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Best Sewing Machines for Leather Crafting

Experienced insights, guidance, and recommendations on what can help best in your leather crafting.

Best Sewing Machines for Leather Crafting - International Leather Club

Best Sewing Machines for Leather Crafting

Deciding on the right leather sewing machine can be overwhelming, but with a bit of knowledge, the process becomes much simpler. As an experienced leather worker, I understand the importance of investing in a machine that will last for years to come.

One machine that I highly recommend is the Consew 206RB-5 (click here to view on Amazon). This workhorse machine features a triple feed walking foot and is incredibly well suited for leather work. In this article, I’ll share some tips on what to keep in mind when choosing the best leather sewing machine for your needs.

What to Look for in a Leather Sewing Machine

When looking for a leather sewing machine, I prioritize power, durability, speed, options, and reliability. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Power: A strong motor is essential for sewing through thick leather.
  • Durability: Look for a machine with sturdy construction and high-quality materials.
  • Speed: A faster machine can increase productivity, but be sure it doesn’t sacrifice quality.
  • Options: Consider features like adjustable stitch length and width, needle position, and thread tension.
  • Reliability: Choose a machine from a reputable brand with good customer reviews.


Make sure to also check for compatibility with the type of leather you’ll be working with, and don’t forget to include any necessary accessories like leather needles and thread.



Sewing machines used for industrial and leather purposes require a significant amount of power to handle thicker and heavier materials. Some machines can provide up to 550 watts of power, which is a considerable amount. To accommodate this power, the machines may have a separate motor that hangs below the table and connects via a belt to transmit power to the machine’s gears. This setup allows for efficient and effective stitching of leather materials.



Leather sewing machines can be quite heavy, weighing up to 60lbs. It’s important to ensure that the machine is placed on a sturdy table to prevent any shaking or movement during use. Standard sewing machines typically weigh around 15lbs.



When operating larger industrial sewing machines, there may be some noise due to the use of larger mothers. However, this is common and expected.


Larger Foot Controls

I prefer machines with a spacious platform for my feet. Some manufacturers offer more comfortable foot controls than others. It’s worth considering as I might spend hours working on it. Check for links and images of different models to find the right one for you.


Presser Foot

Leather is a bit of a “sticky” material when passing through a sewing machine, and requires a foot that allows it to pass smoothly through the machines as it sews. For this purpose, leather sewing machines generally use one of a few types:

Walking Foot

I always make sure to use a walking foot when sewing leather. This type of foot grips the material, moving it in unison with the feeding feet underneath. This ensures that the leather passes through the machine evenly without getting stuck.

Teflon Foot

Another option I like to use is a Teflon foot. This common style of foot is coated with Teflon, making it essentially non-stick. This allows the leather material to pass smoothly under the foot without any issues.

Roller Foot

Finally, I sometimes use a roller foot. This foot has little rollers built into it that allow the leather to pass through freely without getting stuck. It’s a great option for thicker or stickier leather materials.

Remember to choose the right foot for the job to ensure a smooth and successful sewing experience!



I make sure to oil my sewing machine’s mechanical parts once a week, as recommended for standard machines. However, since I use a leather sewing machine, I oil it after every 8 hours of use. Proper oiling is crucial to keep the machine’s parts working smoothly and strongly, especially since they handle a lot of force. I always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended oil for my machine.



I found that heavier duty machines come with warranties ranging from 5-25 years. Sturdier machines cost more.


Stitch Rate

When it comes to leather sewing machines, stitch rates can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and machine type. Some machines can sew up to 3,000 stitches per minute (spm), with faster rates usually available in more expensive models. This is due to the higher power and quality of parts needed to sustain the wear from long durations of fast stitching in heavy materials. It’s important to consider the stitch rate when choosing a machine for your leather sewing needs.


Stitch Length

I found that standard machines offer stitch lengths up to around 6.5 mm, while industrial machines can run up to about 10mm. Longer stitches can securely attach thicker, heavier materials.

My Top Picks

Consew 206RB-5

I recently came across the Consew 206RB-5, an industrial single-needle sewing machine that impressed me (click here to view it on Amazon). With a maximum stitch speed of 3,300 SPM and a 10mm stitch length, it’s a reliable and efficient machine. It can also take a 135/17 needle, making it versatile for various fabrics. Weighing in at 82 lbs, it’s a sturdy machine that can handle heavy-duty projects. Additionally, it’s reasonably priced, making it a great choice for those looking for a mix of cost and function.



I recently came across the JUKI DNU-1541 sewing machine and was impressed by its performance (click here to view it on Amazon). This Japanese-made machine has a maximum stitch length of 9mm and a speed of 2,500 SPM. Although it has a slightly shorter max stitch length than the Consew, it’s still a great option for leather work. 


COBRA Class 17

I recently learned about the COBRA Class 17 sewing machine and was impressed by its capabilities (click here to view this on Leather Machine Co.). It is a straight-stitch, walking foot machine with a speed reducer, making it ideal for sewing thick materials like leather. The machine can handle up to 16oz of leather, which is quite impressive.

What I found particularly interesting is that even those who have owned the COBRA Class 17 for years still highly recommend it. It’s clear that the manufacturing company has a lot of expertise in the field and takes pride in their support.

If you’re in the market for a sewing machine, the COBRA Class 17 is definitely worth considering. 

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