Best Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics, a sewing tutorial featured by top US sewing blog, The Sewing Korner

Looking for a sewing machine that can handle heavy fabrics such as leather and denim doesn’t have to be difficult.

In fact, today there are more sewing machines for heavy fabrics than ever before, so all you have to do is know where to look for them. The best sewing machine naturally has to be sturdy and heavy-duty, but it requires much more than that.

Before we get into the details about some great sewing machines that can handle tough-to-sew fabric, let’s first take a look at what you should look for when you’re shopping for one of these machines.

Best Sewing Machine for Heavy Fabrics feeatured by top US sewing blogger, The Sewing Korner
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    Overall Construction

    First of all, never buy a lightweight or compact sewing machine when you’ll be working with thick fabrics. Your machine has to be made out of heavy-duty metal to do the job right. The machine has to be durable, and more often than not, a lightweight sewing machine just won’t have the stability and strength it needs to work with fabrics such as denim, leather, and others.

    Reverse Stitching

    Making sure your sewing machine has the reverse stitching feature is crucial when you’re going to be working with thick fabrics. Why? Because thick fabrics often require reinforcement of the stitches, and reverse stitching makes that possible. When you reinforce the stitches with this reverse feature, it makes those stitches much stronger and more durable.

    Automatic Needle Threader

    Sewing machines with an automatic needle threader are much easier on your eyes, and this is important regardless of the fabric you’re using. Easy threading of the needle also saves you a lot of time, so you’ll be working on that sewing project before you know it.

    The Right Presser Feet

    Most sewing machines come with numerous presser feet, and the one you’ll want for heavy fabrics is a roller snap-on foot, which is usually included with the machine. You should use this foot for any type of heavy fabric you intend to work with because it simply makes the entire process much easier and reduces the chance that things will go awry.

    Built-in Stitches

    When your sewing machine offers all types of built-in stitches, it’s easy to find stitches that make it much easier to work with heavy fabric. This is because certain stitch patterns are just easier to make sewing on heavy fabric a breeze. You can play around with the stitches and decide which ones are best for your specific projects.

    Speed Control

    This is a very important feature because when you’re sewing on heavy fabrics, you sometimes have to operate at a slow speed. A good speed control feature allows you to go slow for heavy fabrics, faster for lighter fabrics, and everything in between. But a slow speed is definitely a feature you’ll want to search for when looking for the best sewing machine for heavy fabrics.

    LED Light

    When you’re working with thick fabrics, you need a good LED light bulb that helps you focus on your working space. The right light also helps you view all of the available stitches without unnecessary eye strain. Just like the other features mentioned above, a good light is simply a must when working with all types of thick fabrics.

    Convertible Arm

    A convertible arm is a must when working with thick fabric because you often have to turn the fabric in some awkward positions whenever you’re working with something such as leather or denim. Even fabrics that are difficult to work with are a lot easier to maneuver with a free or convertible arm feature. Never buy a sewing machine without this feature.

    The Best Sewing Machines for Heavy Fabrics

    Fabrics such as denim and leather can be a challenge to sew with, but if you find the right sewing machine, the task is a lot easier on you. Below are five of the best machines to use when working with thick fabrics that you may want to consider for your own sewing needs.

    Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine

    This computerized sewing machine is super easy to use and is often considered the best sewing machine for heavy fabrics of all types. It is user-friendly and comes with features such as 37 built-in stitches, an automatic needle threader, a drop-in top bobbin, a free arm, and it can execute up to 800 stitches a minute. You get regular stitches, heirloom stitches, decorative stitches, and a buttonhole stitch, making it one of the most versatile sewing machines on the market today.

    The digital screen always shows you which stitch you’re working with, and it is super easy to switch from one design to another. The machine also comes with several presser feet so that sewing with any type of fabric is a breeze. Brother has a great reputation for making high-quality sewing machines, and this one is no different. It is sturdy and well-built, and it makes sewing with denim, leather, or any other type of fabric much easier in every way.


    • Very affordable machine.
    • Low-maintenance machine because of its sturdiness.
    • Can work on any type of fabric, including thick ones.
    • Accommodates up to 800 stitches per minute.


    • Some think the light isn’t bright enough.
    • Some claim the needle “slipped” and didn’t line up right.
    • Some claim it broke shortly after purchasing it.

    Janome HD3000 Sewing Machine

    With a presser foot that holds the fabric firmly in place as you work, this heavy-duty sewing machine can be entrusted with all types of thick and heavy fabrics. You can even sew multiple layers of these fabrics with no worries, and its available stitches include a regular stitch, zipper stitch, zigzag stitch, a buttonhole stitch, and many others. The machine is also made out of heavy-duty metal and is therefore built to last, which means you won’t be buying a new sewing machine anytime soon.

