Leather is a thick and heavy material. It is not easy working with leather, whether you are sewing jackets, upholstery, or bags. Not everyone can take up the task, definitely not without some experience. A beginner might find it very tough to sew through the leather. And when more than one layer of leather needs to be stitched together, it can be daunting.
Similarly, all sewing machines are not designed to sew through this material. While some models manage to stitch denim, they cannot stitch through the leather. Is it any surprise that we need exclusive heavy-duty sewing machines to work on leather?
But not just any heavy-duty model will do. If you want to make leather handbags, you will need a sturdy, durable, and reliable sewing machine with a powerful motor, a strong needle, extra presser feet height, and other such features. Only then you can create lovely leather handbags.
Investing in the right sewing machine is essential if you want to grow your business. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to stitch leather handbags for fun, right?
You’re at the right place to know more about such sewing machines. In this article, we are going to see the top 5 best sewing machines for leather handbags, followed by a detailed buying guide. From knowing about the features and benefits of the best sewing machines for leather to understand which factors to consider when making and decision, we’ve covered all that you will need to know.
Let’s begin having a look at the table with the best sewing machines for leather handbags.
Table of Contents
The Best Sewing Machine for Leather Handbags For The Money
#1 Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The first best sewing machine for leather handbags is HD3000, a heavy-duty model by Janome. The brand is famous for designing a variety of sewing machines for domestic and industrial use. This model is a combination of the best of two worlds. Not sure what we mean? HD3000 is considered as a hybrid model that has features of the domestic and industrial sewing machines for leather. That makes it a highly preferred model for home professionals. And since the company offers a 25-year limited warranty on the unit, we have very few reasons to say no to this one.
Features & Benefits
The sewing machine is neither heavy nor lightweight. It weighs 21 pounds and is not easily portable. But it is highly durable and sturdy. You can sew through thick leather without putting too much pressure on the motor and causing it to break down.
Also, we cannot complain about the appearance of this model. Many people feel that a sewing machine meant for heavy work doesn’t usually score much for its looks. But this model is a compact unit in white. The body frame is neat and has limited controls. The built-in stitch designs are printed at the top. The reverse stitch lever is at the side. A few controls are towards the top right corner.
There haven’t been any issues with the performance of this model. It can be used for regular sewing and for making leather handbags. It doesn’t do well with thin fabrics, but that’s not our concern here, right?
Winding the bobbin can be a bit annoying at times if the thread tension isn’t consistent. But that happens rarely. Compared to other models, winding the bobbin is easy on this model. Also, it has a built-in needle threader. And being a jam-proof model, you don’t have to worry about messing up the leather.
Ease of Use
This model is easy to use. Not all leather sewing machines are beginner-friendly. We did say it’s a hybrid model, didn’t we? Both beginners and professionals can use this sewing machine to create some cute and useful leather handbags.
The 18 built-in stitches are useful if you want to get creative with the stitch designs. It has one one-step buttonhole, adjustable stitch length and width, adjustable presser foot pressure, free arm, and a decent 860 SPM stitching speed. It also doesn’t make much noise. Wow, right? And did we say that the stitch quality is absolutely excellent?
#2 Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine - Best for Beginners
Two factors that Brother focuses on are price and ease of use. Most of the sewing machines by this brand are budget-friendly and can be used by beginners and professionals alike. ST371HD is one such sewing machine that can handle a heavy workload and deliver a good performance. It does have a few limitations, but if you are a home professional and work mostly with thin leather, this model is for you. Yeah, this is more of a domestic version. You get a 25-year limited warranty on the unit.
Features & Benefits
ST371HD doesn’t have much in terms of looks, though the white, grey, and black colors on the body frame give it a subtle, stylish effect. The outer frame is metallic and keeps the unit sturdy. However, the parts are mostly made of plastic, and the unit weighs less than 15 pounds. There is a tiny LCD screen for you to see the stitch design number.
Being a heavy-duty sewing machine, it can run continuously for a few hours. You can sew a leather handbag without too much effort. The company provides a set of heavyweight needles with this one. That’s cool, right? You don’t need to buy another set of needles immediately.
The sewing machine is decent in its performance, has an automatic needle threader that saves time, it has a jam-proof drop-in bobbin system, the feed dog is good, it comes with 37 built-in stitch designs listed on the side panel of the body frame, a free arm, 6 presser feet, and a bright LED light.
The features include stretch stitches, zipper insertion, blind hems, and buttonholes. Some professionals felt that the machine’s stitch quality slipped at times, especially when working on stretch leather. Considering the price, we say, it is not much of a problem.
Ease of Use
The sewing speed is 800 SPM, which can be adjusted through the pressure on the foot pedal. We mentioned in the introduction that beginners don’t usually start learning by sewing leather bags. But you want to, this model is the one for you.
