Can You Sew Suede On A Regular Sewing Machine

Whether it’s a biker jacket, luxe velvet gown or the newest fashion trend seen on the runways, suede is everywhere. Sewing with suede can seem daunting, but many machine users are curious to know whether they can sew suede on a regular sewing machine.

Suede is a unique fabric; it has a unique texture and feel when you touch it. This texture gives leather and suede garments their unique characteristic. It’s soft, pliable and supple,at the same time it’s also temperamental, delicate and unforgiving.

Janice Napier, a fashion designer in Toronto Canada remarks that sewing suede can be a bit tricky, since it sometimes behaves in an unpredictable fashion. The softer the suede, the more difficult it is to sew. It may require special thread, a modified needle, and a special presser foot. She explains that the presser foot needs to be wide so it can handle the thickness of the fabric. Regular presser feet may leave behind indentations, she adds.

When you sew suede, you need to use a 100/16 topstitching needle. To avoid perforations in the leather, use a walking foot as this will move the feed dogs as well as the material. You must also make sure your presser foot is level and follow the grain of the material. If the suede is to be used for an item of clothing such as a jacket, it is always best to use a pattern. It is also important to test the sewing machine on a swatch of fabric first to ensure a good outcome.

Normal notions, such as pins, can damage suede so it can be helpful to use small curved binder clips as they will hold the fabric together while keeping any perforations to a minimum. When sewing on a regular sewing machine, it may be best to turn the tension on the machine all the way down. This will help to reduce the indentations from the needle when it goes through the material.For best results, always use the longest stitch length available.

Felicia Robinson, a custom costume designer in Beverly Hills California, recommends investing in a walking foot as it will hold the fabric as it goes through the machine and will prevent any slippage from happening.She suggests using a backing material such as fusible interfacing or cotton jersey fabric. This is to add strength and structure, as well as to prevent the fibers from the fabric being pulled and shredded.

Finally, it is always a good idea to use a high-quality thread, avoiding any cotton or rayon-based threads. Also, look for special suede needles, as they have a special blade that won’t damage your fabric.

Selecting the Right Thread

When it comes to selecting the right thread for your project, it’s important to consider the weight or thickness of the thread. For suede, a 40 or 50 weight thread is best. Threads that are too heavy will cause punctures in the fabric, whereas a light-weight thread will be too weak and will snap easily when under stress. In addition, for optimum results, use a thread colour that either matches or contrasts the colour of the suede. This will help to reduce the number of visible thread tracks on the fabric.

When working with suede, it is important to remember to use the material in a dry and dust-free area, as moisture and dust can draw out the oils in the material, which can cause it to become brittle. It is also best to vaccum and/or steam the material before starting a project to ensure it is ready for sewing.

Thread manufacturers often offer advanced threads specifically designed for sewing suede, velvet, and leather. These specialty threads offer seams that will hold up to the rough handling experienced with these types of fabrics. They come in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes, which can make it difficult to choose the right one. Consider the type of design you are working on, the weight and thickness of the fabrics, as well as the colour of the thread, to help you select the right thread for your project.

Double Needle Option

For a cleaner finish, consider using a double needle when sewing suede on a regular sewing machine. To do this, insert the two needles into the two slots of the needle plate, spacing them at least 3.2mm apart. To minimize perforations in the suede, use a walking foot. This foot is designed to move simultaneously in two directions, allowing it to keep up with the two needles.

If you’re using two different colors of thread for the project, use two spools of thread, one for each needle. Keep in mind that using two needles will add some extra stress to the sewing machine, so you may need to be careful when selecting the thread, needles, and the presser foot. Also, make sure to adjust the stitch length and tension of the machine to get a good result.

Finishing Techniques

Once you finish sewing your suede project, you may want to consider adding a few finishing touches. Here are some methods you can use to give your projects a polished and professional look.

