Can You Sew Leather With a Regular Sewing Machine?

Sewing is a popular way to make your own clothes and accessories. With the right tools like sewing machines, sewing patterns, and fabrics you can create anything. One of the most popular materials that people use to sew is leather. Leather, though expensive, is an elegant material that can be used in many different projects.

However, many people don’t know how to sew with leather using a regular sewing machine like they would with fabric.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about sewing leather with a regular sewing machine so you can create beautiful leather products for yourself or others!

Can You Sew Leather With a Regular Sewing Machine?

Can you sew leather with a regular sewing machine instead of an industrial one? The answer is: yes, you can. A lot of people ask us this question regularly. But the answer never changes. You can sew any leather at your home with a regular sewing machine as long as it can handle leather.

Most good quality sewing machines can sew leather with the proper setting. Today we will be sharing the perfect tips on how to sew leather on a regular sewing machine. All you need to do is to make a few modifications and follow the guide.

Tips on How to Sew Leather on Regular Sewing Machine

In this section, you’ll be learning tips on how to sew leather on regular sewing machine even if you are just getting started. But before then your regular sewing machine needs to meet up with certain criteria for seamless sewing process:

  • As you might know, you will need to use a leather needle with your sewing machine when you sew leather with it.
  • You will also need to change the stitch length to 1.5 or 2mm.
  • You will need to set the machine to the highest stitch density possible.
  • If your sewing machine is capable of zigzag stitches, you can use it for this project.
  • If your sewing machine has a buttonhole function, you can use that function for the buttonholes of the project.
  • You will need to change the needle position. For this project, you want the needle in the up position (or in the down position).

And then follow the procedures below:

I. Find Leather Needles to Use

The first thing you need to do is find the right needles for your sewing machine. You have to search for needles that are specifically designed for sewing leather. These needles are designed with a very sharp point to pierce the thick material and are extra long for stitching.

If you have an industrial sewing machine, then you should also be looking for leather needles that are designed specifically for heavier weight leather. The needle should be either 1/18th inch or 1/16th inch to help support the weight of the thick material.

You should also find needles that have a rounded eye which helps to guide the material so it doesn’t get jammed in the needle. Some needles have a groove cut in the top of the needle which helps the thread feed more easily through the eye.

Luckily for you, you can find all of these needles at your local craft store. They will most likely be in the embroidery section.

II. Change the Sewing Machine Foot

The first thing you need to do is change the sewing machine foot to a straight stitch foot. This is essential for sewing thick and tough materials like leather.

The other thing you need to do is adjust the needle to a straight stitch and make sure it is not too close to the material. You can use a small piece of paper or cardstock to test this. You don’t want the needle to catch the material when it is sewing because this would cause a huge problem. The needle should be about 1/16 inch away from the material when sewing.

After making these two adjustments, sew a test stitch on a scrap piece of leather or other thick material, then try pulling that stitch out. If the stitch doesn’t come out, then you are all set.

If it does come out, try tightening the tension knob a little more in both directions. If it still comes out, then there might be something wrong with your machine. In this case, you should contact a sewing machine technician or take your machine for servicing.

III. Change the Stitch Length

The first thing you should do is change the stitch length. The recommended stitch length for sewing leather is 4-6. The stitch length should be shorter so that the needle can penetrate the leather more easily.

Next, you should set the tension on the machine to normal to make sure the fabric does not stretch. The tension should be set to normal to make sure the fabric does not stretch.

Finally, apply a small amount of liquid soap on the thread before you start sewing. This will help with your stitches to be more secure.

IV. Use Nylon Thread or Polyester ones

Leather is a thick material and puts more pressure on your thread. So, you don’t only need a good quality thread but also a thick one.

Nylon or polyester threads are more durable than standard threads. It will give your sewing longevity while binding things in order. Therefore, when buying a thread for sewing leather, go for suitable quality nylon or polyester ones. 

V. Secure the Thread Ends with a Knot

Sewing leather is not as hard as it might seem. For most people, it feels like an entirely new skill they need to learn. It’s not that difficult, but there are some things to keep in mind before you start sewing.

First of all, you want to make sure that you are using the proper thread.

For sewing machine leather projects, it is always best to use polyester or polyester-cotton blend thread with a needle size of 90/14 or 90/16.

Next, you will want to secure the ends of your thread with a knot (or two knots) before you start sewing. This will help the thread not come loose during sewing and ensure a more secure stitch.

After securing the thread, you will want to set up your sewing machine. Most good quality sewing machines can sew leather with the proper settings.

We recommend using a zigzag stitch for maximum durability and a maximum width of 3mm. You will also want to use a stitch length of 2mm.

And finally, you will want to sew from the top side of the leather piece, not flipping it inside out first. The

VI. Be Patient

If you are not used to sewing leather, it is best to practice on a scrap piece before you start sewing on your expensive leather. It is also recommended to use a needle for sewing leather and a sewing machine that has a heavy-duty needle.

You will need to sew slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the leather. If the leather is too thick, use a leather thimble and if it is too thin, you can use a leather pattern. Leather patterns are usually used with a leather workbench and they come with all the necessary accessories.

The most important thing to remember when sewing leather is that you need to be patient. Be mindful of how the leather reacts with the machine and take your time. This is especially important when sewing thicker pieces of leather.

If you follow these three easy steps, you can sew any piece of leather on any sewing machine.

VII. Always Test It before Final Action

First of all, you have to test your sewing machine to see if it can handle the thickness of the leather. The leather needle should be used, and you can change the stitch width to 3mm. If possible, thread the needle before sewing.

Clamp the leather with a vice, place it on the table vertically. Cut off the excess leather with a cutter or knife. Place the bottom side of the leather on your sewing machine, make sure it is flat and not warped. Adjust the guide to fit the size of leather.

Make sure your sewing machine is properly threaded. Sew 1-2 inches on the top of the leather. Press the foot pedal to stop the stitching. The sewing machine should not move or jump out of place.

You are all set. You can now start sewing your leather with a regular sewing machine without any trouble.


So, these were the few things you need to remember while sewing leather. Leather is a very delicate material and needs a lot of attention while sewing.

It’s very important to read the manual of your sewing machine and learn about its limitations. We hope this article was helpful and helped you in some way.

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