A saddle stitch is the best choice for leatherwork. A saddle stitch is a way to connect every hole on the opposite sides of your fabric, as opposed to using straight stitches. Instead of connecting each hole on either side of your textile like you would with straight stitches. It creates one continuous line of stitches that has no gaps.
Both hand-sewing leather and regular sewing machines have their advantages. Hand sewing is a great way to create precise saddle stitches in thick leather. This ensures that the fabric stays flat throughout the process. Although a sewing machine is faster when sewing through suede or thin leather, you will still need a walking foot to help guide the fabric.
Seven Materials Required for Sewing Leather
Leathercraft is a specific type of sewing that requires certain materials you might not need for other projects. These are the materials you will need.
- Binder clips: Binder clips are better than pins for holding your leather pieces in place while you sew and cut.
- Leather: For your first sewing project, it is important to work with thin leather. It is easier to work with thinner pieces than with thicker ones.
- Designed for leather: You will need a pattern that is specifically designed for leather. It should include proper instructions. You can also find online patterns for leather items, such as a simple leather bag or pouch.
- Walking foot and sewing machine: A walking foot or another type of foot can be added to a sewing machine to help guide the leather through its bobbin. Learn how to use your sewing machine.
- Sharp cutting tools: To cut material with precision, use very sharp scissors or a Rotary cutter.
- Stitching pony, awl and stitching pony: A stitching pony is a wooden device that holds the leather upright. An awl can poke holes in your material to make it easier to sew.
- Waxed thread and leather sewing machines: Leather is a thick material so a leather sewing machine (rather than a universal one) should be used.
Here are 4 tips for sewing leather
These are some tips to help you know what to do when making leather crafts.
- Try scrap leather. Buy extra fabric before you start your leather sewing project. This will allow you to practice stitching and using an awl, which is a tool that creates permanent holes in the material.
- Stitch straight. Stitching leather is difficult because you must stitch straight lines while keeping your fabric flat. As you stitch leather, make sure to keep your fabric tighten as you go. Don’t pull too hard on the thread, which could cause the fabric to wrinkle. As you work, check your accuracy and progress.
- Extra-sharp sewing machines are recommended. Leather is a heavy-duty fabric with no natural holes (like woven textiles), or flexibility (like knitted fabrics). It is therefore crucial to use sharp tools that can penetrate the material without tearing.
- Slow down. Sewing leather requires sharp tools, including scissors and awls, so it is important to work slowly in order to avoid injury to your work surface.
How to sew leather
This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to hand sew leather.
- Protect your space with materials. Get ready to work. Set up a cutting mat. Gather your thread and needles. You will need enough space on the table to lay your fabric flat. To prevent any damage to your workspace, you can place a protective surface under your fabric.
- The fabric should be cut and clipped. If you are using a pattern, cut the pieces out and then clip the leather layers together with your binder clips. For extra security, you can use leather glue or double-sided adhesive. You should leave a slight seam allowance at the sides that you are stitching together.
- To make holes, use the awl. You should make holes at the edges of your leather pieces. These holes will be used to thread the needles.
- To sew, you will need the stitching pony as well as needles. Attach your fabric to the stitching pony and thread it through your first hole. Next, attach a second needle at the end of the thread. You can alternate passing the two needles through each hole. Continue this process until the needles are on opposite sides. To achieve the same effect if you don’t own a stitching pony or a single needle, pass both the needles through the holes twice.
- Complete the seam. Finish the saddle stitches by making a tight knot on each side of your leather. You can also add a backstitch. Use scissors or a sharp knife to trim the excess thread.