included


An amazing sewing machine capable of sewing materials from fine chiffons to leather and denim!

Stitch quality is fab, and the price is good too for an industrial sewing machine.

8. Janome Skyline S5

The dark horse amongst the leather sewing machines that I have reviewed has to be this workhorse from Janome! It’s the most expensive on the list, which is why I have left it until last, but it is an amazing machine that can actually handle leather really well.

Janome S5 Skyline

  • Released back in 2018 so well road-tested
  • 15″ x 26″ x 18″
  • Heavy at 31lbs
  • 1000 stitches per minute

This is the third Janome to make my list, and for a reason. It makes sewing faster with its 1000 stitches per minute, knee lifter and the choice of using the normal treadle or stop/start button.

Have I mentioned that it handles leather really well? Throw on a teflon foot, pop in a leather needle and you’re good to go!

Manufacturers Specs

  • 171 built in stitches
  • Multiple LED lights to you’ll be able to see your projects in detail
  • 11 presser feet – though you’ll have to spend more for a teflon foot for leather

What I Love – these are the pros in my own words

  • 91 needle positions – I am always looking for the exact needle position when sewing leather
  • The number of presser feet it comes with – this machine can be used for more than just leather
  • It sews beautiful stitches in leather, both needle and bobbin stitches look perfect

What I Don’t Love – these are the cons in my own words

  • It’s a metal machine = heavy
  • It’s expensive
  • No low bobbin sensor – but it is top loading so should be fine


Overall, this is an amazing general sewing machine that can handle leather with ease. For the best stitch results, use a teflon foot, leather needle and load up your bobbin with dual duty XP thread. Believe me, it’s a winning combo!

What Is The Best Leather Sewing Machine?

In my view, the best leather sewing machine is the Juki DDl8700H followed by the Rex walking foot machine – but I say this as a professional who is used to industrial sewing machines.

For the home sewer that isn’t as confident sewing at high speed, the Singer 4423 is a great price while the Janome HD3000 has some of the best reviews.

But, the dark horse suitable for sewing both leather and multi layers of fabric is the Janome Skyline S5.

While we’re on the subject of leather sewing machines, let’s take a quick look at some frequently asked questions that you may have about using a sewing machine for sewing leather!

What Do I Need To Sew Leather?

When it comes to sewing leather, as well as a sewing machine that can handle leather, you’ll also want the right kind of needle.

A universal needle is not the right needle for sewing leather – you need a leather needle which is created differently and allows the needle to ‘cut’ through the leather. I use these leather needles for all my leather and suede projects.

You’ll also want to use a suitable thread when sewing leather, and I find that a glue suitable for leather or a leather cement is helpful too as well as a roller for rolling sewn seams flat!

What Size Needle Do I Need To Sew Leather?

The needle size you need for sewing leather will depend on your sewing machine and the thickness of the leather you will be sewing.

Leather needles range in size from 70/10 through to 110/18.

Can You Use A Regular Sewing Machine For Leather?

Yes you can use a regular sewing machine to try and sew leather, but you may find that the leather sticks, that the feed dog marks the leather or that the needle breaks.

This is often down to a regular sewing machine not having enough power to feed the needle and thread through the leather.

I have been testing sewing suede on a Bernina 1008 recently and it has been hard work, even when following all the leather sewing rules.

What Type Of Sewing Machine Do I Need To Sew Leather?

Ideally you’ll want a heavy duty sewing machine to sew leather – these machines have stronger motors and are able to pierce leather skins more easily with a dedicated leather needle. This makes them less likely to damage the leather when sewing.

What Is The Best Sewing Machine For Leather?

I believe the best sewing machine for leather is the Juki DDL8700H High-Speed Lock-Stitch Sewing Machine which is an industrial sewing machine.

If you prefer a domestic sewing machine for home sewing, then the Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine or the Janome Skyline S5 are great options.

Can Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Sew Leather?

Yes the Singer Heavy Duty sewing machine can sew leather, but it isn’t the best on this list.

Can Singer 4423 Sew Leather?

Yes, as mentioned in my review further up, the Singer 4423 is a great option for those on a budget who want to sew leather!

How Much Does A Leather Sewing Machine Cost?

Prices for leather sewing machines vary greatly. The ones listed in this guide range from $150 up to $650.

If you were to go for a very dedicated industrial leather sewing machine from one of the more recognised industrial brands, you’ll be looking at over $1500!

Do I Need A Walking Foot To Sew Leather?

No, you don’t need a walking foot to sew leather, but it does make sewing leather easier.

At the very least you’ll want to consider a teflon or non-stick foot and feed dog – the latter can be purchased for industrial machines and work well – which will help to lessen any sticking and marking of your leather.

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Friday 27th of January 2023

I have a White Rotary machine, can I get the items needed for belts and wallet's?

Eve Tokens

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi Martin!I'm not very familiar with the White Rotary machine - I have a very old Singer (similar to the White Rotary) and that has parts which I have used for leather purses, wallets and jackets. Hope that is helpful!

Shawn Pickett

Monday 23rd of January 2023

I'm looking for a sewing machine that can sew a depth of 9mm and has a cylinder bed only 1" wide and deep. So far I've seen one or the other but not both. Can you direct me to a machine like that? It doesn't necessarily have to be for material as heavy as leather but that's fine too.

Eve Tokens

Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi Shawn. I don't know of any specific machines with both features I'm afraid. Have you looked at Tippmann? I think they're some of the smallest cylinder machines I've seen!


Saturday 31st of December 2022

On your review for the Singer 4423 you say it’s good to sew leather ‘up to a medium thickness’. Can you tell me what you would consider a medium thickness to be? Many thanks!

Eve Tokens

Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

Hi Simon! Apologies for the delay, I've been offline enjoying the holidays. I classify leather between 1mm to 1.5mm as medium thickness. Factor in the two layers (if creating a standard seam) and that's just shy of 3mm. You can of course try thicker leathers, but when I've tried to sew them on home sewing machines (in particular a beige cow hide intended for a jacket which was actually the thickness suitable for furniture) I ended up with poorly sewn seams, skipped stitches and frankly, a bit of a mess. For heavier weight leather, you'd really want a dedicated leather industrial machine, which has more 'oomph' to power through the thickness! Hope that helps, and happy new year!


Thursday 6th of January 2022

I have a question what's the best machine for sewing shoes.