It is an undeniable fact that leather garments are the most fashionable and durable clothes you can get in the market today. It is no wonder that these go for such high prices. Yet, the making of such leather and canvas garments is not all fun and games as most people think.
Leather and canvas are some of the toughest and most difficult materials that can be sewn. Due to their stubbornness and thick material, leather and canvas require special machines for sewing.
This article discusses the best sewing machine for canvas and leather that you would do well to consider buying. It also looks into the frequently asked questions and basics of sewing canvas and leather. Read on!
What type of Sewing Machine is Best for Canvas and Leather?
Unlike fabric materials, leather cannot be woven and tends to be thick. Therefore, working with leather requires you to have the right tools. It is not just any sewing machine that will work with canvas and leather. These materials require special types of sewing machines.
Some people indeed choose to sew these materials using regular home sewing machines, or even by hand. However, if you wish to create highly durable leather and canvas products, like a pro, you will need to use a sewing machine for canvas and leather. Such sewing machines make sewing such materials much easier and fun, as compared to sewing by hand.
Best sewing machine for heavy fabrics such as canvas and leather are those that provide maximum sturdiness and stability to handle such thick materials. Leather and canvas vary in weight, thickness, density, texture, and composition. This variation leads to the disparity in the type of sewing machine required.
For instance, while some leather sewing machines may be able to sew different leathers of garment weight, these may not be able to sew belts and saddlebags. Therefore, when choosing the type of sewing machine that will be best for you, you need to first consider your needs.
Review of Best Sewing Machine for Canvas and Leather
The following are 8 of the best heavy duty sewing machine for canvas and leather that you should consider purchasing;
1. SINGER Heavy Duty 4432 Sewing Machine – Best Choice.
- HEAVY DUTY METAL FRAME: Adds stability and provides long lasting durability
- SEWING MACHINE ACCESSORIES: A variety of accessories are included: all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, button sewing foot, seam ripper/lint brush, edge/quilting guide, needles, bobbins,...
- REVERSE STITCH SEWING MACHINE: The SINGER 4432 heavy duty sewing machine has a built-in reverse lever so you can sew in reverse and reinforce stitches
- Limited 90-DAY for Adjustments, Belts, Rings, Bulbs, Attachments; Limited 2-Year for Motors, Light assembly, Wiring, Switches, Speed control and Electronic Components; Limited 25-Year for Sewing...
- Included Components: Includes: All-Purpose, Zipper, Buttonhole, & Button Sewing Feet, Seam Ripper/Lint Brush, Quilting Guide, Needles, Bobbins, Screwdriver, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Spool Pin Felt,...
SINGER company is very popular for its production of different sewing machines for all types of fabrics. The main question, however, is; just which Singer sewing machine can sew leather? SINGER heavy-duty 4432 machine is built with a very sturdy and powerful design, which makes it an ideal SINGER machine for sewing leather. The machine package comes with a zipper, a seam ripper, several needles, a buttonhole, a power cord, and a foot controller.
2. JUKI DNU-1541 Industrial Walking Foot Sewing Machine.
JUKI DNU-1541 is manufactured by the JUKI company, Japan. It is a single-needle type of sewing machine that sews leather and includes a walking foot. The machine usually comes as a single complete unit, consisting of a table, motor, machine head, drawer, sewing light and stand. JUKI DNU-1541 can be used to sew leather bags, canvas garments, and other heavyweight fabrics.
3. Consew CP206RL Portable Walking Foot Sewing Machine.
The Consew CP206RL is an ideal sewing machine for both light and heavyweight materials. For instance, it can be used to sew shoes, faux, and fur. Some fabric materials that can be sewn using the Consew CP206RL walking foot machine include; vinyl, canvas, upholstery, leather, synthetics, and other coated or laminated products. This machine can be used for making stitched products, such as covers, leather bags, sporting and camping equipment, among many other heavy-duty products.
4. REX 607Z Portable Walking-Foot/Zigzag.
This particular sewing machine is mainly designed for boat owners, those with small businesses, and those who are serious hobbyists. It is an economical portable sewing machine, which makes it easy to carry and move around for a different sewing experience, even outdoors. The REX 607Z sewing machine is designed in such a way that it can sew both straight stitches and zigzag stitches. The fact that this machine can sew straight stitches is what makes it an ideal sewing machine for canvas work. Zigzag stitches are used for making sails.
5. Consew 206RB-5 Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine.
The Consew 206RB-5 walking foot machine is one of the most reliable industrial sewing machines you can find in the market. It is designed with a compound/triple feed, namely; the Drop feed, Alternating walking feet feed, and the Needle feed. The sewing machine provides a maximum stitch length of 10 mm. It is an ideal sewing machine for marine, upholstery, leather, and canvas work.
6. Yaetek 110V Industrial Portable Sewing Machine.
The Yaetek machine is another ideal industrial sewing machine for canvas and leather. It has a high rotating speed of 18000-22000 rotations per minute. This makes it a very time-saving sewing machine when it comes to sewing projects. The high power and sturdiness of the Yaetek sewing machine make it the best sewing machine for faux and fur. It provides a maximum stitch thickness of 4 mm.
