Skip to Content

Best Saddle Stitch Machines for Leatherworking

Best Saddle Stitch Machines for Leatherworking

Have you gotten in the business of bookbinding, magazine printing, or leatherworking? Maybe you want to learn how to saddle stitch leather for fun? Saddle stitching can be done by hand, but many of us prefer the simplicity and precision that using a saddle stitching machine offers.

That’s why we’re going to walk you through what a saddle stitching machine is, what they’re best used for, and what makes them different from a regular sewing machine. I’ll also give you our top picks for the 8 best saddle stitch machines based on overall quality, brand name, and price. Ready to explore the world of saddle stitching with me? Let’s go!

Top 3 Picks

Before we learn more about saddle stitch machines, we’d like to show you our top 3 picks for the best saddle stitch machines. If you’re unfamiliar with this piece of equipment or you’d like to shop before we truly get started, any of these 3 choices would make an excellent saddle stitch machine.

Brother XR9550 Sewing and Quilting Machine | Amazon
$229.99

The XR9550 is an easy-to-use computerized sewing and quilting machine that is built for durability and flexibility and helps sewing enthusiast improve their creative capability.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 02:02 am GMT

What is a Saddle Stitch Machine?

A saddle stitch machine is a sewing machine that has the stitching option for a saddle stitch. It’s a complicated stitch design and happens to be one of the strongest.

Saddle Stitch Machine vs Regular Sewing Machine

Saddle Stitch Machine

Next, I’ll fill you in on the differences between a saddle stitch machine and a regular sewing machine. Both machines perform different jobs, even though they may look pretty similar. I’ll explain.

Saddle Stitch Machine

 

  • It is used for binding books, magazines, and more
  • Uses a very strong needle to get through pages and the book’s cover
  • Uses very durable and thick wire for the bindings
  • Can sew pieces of leather with thick needles and polyester thread
Regular Sewing Machine

 

  • Is used for sewing fabrics
  • Uses weaker needles, because the needles don’t need to be as strong to pierce fabrics
  • Typically uses cotton thread that is much thinner and weaker than wire
  • Cannot be used to bind books, magazines, and more

Why is a Saddle Stitch so Good?

What is it about the saddle stitch that makes it the ideal stitch for binding papers together inside a cover? Saddle stitching is done so tightly and with a wirey thread that is much stronger than the regular thread that it keeps the pages in place. Saddle stitching binds each individual page, which means there won’t be any stragglers that fall out when you open the booklet.

If you’re simply saddle stitching a piece of leather, a saddle stitch can withstand more wear and tear than other kinds of stitching.

Do You Need a Saddle Stitch Machine?

Saddle stitching can be done by hand. We don’t recommend it, especially if you’re trying to create many copies of a book or many stitched pieces of leather in a short amount of time, because stitching by hand is time-consuming.

Technically, you don’t need a saddle stitch machine. Realistically, trying to saddle stitch 100 copies of a book or 100 leather pieces by hand is not going to be fun. Machines take a lot of manual labor out of the process, too.

What Can You Sew with a Saddle Stitch Machine?

There are many materials that you can use with a saddle stitch machine! There are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing covers for your book, magazine, catalogs, leatherworking, and more. These are some of the most common materials you might need to bind.

Leather

Leather is a popular choice for saddle stitching. Leather looks beautiful, but it’s a tough material to sew. A saddle stitch machine makes quick work of this stubborn material with its thick needles and wire or strong thread.

Extra: Heavy Weight Paper

This type of paper is excellent for making thin, paper booklets that need a stronger cover than regular paper. Despite the extra weight, saddle stitch machines won’t have a hard time puncturing the paper and won’t tear the pages.

Cover: Paper

This glossy paper is used for making magazines. Magazines are also bound together using a saddle stitch, so a saddle stitch machine makes it easy if you need to make many copies.

What to Look for in a Saddle Stitch Machine

Saddle Stitch Machine

In this section, we’d like to take a look at what features make for the best saddle stitch machine. Every saddle stitch machine has something about it that makes it a unique product. That’s why we’re going to show you how to separate the wheat from the weeds in this quick guide.

