Most people assume it’s impossible to sew leather at home unless they have an industrial leather sewing machine. On the contrary, a regular home sewing machine works pretty well, depending on the thickness of leather used. Here’s how to sew leather on a sewing machine:
Use the Appropriate Tools
When sewing items made of leather, you need to install a needle designed for sewing leather. They come in various sizes and are available at the local sewing store, craft store, or local haberdashery. Leather needles are shaped differently compared to regular needles to allow them to penetrate without damaging the fabric. The type of thread used is also imperative. If you are using thinner leather for your project, a regular all-purpose polyester coated thread comes in handy.
Be Slow when Sewing
The power of the machine determines how you will sew through the fabric. Topstitching and thick seams may be a little difficult for a regular sewing machine. The rule here is to guide the leather fabric straight while changing the needle. If you are working with a machine that has trouble starting at the edge of the seam, place a thick piece of fabric to allow the seam to start more easily.
Use Long Stitches
Leather, unlike other fabrics, tends to stick and may not feed through the machine fast. As such, it is important to use a longer stitch as it compensates for the slow-moving nature of leather and pulls it through fast to create a perfect stitch length.
Invest in a Teflon Foot
A regular sewing machine presser foot tends to stick on leather fabrics instead of sliding through. Also known as an ultra-glide or a non-stick foot, it allows the fabric to slide without sticking when sewing. If it is not available, you can place a washi tape at the bottom of the zigzag foot to help the fabric slide easily.
Test the Tension of the Fabric
Some sewing machines don’t adjust the thread tension, hence the need to test it before you proceed to the next step. The threads should not show when pressed on one side; they should hold the leather firmly together.
Topstitch the Seams
The beauty of sewing leather is that the raw edges barely fray. As a result, it may not require special finishing as other fabrics. However, fabrics appear neat and flatter when topstitched, hence the need to do it on leather. Be sure to trim the seam allowance on the sides to reduce the bulk and allow the seam to lay flat.