7. ECO-WORTHY Hand Cobbler Sewing Machine for Leather Work.
This is an upgraded leather sewing machine. The ECO-WORTHY heavy duty hand held sewing machine for canvas is designed with more protected form, as well as a new thickened carton. This design gives the sewing machine more thickened shockproof. Also, being an upgraded industrial handheld sewing machine, this machine registers fewer damages; it is close to impossible to receive a damaged or defected ECO-WORTHY sewing machine. It is mainly used as a sewing machine for leather bags, leather shoes, cloth shoes, raincoats, rubber shoes, and other leather garments.
8. FISTERS Hand Machine Cobbler Shoe Repair Sewing Machine.
The FISTERS hand machine cobbler is specifically a shoe sewing machine. It can be used for sewing and mending different kinds of shoes, for instance, leather shoes, high heels, trousers, leather bags, raincoats, and other heavy fabrics garments. The machine makes use of the standard sewing needles.
Canvas and Leather Sewing Machine Buying Guide
Before you can purchase any of the sewing machines for leather, you need to consider 3 major factors. These are;
1.) Speed and Power
When working with leather and canvas materials, power should be your very first concern. Sewing machines with great speeds are preferable, but not a necessity. As your budget allows, ensure that you always purchase the most powerful sewing machines. Power is a very important consideration, as it can make a huge difference between your suffering or having fun when sewing canvas and leather.
2.) Your Desires and Skills
Are you a beginner in sewing canvas, leather, denim, and such-like materials? If so, it is recommended that you choose a user-friendly sewing machine that utilizes a decent amount of power. You should also know what types of sewing projects you will be undertaking most of the time. Simply put, get yourself a sewing machine that matches your level of expertise and suits your desires.
Most of the part of sewing leather and canvas, you will be required to have a zigzag and straight stitch. However, the best sewing machine for leather and denim are those that provide more stitch patterns. The more the stitch patterns, the more creative you can get.
Features to Consider When Choosing a Machine for Sewing Leather and Canvas
Still, just because a particular machine has been classified as a leather/canvas sewing machine does not mean that it will sew leather and canvas perfectly. There are other several specifications that the best industrial sewing machine for canvas and leather should also meet. These specifications could be either essential or simply as per your preferences.
Following are the most important features you should look at;
1.) Sturdiness and Stability
The best sewing machine for canvas and leather should be able to handle these tough materials. Heavy-duty sewing machines with a sturdy metal construction are highly recommended. Such a durable construction ensures that the sewing machine remains stable, even when several tough layers of canvas and leather are being sewn.
2.) Metal Needle Plate
Most of the ideal sewing machines for canvas and leather feature a metal needle plate. This accessory is very important, as it is what ensures that the leather and canvas materials are fed smoothly through the machine. Therefore, ensure that the sewing machine that you buy includes a metal needle plate.
Although leather and canvas are heavy-duty materials, this does not mean that you have to sew slow. While some machines sew these leather and denim at a slow pace, some work at a faster pace. The best leather sewing machine that you can get are those capable of achieving speeds that exceed 800 stitches for every minute.
4.) The Feed Dog System
The feed dog system of a sewing machine functions alongside the presser foot. Its main function is to feed heavy-duty materials smoothly through the sewing machine, such that these do not snag, bunch, or pull. The top-ranked leather sewing machines have up to 3-point feed dog systems.
Canvas and Leather Sewing Machine Accessories
Canvas and leather sewing machines are very important, as they help to make the sewing project easier. The following are 5 of the most used accessories in the sewing of leather and denim products;
Scissors are used for cutting fabric and threads into smaller pieces. Canvas and learner materials are usually tough, which makes them quite challenging to cut and handle. Therefore, ensure that the scissors in your workshop are always kept sharp, as these tend to become blunt after continuous use. Also, remember to keep your pairs of scissors away after use, for safety purposes.
Chalks are ideal accessories for putting marks on the fabric. The main advantage of using chalk as a ‘painter’ is that; it can be easily removed by brushing it gently with another fabric. Alternatively, you could use pencil crayons in place of the chalk. These can be easily removed by washing the canvas and leather fabrics.
Your canvas and leather accessory tray should be filled with plenty of pins. Pins are a must-have item when sewing, as they help to keep everything in order and place. These accessories are also used to maintain the pattern on the top of the leather and canvas material so that the result comes out perfect. Some of the most commonly used pins in sewing of canvas and leather are ballpoint pins and silk pins.
d.) Measuring Tape
When choosing a measuring tape for your sewing machine, ensure that you go for the one that has both a metric measurement marking (centimeters and millimeters) and an imperial marking (inches). Using a measuring tape that has both of these measurement markings will make it easier for you to sew all types of canvas and leather patterns.
e.) Spool Hungers
These are small rubbery items made using either plastic or silicone. Spool hungers are usually mounted on thread spools, to help in keeping track of the thread being used for sewing canvas and leather. These essential accessories not only keep the thread tails controlled throughout the sewing process but also ensure that the spools do not unwind.