Quality

Most quality saddle stitch machines are made from metal. Metal is durable and won’t break easily. Another quick way to check the quality of a product is to do some research about it online. Other customers are sure to have left their opinions on saddle stitch machines they’ve bought.

Price

Most saddle stitch machines fall within the range of $130-$450. Anything within this range is average, but some of the more expensive models (or at least $200+) are computerized and may have more stitching options. Saddle stitch machines above $450 are usually not worth the price unless you’re very serious about saddle stitching.

Accessories

Not all, but many saddle stitch machines come with accompanying accessories. If you’re new to saddle stitching, it may be beneficial for you to buy a machine with accessories so you have all the materials you need to get started.

If there are any materials you are running out of, that might be another reason to check for the accessories you need. Needle, spools of wire and thread, and more can all come with the machines.

Warranty

Here’s some great news: many saddle stitch machines come with a warranty! Yay! Check to see if the saddle stitch machine you want is protected by warranties by checking in the product description. This way, if anything goes wrong with your machine, you can trade it in for a brand new one.

Fast Stitching

Some saddle stitch machines advertise quiet stitching (which you may want if you sew a lot,) but many also feature fast stitching. If you’re binding a large number of books or stitching many pieces of leather, you may want a machine that works faster so you can get the job done more efficiently.

Automatic Needle Threader

Today, a lot of saddle stitch machines are equipped with an automatic needle threader. This feature just takes one more step out of the sewing process for you, which means you’ll get more done faster. Check to see if the saddle stitch machine you want comes with an automatic threader if you want to be spared the trouble of threading wire by hand.

How to Do a Saddle Stitch by Hand?

Saddle Stitch Machine

As I’ve mentioned above, it is possible to saddle stitch by hand. If you want to be a true artisan and complete the bookbinding or leather sewing process from scratch, these easy steps will show you how it’s done. Saddle stitching can be a little confusing if you’re a novice, so don’t give up if you don’t get it quite right on your first try!

These instructions are for saddle stitching a simple piece of leather. Bookbinding will require many more steps than this, but this is perfect practice if you’re a beginner.

  1. Get a piece of leather, 2 leather sewing needles, a pair of scissors, a leather awl, and strong waxed thread.
  2. Use a ruler and pen to mark where you want to puncture holes in the leather.
  3. Using your leather awl, poke holes through the places you marked.
  4. Cut a long strand of waxed thread and thread both needles through the 2 ends of the thread, tying them to remain on the ends of the thread.
  5. Thread one of the needles through one of the outermost holes.
  6. String the leather through so that it is balanced perfectly in the center of the thread.
  7. Take the left needle and poke it through the second hole.
  8. Pull the needle away from yourself and then insert the right needle into the same hole behind the thread on the left.
  9. Keep saddle stitching in this pattern.
  10. Finish the project by backstitching when you reach the end of the line of holes.
  11. Once you’ve backstitched all the way through again, use your scissors to cut off the ends.

The Best Saddle Stitch Machines

After scouring the internet for the best saddle stitch machines, I found these eight that have the stitch as a function. Every one of these saddle stitch machines makes it easier to do a saddle stitch, which will be useful to you in all your endeavors.

Singer 4423 Sewing Machine, Grey

Singer 4423 Sewing Machine

Best for: Ease of Use

About

This saddle stitch machine that comes in gray is an easy-to-use machine that isn’t too pricy. It would be perfect for beginners. Two easy dials on the side control the length of the stitch and the type of stitch the machine will perform. Of course, saddle stitching is one of these options. This machine boasts high speeds and a solid metal frame.

  • Material: Metal
  • Price Range: $170-$190
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty
  • Best Feature: Simplistic design

Care

Saddle stitch machines, needles, and other accessories can become dirty after a while, even if they’re just sitting around. Make sure to clean your needles and other small sewing parts with antiseptic from time to time.

Singer 4423 Sewing Machine | Amazon
$199.99

Whether you're looking to make garment alterations or to start a new project from scratch, the heavy duty Singer sewing machines and its sewing accessories are an easy-to-use and versatile products.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 12:03 am GMT

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Variety of accessories

Cons

  • Not computerized

Brother Sewing Machine, GX37

Brother Sewing Machine, GX37

Best for: Price

About

This saddle stitch machine is the least expensive on our list, but it isn’t lacking in terms of quality. A large dial on the side controls which of the 37 different stitches the machine will make. This machine has an automatic needle threader and a free arm.

