Why do you need special industrial leather sewing machines? While many seasoned sewers advocate a standard machine for leather, your outcome will always be compromised without a professional sewing equipment made especially for leather skin.
Leather can give quite the exotic air to a wardrobe, but it is definitely a tough fabric to sew. Considering the fact that it can be quite expensive to buy, using the correct machine to sew the leather properly is the smartest choice to make, rather than taking the chance of tearing, making unwanted permanent holes or otherwise ruining the material.
Knowing the different types of leather and the models that are required to handle such material is extremely important to ensure a beautiful outcome when sewing leather projects.
A standard sewing machine can only sew light weight materials such as lambskin or mid-weight leather such as pigskin, but heavier leather such as cowhide may break the needle. Needles that are made to work especially with leather are sharper than standard sewing needles, providing more stunning and professional appearing stitches, particularly on fragile animal skins like snakeskin.
Sewing machines that are manufactured to manage leather are more powerful than domestic and semi-industrial models. Leather sewing machine is specially designed with a unique working space that is prepared to repair or sew accessories including shoes, belts and handbags, which are either difficult or completely impossible to handle with ordinary models.
When you are working with leather or animal skin, using thick and sharp needles, with recommended sizes of 11, 14, 16 or above is your best bet. These strong needles can handle the toughest jobs under very high pressure.
In addition, a durable, thick polyester or rayon thread should be used, because the standard cotton thread will tear easily when sewn onto leather. Even if the cotton thread were to manage to withstand the sewing process, it would not hold well after the garment was finished.
A Teflon (a foot that contains a plastic part underneath instead of the heavy duty metal) or walker foot, should be a must have part of you plan to sew leather with standard sewing machines. It has a much softer touch and glides smoother on the material, leaving no visible marks or wear on the leather while sewing.
Also, be sure not to put pins into the leather; this will leave unwanted holes in the fabric. Instead, use a special tape for leather projects in order to hold the material together before and during sewing.
If you are just planning on sewing leather garments, like jackets, pants, skirts or coats, there is no need to by a specialized commercial leather sewing machine which is quite expensive.
Solid industrial models like the Singer 20-U, Singer CG-590 Commercial Grade, Bernina 950, and the Janome6500 are great choices for leather projects. Other industrial grade machines by Pfaff or Brother also make very good choices.
On the other hand, if you will be sewing accessories like handbags, shoes, gloves, belts and etc., you will need specialized industrial leather sewing machines made specifically for this purpose.
The Reliable MSK-1341 Cylinder-Bed Walking-Foot Sewing Machine with Sewquiet Servomotor or the Reliable MSK-335B Single-Needle Small-Cylinder Walking-Foot Sewing Machine with Vibrating Binder and Sewquiet Servomotor are some of the best choices for leather accessory sewing. They can both be found for under $2000 and contain all of the features needed for specific use with leather and other thicker materials.
Also consult with your local shop about which leather models they currently retail and have plenty of replacement parts available.