How to Sew Canvas and Leather
Before you can start sewing leather and canvas products, you first need to gather together all the tools that you will require. The following are the tools that you will need to keep in close proximity for this project;
- 2 sewing needles
- A waxed thread
- Nails and a hammer
- Sewing awl and ice pick
- Small clamps, or several binder clips
- A fork
- A pen (however optional)
Sewing leather and canvas involves 4 major steps, as described below;
Step 1: Prepare the Leather
This is one of the most challenging parts of sewing leather and canvas. The two parts of leather or canvas, that are to be sewn together, should be kept from slipping. Otherwise, this could lead to stitching that is not straight. To prepare the fabrics in a good way, first, align the outside smooth edges with the inner rough sides. Then, use binder clips or nails to keep these pieces from slipping.
Step 2: Set the Spacing
When sewing canvas and leather, you will need to create an even spacing that you can work from. Although not straight, a fork can get this job done pretty well. The main purpose of setting spacing is to create a guide, such as on what spacing is needed, as well as where the holes will be put.
To set the spacing, overlap the very last impression. Then, using a pen, mark only 3 new marks every time you do so.
Step 3: Create Holes
Holes on canvas and leather materials can be punctured using a sewing awl, or even with an ice pick. Sewing awls are the most recommended tools for creating holes, as they create more long-lasting repairs.
To create holes in leather, pierce the material following the pattern made by the fork. If the canvas or leather materials are too thick, you may need to puncture them from both sides. When that’s the case, pierce far enough, such that you can see the place where the hole would pierce through from the other side.
Step 4: Sewing
Before you can start sewing, first prepare the thread. Cut a minimum of 3.5 times the total distance of the intended sewing length. If the thread is not waxed, you can wax it yourself using candle wax or beeswax.
Then, attach this thread to its appropriate place in the sewing machine, and the machine will do the rest of the stitching work for you!
What Are the Basics of Leather and Canvas Stitching?
For leather and canvas stitching, you will require the following basic tools;
- Waxed thread
- A divider or ruler
- 2 or more needles
- An awl
Most of the leather and canvas stitching is done using 2 needles, a process known as the cross lope method. On each end of the string, attach a needle. Then, using a needle on one end of the thread, push it through the first hole. Even out the thread, such that the thread distance from the needle is equal at both ends of the leather or canvas material.
Using the needle on the other end of the thread, pass it through the same hole. Repeat this process for all holes, such that you sew figure eights through these holes.
For the last holes, sew through these twice to lock the stitches. Then, for a more complete and durable product, go through a few of the final holes in the similar figure eights pattern.
As you go through these final holes, you might find it more challenging to get the needle through. After all, these are small holes already filled with thread. After stitching the material back twice, pull on the thread tightly, then trim the extra thread. You have now successfully completed your stitching!
Do I Need a Special Sewing Machine for Leather?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about sewing leather and canvas. The answer is; ‘No, you do not need a special sewing machine for leather. Leather can be sewn even on home sewing machines of good quality. However, if you decide to use a home sewing machine for sewing leather, then you will need to make some simple modifications to ensure that your machine supports leather and canvas fabrics.
What Kind of Sewing Machine Do I Need to Sew Canvas?
Some people opt for using a home sewing machine for leather and canvas work. However, the most recommended sewing machines are the straight stitch machines that feature a walking foot. These sewing machines are usually less complicated, generate more power, and are easy to maintain. They are, therefore, the most ideal sewing machines for sewing the thick and heavier fabric of canvas.
Can I Sew Canvas with a Regular Sewing Machine?
Yes, you can sew canvas using a regular sewing machine. However, use a regular sewing machine if you only sew occasionally. On the other hand, if you sew canvas regularly, you would do well to go for an industrial heavy-duty sewing machine that has a sturdy metal interior.
What Thread Should I Use to Sew Canvas?
When sewing canvas, use a heavy-duty thread of cotton, polyester, or cotton-wrapped polyester material. Alternatively, you can sew using upholstery or wool threads. These thread materials are usually very strong, hence most ideal for sewing the tough canvas material.
What are the Prices of Best Leather and Canvas Sewing Machines?
The best sewing machine for canvas and leather are available at a different range of products. The price is usually dependent on the simplicity or complexity of the machines, as well as the included features.
The average price for the best leather and canvas sewing machines is approximately $500. Machines that fall under this price range are characterized by a high footer and an average amount of features. Those leather sewing machines that are at the top-most ranks can go for up to $1,500.
Indeed, the good appearance and quality of leather/canvas cannot be debated. Canvas and leather products don’t just look good; they also feel good. However, these high-quality products do not simply come about from nowhere. Using just any machine to sew these tough materials won’t create their beautiful appearance.
Therefore, when it comes to sewing canvas and leather, the smartest choice that a person could make would be to get a high-quality sewing machine. So, purchase one of the 8 above recommended best sewing machine for canvas and leather. By doing so, you will not only be saving yourself a lot of sewing time but also ensuring that your leather and canvas projects always come out neat and durable.