  • Material: Metal
  • Price Range: $135-$155
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Dial is easy to control

How to Saddle Stitch

The large dial on the side of the machine will have a stitching option for a saddle stitch. Turn the dial until the picture for the saddle stitch is under the purple arrow.

Brother Sewing Machine, GX37 | Amazon
$179.99

The GX37 makes everyday sewing a breeze. This 37 stitch, Brother sewing machine comes with 37 built-in utility and decorative stitches perfect for garment construction, applique and more. 

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 06:27 am GMT

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 37 different stitching patterns
  • Automatic needle threader

Cons

  • Not made for high-speed saddle stitching

Brother XR9550 Sewing and Quilting Machine

Brother XR9550 Sewing and Quilting Machine

Best for: Best Overall

About

This is the best saddle stitch machine on the list, and you’ll be happy to know it has 165 stitch options. This is a computerized machine with an LCD screen that makes selecting the right stitching and adjustments easier. 8 presser feet are included.

  • Material: Metal
  • Price Range: $220-$240
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Computerized

Other Uses for This Machine

In addition to saddle stitching, you can also use this machine for sewing fabrics. All you need are smaller needles and soft cotton thread.

Brother XR9550 Sewing and Quilting Machine | Amazon
$229.99

The XR9550 is an easy-to-use computerized sewing and quilting machine that is built for durability and flexibility and helps sewing enthusiast improve their creative capability.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 02:02 am GMT

Pros

  • 165 Stitching Options
  • Automatic needle threading
  • LCD screen

Cons

  • No needles included

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine

Best for: Portability

About

This lightweight saddle stitch machine has 600 different stitch patterns. 600! Being electronic, there is an autopilot mode that lets you step away from the machine while it works. This machine features an automatic needle threader and high-speed options.

  • Material: Metal
  • Price Range: $440-$460
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Lightweight design

Traveling with Your Saddle Stitch Machine

Since this is an expensive piece of equipment, we recommend buying a carrying case for your saddle stitch machine if you are traveling with it. The carrying case will prevent small pieces or dials from being torn off during transportation.

SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 Computerized Portable Sewing Machine | Amazon
$499.99

The SINGER Quantum Stylist 9960 portable sewing machine has loads of ease-of-use features to allow you to fulfill your creative dreams Has a large selection of stitches including basic, stretch and decorative stitches for fashion sewing, quilting, home decor and crafting. There’s even a selection of fonts to personalize projects.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 03:22 am GMT

Pros

  • 600 stitches
  • Autopilot mode
  • Computerized

Cons

  • Expensive

Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine

Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine

Best for: Free Arm

About

This is another solid choice for a first saddle stitch machine. Being made of metal with 37 different stitch patterns, this durable machine will provide more functionality than just saddle stitching. The free arm is perfect for sewers of all skill levels.

  • Material: Metal
  • Price Range: $240-$260
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Free arm feature

Instructional DVD and Manual

We love that this product comes with both an instructional DVD and a manual. Whether you are a visual or auditory learner, you can easily find out answers to questions you might have about this machine.

Brother ST371HD Sewing Machine | Amazon
$239.99

The Brother ST371HD is a perfectly designed heavy-duty sewing machine for those requiring flexibility and durability. This strong and durable sewing machine is a perfect machine for everyday sewing and mending on everything from thick outdoor fabrics to lightweight and elegant silks.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 03:32 am GMT

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Free arm
  • Instructional manual and DVD

Cons

  • No needles included

Janome HD1000BE HD1000 Black Edition

Janome HD1000BE HD1000 Black Edition

Best for: Design

About

This sleek, black aluminum saddle stitch machine is perfect if you want your machine to make a statement in style. This machine is easy to use, with only 14 stitching options that are controlled by a dial. The automatic needle threader also makes it very easy to use.

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Price Range: $285-$305
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty
  • Best Feature: Sleek design

Gifting Ideas

If you’re gifting this to someone who likes to saddle stitch, consider also buying a spool of wire or thread and needles. Extra presser feet would also make a great addition, as well as a decorative carrying case.