If your project has seams, you may want to consider overcasting them. This is an essential finishing technique for sections of the project that may come in contact with moisture, such as the cuffs, hem, or lining. An overcast stitch prevents the fabric from fraying and provides extra strength and durability.

You can also use a glue stick to close up any seams. This will help to keep the edges in place and prevent any loose threads from coming through. Once the glue is dry, you can use a flexible steel ruler to press the seams flat.

Edge Binding is another technique you can use on your project. Edge binding can be used to cover up raw edges and provide extra protection for the fabric. This technique is particularly useful for projects such as tote bags and jackets. Edge binding can be done by hand or on a sewing machine, but it can be tricky. If you’re not confident, it’s always best to practice on a spare piece of suede first.

Types of Needles

When sewing suede on a regular sewing machine, you need to use a specialty needle, such as a Leather Needle. As its name suggests, these needles have a special blade that won’t damage your fabric. They come in a range of sizes and lengths, so be sure to select the right one for your project.

Or you can use a topstitching needle.These needles have slightly larger eyes, which makes it easier to thread heavier threads such as embroidery thread or waxed cotton. They also have slightly longer shafts, which helps ensure that the thread is securely looped over the end of the needle.

Universal needles are good to use on suede if you’re not looking for a high-end finish. These needles are designed to work on all types of fabric, from lightweight silk to heavyweight denim. They come in a variety of sizes and lengths, so you should be able to find the right needle for your project.

Providing Protection

When using a machine to sew on suede, it’s essential to use a protective material for the underside of the fabric. This will help protect the fabric from any damage that may be caused by the needle and the fabric from being stretched or distorted.

One of the most common protective materials used when sewing suede is cotton jersey. This fabric is light but strong, and it helps to prevent fraying and puckering. It can be used as an underlay or a backing, or as a layer between two pieces of suede. This will help to ensure that your project has a professional-looking finish.

Fusible interfacing can also be used as a protective material when sewing suede. This is a type of interfacing that is ironed onto the wrong side of the fabric. It will help to keep the fabric stable and prevent it from distorting while you’re working. It is important to remember that it can be difficult to remove, so be sure to use it sparingly.

Using a Serger

A serger is a type of sewing machine that is used for finishing seams. It is also used for creating rolled hems, for seaming and for other decorative techniques.

When using a serger for sewing on suede, one of the most important things to remember is to use a proper needle. Serger needles are specifically designed to cut through heavy fabrics without damaging them, which makes them the ideal needle to use on suede.

Keep in mind that since sergers use a different type of stitch than regular sewing machines, the tension of the machine needs to be adjusted accordingly. Be sure to test the machine on a swatch of fabric before starting a project. Another thing to remember is that sergers do not have a presser foot, so you’ll need to use your fingers to position and secure the fabric while sewing.

Using an Industrial Sewing Machine

Industrial sewing machines are designed to sew heavier and thicker materials than regular sewing machines. These machines are more powerful and have larger capacity, which makes them ideal for sewing suede.

When using an industrial sewing machine, it is important to use industrial needles. These needles are made from high-grade steel and are built to withstand the extra tension and strain of heavy fabrics. It is also important to use the appropriate presser foot and adjust the tension, stitch length, and needle depth to get the best results.

To prevent puckering, use a walking foot and choose a stitch length of 3mm or more. Also, remember to use a backing material to provide extra strength and stability to the fabric.

Working With a Leathercraft Artist

For complex or intricate designs, you may want to consider working with a leathercraft artist. A professional artist can recreate your design and create a one-of-a-kind piece that is made to last.

When working with a professional, it is important to provide clear specifications for the project. Include information about the type of fabric, any drawings or sketches of the design, and any other details that you think might be important. Be sure to discuss any concerns or questions you have before beginning the project.

Leathercraft artists have the experience and skill to create something special, but it will cost you. Be prepared to pay a premium for their services, and expect to pay a deposit up front. In return, you should receive a high-quality, handmade piece that is designed to last.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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