The features and operations are simple enough for you to understand and learn. You can also take the unit to sewing classes. And if you have any trouble with the sewing machine, directly contact the customer care team. Brother is famous for the customer service it provides.
#3 SINGER 4423 Sewing Machine - Best Affordable Model
Singer is in no way lagging in designing affordable and user-friendly sewing machines. The 44 series by Singer has some worthy heavy-duty sewing machines. We have 4423 on our list, and this one undoubtedly handles thick leather with ease. This isn’t entirely an industrial model, but it sure is more than a domestic one. The company offers a 25-year limited warranty for the unit. The machine has its limitations, but it sure is worth the price. Users with a budget can choose this model for its durability, reliability, and quality.
Features & Benefits
If you like plain-looking sewing machines, you will like this model. There isn’t much to talk about its looks. The unit is mostly made of metal and is sturdy. It weighs less than 15 pounds but still holds well even when you are stitching at the highest speed.
There is no LCD screen to choose the built-in stitches. But there is a big knob with the 23 built-in stitches listed on it. You have to twist it one way and another to choose the stitch design you want. Easy, right?
Despite looking like a basic model, 4423 has everything you need to stitch on leather (thin and thick). The automatic needle threader makes it hassle free for the user to use the unit. The extra-high presser foot allows you to sew through multiple layers of thick leather. The unit also has an LED light to light up the work area.
The stitching speed is quite high at 1100 SPM. You can adjust it through the pressure on the foot pedal. Professionals who take up more projects find it convenient to sew at a faster rate. However, the machine does make a lot of noise.
Ease of Use
Even though a handful of newbies felt confused, 4423 is definitely a beginner-friendly model. The features are easy to use and smart enough to deliver great performance. You cannot complain about the stitch quality either.
This unit comes with a walking foot attachment, a free arm, and a buttonhole presser foot, among other accessories. It also has an even-feed presser. The feeding area seems to be causing problems at times, so keep an eye on it.
#4 Juki TL-2010Q Portable Sewing Machine - Best High-Speed Sewing Machine
The fourth sewing machine for leather bags on our list is a sturdy and heavy model from Juki. This brand is famous for designing some strong and powerful sewing machines. TL-2010 is one such model that is great for working on different types of leather. Another advantage is that it comes with an extension table if you are working on a large handbag. This sewing machine is also known as one of the best quilting machines. The company offers a 5-year limited warranty on the machine.
Features & Benefits
This model looks rather sophisticated in its design. But that doesn’t mean that it has too many operations to confuse you. With just one built-in stitch, there isn’t much to choose from. But yeah, the stitch quality is just wonderful. Users haven’t noticed a single skip or a jerk. It delivers the same high quality every single time.
You must be wondering about the term portable used by the brand. Well, we have to remind you that the unit weighs 37.8 pounds. It is by no means a lightweight or an easily portable unit. But compared to the high-end industrial heavy-duty sewing machines, this one is not as heavy.
The machine with an automatic needle threader, also has an automatic thread trimmer. The threader system is quite complex and can give you a headache until you understand how it works. The stitching speed is 1500 SPM, which can be adjusted and brought down to as low as 200 SPM. There is a small speed controller that allows you to change the stitching speed.
By adjusting the presser foot pressure, you can control the amount of pressure you put on the leather while sewing. It has a walking foot presser as one of the accessories. The presser foot height goes up to 12mm.
Ease of Use
The sewing machine’s user manual comes in three languages- English, French, and Spanish.
The model has an LED light, needle movement controller, free arm, feed dog adjustment control, knee lift lever, easy bobbin system, and a thread tension scale. It also has a preset needle-stop position for your convenience. This machine is more suitable for professionals.
#5 Sailrite Heavy-Duty Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Basic Walking Foot Sewing Machine - Best for Multiple Layers of Leather
This model by Sailrite is one of the top heavy-duty sewing machines that can stitch through 10 layers of canvas. You will love using this machine to make leather handbags. It is a walking foot sewing machine and is perfect for heavy work. It is the heaviest model on our list, though compared to other models in its range, this one is termed as a portable unit. The company offers only a 2-year limited warranty.
Features & Benefits
The sewing machine is almost entirely made of metal and steel. It has a wooden table as a base. The weight and the sturdiness of the unit make it super easy to work on thick leather. The machine won’t vibrate or move in the least.
The model is pretty much old-school. It was designed to deliver and last for a long time. And guess what, it requires only minimum maintenance. That’s awesome, isn’t it?
With such a powerful and reliable motor, it is natural that the machine would be a little expensive. That said, it is not beyond the budget either. The sewing machine is worth every penny you pay for it.
It comes with a power wheel that allows you to control the speed and power exerted by the unit when sewing through the leather. Then, there is a posi-pin clutching system that ensures that there is a 100% power transfer when the machine is running.