Janome HD1000BE HD1000 Black Edition | Amazon
$295.00

The HD-1000 Black Edition by Janome provides super sturdy construction and easy-to-use features for a dependable and enjoyable sewing experience. Whether it be a piece of garment, accessory or a home décor item, you can create the project you have been dreaming about using the HD-1000 Black Edition's 14 built-in stitches and one four-step buttonhole.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 07:42 am GMT

Pros

  • Sleek black design
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Automatic needle threader

Cons

  • Only 14 stitch patterns

SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine

SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine

Best for: Heavy Duty Projects

About

This metal saddle stitch machine is perfect for completing your heavy-duty projects. There are 32 stitches to choose from and a built-in automatic needle threader. This is a high-speed machine, so you’ll be able to complete projects faster.

  • Material: Metal
  • Price Range: $290-$310
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Huge range of settings and accessories to accommodate heavy-duty projects

Care

Be sure to carefully store away the accessories that come with this saddle stitch machine. Make sure to buy a pincushion for storing needles.

Singer 4423 Sewing Machine | Amazon
$199.99

Whether you're looking to make garment alterations or to start a new project from scratch, the heavy duty Singer sewing machines and its sewing accessories are an easy-to-use and versatile products.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 12:03 am GMT

Pros

  • Great for heavy-duty projects
  • High speeds
  • Automatic needle threader

Cons

  • No instructional DVD

Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine

Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine

Best for: Small Projects

About

This is an affordable saddle stitch machine with 60 different stitching options and 7 styles of auto-size buttonholes. This machine comes with a carrying case, so it will be easy to take with you on the go. This is a computerized machine with an LCD screen.

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Price Range: $200-$220
  • Warranty: 25-year limited warranty
  • Best Feature: 60 built-in stitches

Care

If you spill something on your saddle stitch machine, use a microfiber washcloth, a small amount of warm water, and paper towels to clean it off. Make sure the device is unplugged first.

Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine | Amazon
$209.99

This user-friendly and portable sewing and quilting machine offer a wide range of quilting and sewing features at an affordable price. The CS6000i features 60 built-in sewing stitches, including decorative stitches and 7 styles of one-step buttonholes.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 07:32 am GMT

Pros

  • 60 stitching options
  • Portable carrying case
  • Computerized

Cons

  • No presser feet accessories

FAQ

In this section, I’ll answer your most frequently asked questions about saddle stitch machines! Saddle stitch machines can be easy to use once you get the hang of them, and using a machine is much easier than doing the stitch by hand. I’ll be happy to answer any more questions you might have about saddle stitch machines in the comments below!

Question: How Does Saddle Stitching Work?

Answer: You can do saddle stitch either by hand or with a saddle stitch machine. By hand, you’ll need needles, thread or wire, scissors, a ruler, a sharpie, and whatever you want to sew. With a saddle stitch machine, all you’ll need to do is put the spool into the machine, turn it to the saddle stitch setting, and let it do its magic.

Question: Is a Saddle Stitch Strong?

Answer: Many people prefer a saddle stitch because of how strong it is. Saddle stitching reinforces each stitch by going over it twice. Not to mention, materials that are often saddle stitched (leather, for instance) could benefit from the extra reinforcement.

Question: Why is it Called Saddle Stitching?

Answer: Saddles for horses are made out of leather, and to make them, artisans use a saddle stitch. The saddle stitch reinforces leather that will see a lot of wear and tear.

Final Thoughts

Today, I’ve gone on what saddle stitch machines are, why you might need one, and how to spot a machine with the best features. I’ve also shown you our top 8 favorite saddle stitch machines that you can find online. Although, I think the SINGER Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine is the best choice for its overall features, function, and price point.

Singer 4423 Sewing Machine | Amazon
$199.99

Whether you're looking to make garment alterations or to start a new project from scratch, the heavy duty Singer sewing machines and its sewing accessories are an easy-to-use and versatile products.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/17/2022 12:03 am GMT

For any comments or questions about saddle stitching, please leave us a comment below. Want even more great leather sewing tips? Check out our guide to the best leather sewing machines.