    Some of its most-important features include an automatic needle threader that allows you to thread the needle in seconds, not minutes; a reverse stitching feature that enables you to strengthen all of your stitches the easy way; a super-easy way to switch from one stitch type to another; a 5-piece feed dog set that helps make moving the fabric as you sew a lot easier, ensuring a very smooth process; and an automatic bobbin winder that fills the thread in the bobbin then automatically stops when it’s full.


    • Offers several stitch types for convenience.
    • Makes switching from one stitch type to another simple and fast.
    • The ability to sew even multiple layers of fabric at a time.
    • Comes with a 5-piece feed dog set to accommodate all types of fabric.


    • Some claim the bobbins get “messy” while you’re working with them.
    • Some say it didn’t work on leather fabric.
    • A little on the heavy side.

    Brother PQ1500SL Sewing and Quilting Machine

    The Brother PQ1500SL sewing and quilting machine is computerized and designed for perfection. It contains multiple stitches and is super fast, which means your projects can be completed in much less time. Each stitch this machine offers is durable and strong, and best of all, you can sew up to 1,500 stitches per minute. Whether you want a basic stitch or a super-fancy and elegant stitch, you can find it on this machine without looking too hard for it.

    The automatic thread cutter has the ability to automatically trim any extra thread, and the knee-lifter feature alters the tension when needed so that you don’t have to stop as often as you’re sewing. The automatic needle threader is user-friendly and super fast, and it even comes with a wide extendable table for those times when you’re working with larger pieces of fabric. The drop feed dog system allows for smooth movement when you’re quilting with different fabrics, and the LED light makes it easy to see everything you’re doing.


    • Sews up to 1,500 stitches per minute.
    • Automatic needle threader properly threads the needle in seconds.
    • Has a wide extendable table for larger pieces of fabric.
    • Comes with numerous presser feet so that each project is more personalized.


    • Some claim the bobbin is difficult to get out of the winder.
    • Some have had problems adjusting the tension.
    • Can be considered pricey by some at more than $700.

    Singer HD 4452 Sewing Machine

    The Singer HD 4452 is a computerized sewing machine that does especially well on heavy fabrics such as leather and denim. It comes with 32 built-in stitches, which includes 18 decorative stitches, 6 basic stitches, 7 stretch stitches, and 1 buttonhole stitch. The automatic needle threader threads the needle quickly with little effort on your part, and at just under $200, it is a very affordable machine that you can purchase without breaking the bank.

    Made out of heavy-duty metal, this is a sewing machine that is built to last and it can even sew up to 1,100 stitches per minute, which is very impressive. The bobbin is set inside of a glass chamber and won’t jam while you’re trying to wind it, and the reverse stitching feature is available at the press of a button. It is also easy to set up and easy to use, so whether you’re a beginner or a master sewer, you can use this sewing machine with ease and enjoy success with your latest sewing project every time.


    • Comes with a total of 32 built-in stitches.
    • Made out of heavy-duty metal to last a long time.
    • Can sew up to 1,100 stitches per minute.
    • Reverse stitch feature is available simply by pressing a button.


    • Some claim the needle breaks when you operate the machine at high speeds.
    • The tension on the thread is not adjustable.
    • Some claim it broke shortly after purchase.

    Singer 7258 Computerized Sewing Machine

    When you’re looking for the best sewing machine for heavy fabrics, a computerized machine is a smart one to look for. This Singer sewing machine is versatile and consistent, making it one of the premier sewing machines on the market when you regularly work with thick fabrics. You get a total of 100 built-in stitches, including 76 decorative stitches, and the automatic needle threader means there is no more fussing with the needle because it can be threaded in seconds, not minutes.

    In addition to these features, the bobbin is a drop-in bobbin located on the top of the machine, and the glass see-through case makes it easy to keep an eye on it as you work with it. The LED light focuses on just the right spot so that your project is a lot simpler, and you even get a total of seven buttonhole stitches for those fancy projects that so many sewers love. It even has a programmable needle with an up/down position that can be personalized to meet your needs.


    • Comes with 100 built-in stitches, 76 of which are decorative.
    • Easy to set up and easy to use.
    • Very affordable at just a little over $200.
    • Reverse stitching feature to strengthen all of your stitches.


    • The pedal is made of plastic, which some people don’t like.
    • A hard case does not come with the machine.
    • Some claim it stopped working shortly after purchase.

    What’s Next?

    Now that you’ve learned some of the features that are considered important when you’re searching for a great sewing machine for heavy fabrics, it should be a little easier to find the one that’s right for you. Looking for these features is easy because you can research most of these sewing machines online, and in addition to the various features of each machine, you also have to consider your budget.

    Fortunately, sewing machines made for working with heavy fabrics come in all price ranges, so whether your budget accommodates a $200 machine or the sky’s the limit, you can easily find the machine that will best suit your needs. Sewing machines that work on heavy fabrics are true miracle-workers, and if you regularly work on denim, leather, or any other thick fabric, you definitely need one of these machines.