How to sew faux leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Sewing faux leather poses a number of challenges; however, it can be done on your standard sewing machine. Synthetic leathers vary in quality, ranging from options that mimic natural animal skins quite exactly to very poor quality slick vinyl that looks like nothing but vinyl. Use fake leather to create creative and trendy garments, accessories, home-decorating items or even for upholstery. With smart sewing strategies, you will find that you can tackle this difficult fabric.

Place your faux leather fabric on a rotary cutting mat. Lay out pattern pieces on top of the fabric, and use pattern weights to secure the pattern into place. Cut with a rotary cutter, using a large-scale plastic ruler to create neat, straight edges and act as a guideline while cutting the faux leather.

Remove your usual sewing machine foot and throat plate. Replace it with a Teflon sewing machine foot and a Teflon throat plate to allow the faux leather to glide through the machine. Use a leather needle to reduce the number of holes created in the fabric.

Experiment with faux leather fabric scraps. Lengthen your stitches slightly and make sure that you can control the fabric before you sew your pattern pieces out of faux leather .

Glue, tape or clip together faux leather pattern pieces as necessary. Pin only in the seam allowances where you must.

Sew, working slowly and carefully. Press seams as necessary, using a synthetic setting on your iron.


Save money by applying a bit of clear tape to the underside of a typical zigzag machine foot instead of using a Teflon foot on your machine.


Holes in your fabric will show, so avoid ripping seams.

Things You'll Need

  • Teflon sewing machine foot and throat plate
  • Rotary cutter, ruler and mat
  • Paper clips, all purpose glue or tape
  • Pattern weights
  • Sewing machine
  • Leather needle
  • Cotton to match your faux leather
  • Iron and ironing board
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.