Sewing leather requires different techniques and a heavier push through the material than sewing fabric, even heavy fabric. Leather is a skin, whereas fabric is a weave or knit and allows for a needle to go through or between threads easily. Different machines are available for sewing leather.
Standard Industrial Machine
A standard industrial machine can be used to sew leather. Many manufacturing companies use it, especially if the leather is soft and the seams do not require a great deal of maneuvering. A walking foot, which won't scrape the leather, is a good addition to any industrial machine.
Cylinder-bed industrial machines are used for sewing purses, tack, saddles and projects where you have to get into tight spots. Instead of having a flat table, a free standing cylindrical arm is used to allow the piece to hang below the foot and needle.
Antique Crank Machines
Shoe repair shops still use these machines. Antique crank machines are run by hand, using a crank on the fly wheel. They also have a free standing cylinder instead of a table. They are good for slow, detailed work where you want to be able to move the piece around a lot and have to get into tight areas.
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