Ease of Use
We can’t say that this machine is suitable for beginners. Even though it has only a single straight stitch and very few features, this one needs an experienced had to unleash its full potential. The stitching speed is just 500 SPM, but hey, we haven’t seen any user grumbling about it.
The presser foot space is wide and high enough to sew through multiple layers of leather. The sewing machine doesn’t have an automatic needle threader. You have to do it yourself. That’s another reason beginners will not find it easy to work on this. The stitch length can be adjusted. It goes to a maximum of 6mm in length and 5mm in width.
Best Sewing Machine For Leather Handbags Buying Guide
Those were some robust models, weren’t they? We do need such machines to stitch through the leather to make professional style handbags. Before we dive head-long into the buying guide, let us take a look at different types of sewing machines for leather.
Types of Sewing Machines for Leather
A domestic leather sewing machine is not as powerful as an industrial model. But you can stitch thinner leather and make smaller leather bags, purses, etc., using these models. These sewing machines tend to be less costly compared to industrial models. However, you have to remember that sewing leather does reduce the lifespan of the sewing machine. That’s because these models are not exclusively designed to work on leather. Some of them are all-purpose sewing machines that can handle leather once in a while.
These sewing machines are built to withstand the pressure of sewing through thick leather, that too, multiple layers of it. The motors are powerful, allowing the machines to be as reliable as workhorses. The stitching speed may also be higher as professionals will need to deliver large projects on time. The sewing machines are made using quality metal and components. Some of these models also come with a walking foot. They weigh more than the domestic models and are expensive.
Factors to Consider when Buying the Best Sewing Machine for Leather Handbags
You can choose a domestic sewing machine for leather or an industrial one based on how frequently you will use it to sew leather bags and how complex your work is. Apart from the type, the following factors should also be considered when buying the best sewing machine for leather handbags.
A sewing machine that runs at 1500 stitches per minute is a wonderful asset. But what about controlling this speed? You don’t always need to sew that fast. Especially when you are working on handbags, you will need to go slow at the curves. A speed controller or a speed regulator will allow you to adjust the speed of the sewing machine. That said, an electromechanical model anyway comes with a foot pedal that acts as a speed regulator. The pressure applied to the foot pedal will determine the speed of the sewing machine.
Needles and Their Importance
You do not require to be an expert to figure out that sewing through leather will require a stronger needle, right? Most sewing machines tend to come with fragile needles. Even the best industrial models have disappointed us in this area. But hey, that’s hardly a problem. You can always buy a set of extra strong needles and keep them with you. In fact, we recommend you to invest in quality needles and use those rather than relying on the ones that come with the sewing machine.
Presser Feet and the Presser Feet Height
Walking foot is a special-purpose presser foot. Getting a good grip on the leather is important so that the material doesn’t slip or pucker. Once leather gets a wrinkle, it is almost impossible to get rid of it. A special-purpose presser foot prevents such things from happening.
Also, sewing machines designed to sew leather have extra high presser feet else you will not be able to place the material under the presser foot. The higher the foot can go, the easier it will be to sew through multiple layers of leather.
Sewing/ Work Area
Some sewing machines have a flatbed, while some models have a free arm. Many sewing machines come with a free-arm motion feature that is highly useful to sew cylindrical objects. This feature will come when making leather handbags.
There are essentially two types of motors for sewing machines- clutch and servo.
A clutch motor hums in the background as long as the machine is switched on. The sound increases when you start stitching. Also, these motors generate a lot of speed and are best suited for professionals. They do consume more electricity as well.
A servo motor is less noisy and produces sound only when you are using it. You can easily adjust the stitching speed. And the motor doesn’t consume as much electricity as the clutch motors. If you are going to use a sewing machine for leather at home, you might want to choose a model with a servo motor, keeping in mind the amount you have to pay for the power bill.
As we mentioned above, a sewing machine with a servo motor makes less sound. Home professionals can invest in these models. Users with medium to large-scale projects will probably have to get used to the sewing machine humming in the background and buy a model with the clutch motor.
Warranty ultimately depends on the company/ brand of the sewing machine. While Singer offers a 25-year limited warranty on all its sewing machines, other brands provide varying warranty periods. Some are for 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years. However, the full warranty period is limited to a few months. It is better to choose a brand you trust and the one that has a service center near your region.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Choosing a sewing machine for leather handbags is not easy, right? If you are still undecided, we would recommend investing in the Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine, a hybrid model that offers the best of both industrial and domestic variants.
Be it the built-in stitches, the stitching speed, the presser feet, bobbin system, or the ease of use, this model has many benefits and very minor disadvantages.
We have already seen the features and benefits in detail, didn’t we? Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine is totally worth the price.