Sewing Machines

Have you ever tried sewing with leather on standard personal sewing machines? It can definitely be challenging; however, don't let such a challenge keep you from using leather or faux leather in your projects. Follow the helpful tips below and you will be able to easily sew leather on your personal Janome sewing machine such as the Janome 7318.

Cutting and Marking Leather

When cutting leather to be sewn on sewing machines, the first thing you must do is lay out pattern pieces. Do not use pins with leather as they will leave a permanent hole that may be visible. Instead, use loops of masking tape to keep pattern pieces in place.

Stick the pieces onto the finished side of the leather, then carefully cut them out using a sharp rotary cutter or a hobby knife. Mark the leather with wax chalk and cut any notches into your seam allowance. Cut pieces out with a larger seam allowance, about ½-inch.

Set Up The Sewing Machine

Leather is thick, slippery, and hard to stitch, so you must make a few setup changes to your Janome 7318 machine as follows:

  • Presser Foot - To keep leather from sticking under the presser foot, remove the universal foot and replace it with a smooth Teflon foot. Teflon will not impede the leather; it allows it to slide easily underneath. A roller presser foot can also be used.
  • Thread - Avoid using standard cotton thread when working with real leather since the tanning chemicals in the leather can cause it to decompose. Instead, work with a heavy duty, 100% polyester thread that is more durable and resistant to tanning chemicals.
  • Needle - Replace a universal machine needle with a specific leather needle in a size that corresponds with thread and leather thickness. Leather needles have a sharp chisel point that cuts the top of the leather so the needle can pass through without breaking.
  • Stitch Length - Since leather is thicker than many fabrics, it is important to lengthen the stitch setting. Thinner leather can be sewn with a stitch setting of 2. Thicker leather should be sewn on a Janome sewing machine set to 3 or higher. The thread must pass through the entire thickness; fewer, longer stitches are actually more secure. Shorter and closer stitches should be avoided; they act as a perforation that causes the leather to tear.

Stitching The Leather

Before getting started on your actual project, test your machine settings with a sample of the leather you will be using. Once your machine is adjusted properly, you can begin work. Always leave long starting and ending thread tails since it is better to tie off your seam ends by hand. Slowly stitch along the seam line from beginning to end without pushing the leather, which may cause skipped stitches.

If you find skipped stitches afterward, fill them in by hand with a needle and thread. Do not stitch over the area again since every stitch makes another visible hole in the leather. When you are finished, spread open the seam and carefully flatten it by covering the leather with brown craft paper or a cloth. Then gently iron or lightly pound it with a soft mallet.

Like other specialty fabrics, leather can be harder to work and stitch on when using your Janome or other sewing machine and requires special handling. Fortunately, getting great results with both leather and faux leather on sewing machines like the Janome 7318 is easy if you prepare your machine the right way. Use the essential tips above and your leather items will look as if they were made in the factory!

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