How To Sew Leather By Hand

Leather is always in trend because they are timeless, versatile, and sophisticated. Today, everyone is opting for leather-made things, but only a few take the effort to stitch it on their own.

It is true that today sewing machines can easily do the job of stitching leather. But the satisfaction of the traditional lock stitch will not come from a sewing machine.

That’s why it is always better to stitch leather with a hand. If you are looking to create any leather-based item, then you must try it with your hand.

In this article, you will get answers to all your queries related to leather stitching.

How To Sew Leather By Hand?

You can sew beautiful leather items by using the saddle stitch technique. It gives your leather piece a more authentic and rustic look.

This stitch requires a lock stitch that gives it a finishing. You would need stitching awl, wheel, groover, and needles. Some people also use rubber cement to hold the leather.

What Are The Materials You Need To Sew Leather?

In this step-by-step guide, you will need some essential items, and here is the list:

  • Overstitch wheel
  • Stitching groover
  • Stitching awl
  • Leather stitching needles
  • Waxed thread
  • Rubber cement

Steps To Sew Leather By Hand

Now that you have arranged all the materials, it is time to delve deep into the steps.

Step 1: Use Rubber Cement

Before starting, you need to hold your leather together, and for this, you will need rubber cement. It is also great to line things up in a precise manner. Only apply a light coat of cement and press it together until dry.

Step 2: Work A Groove

Now that you have secured the leather, it is essential to put a groove in the leather with the help of a stitching groover. This tool can do two things: give a straight stitching line and remove a little piece of leather to give a trench.

Step 3: Mark Stitch Spacing

Take the overstitch wheel to create the thread spacing. It creates a path to stitch and makes it further easier for you to stitch. There are different sizes of overstitch wheels available according to your needs.

Step 4: Use A Stitching Awl

You need holes in your leather to stitch perfectly. Stitching awl is the best tool to use here. It is similar to an ice pick and comes in a diamond shape with a cutting edge that pierces holes in the leather. Keep the awl at a 90-degree angle to make the holes consistent.

Step 5: Lock It

It goes without saying that any hand-sewn project will require thread length three times the coverage area. When you are making a saddle stitch, you will need two needles. You need to run the waxed thread with the needle eyelet and pull it through.

Now pierce the needle with the eyelet and push it through the loop. Pull out the slack just created through the end of the thread. Now hold the needle and pull the loop over the eyelet and lock the needle.

Repeat these steps on the other side as well. Make sure to keep the uniformity between the stitches so that the piece looks even from all sides.

Step 6: Start Stitching

Now it’s time to start stitching. For this, you need to begin with the first hole and make sure that the length of the thread is even on both ends. Sew through the same hole using the needles. If you find it challenging to get the struck needle out of the leather, you can try widening the holes.

Step 7: Lock The Stitch

After completing the stitch, you will have to lock the stitch in place so that it doesn’t come out. It would be best if you secured the stitch as leather is a hard material.

There are chances that your stitches may come out. Sew a few stitches at the back, pull the thread, and cut the thread flush. This will lock your stitch and prevent the risk of unraveling.

What is Saddle Stitching?

Saddle stitch is used for leatherworks that are done by hand. In this, two different threads are used to create two stitch rows in one hole. As two threads go into a single hole, it provides more durability and reduces the risk of unraveling.

If you are looking to start a leather business, it would be better to invest in a sewing machine as saddle stitching will take more time and effort.

Whether you choose hand stitching or a sewing machine, the uniqueness of the project will vary. It is better to get familiar with any one of the techniques and do the best in it.

What Is The Best Thread For Hand Sewing Leather?

Choosing the thread for hand-sewn leather is extremely important. There are different types of leather used in hand-sewn leather.

The best and most used threads are polyester, nylon, and linen threads. These threads are known for their durability and professional stitches.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Hand Stitching?

There are two types of leather workers who strictly stick to hand stitching and prefer using a sewing machine.

Many people say hand stitching is dead now, and sewing machines are much easier and more handy. As a sewer, you need to choose whether you want to hand sew or use a sewing machine.

Here are a few pros and cons of hand stitching:


1. Durability

One of the biggest advantages of hand stitching is its durability. Saddle stitch is used to stitch leather as it helps in preventing unraveling.

So, even if a thread breaks, you can still use the item without worrying that the threads will come out.

2. Affordable Materials

You don’t need to buy any expensive materials as you are stitching with your hand. All the materials required in hand stitching are cost-effective.

You only need needles, stitching pony, threads, etc., which are way too affordable than a sewing machine.

3. Highly Portable

It would not be easier to move your sewing machine every time you want to stitch at a new place. But hand stitching gives you the freedom to stitch from anywhere.

All you need is your essential materials to start the project. You can sew in your living room, bedroom, or your balcony.

4. Unique

Another important quality of hand stitching is that it is one-of-a-kind. It is a unique stitching method that only requires your hands.

Hand-made leather items are so much in demand because they are appreciated for their craftsmanship. Stitching will be uniform throughout the item.


The only drawback hand stitching has is its time duration. Hand stitching will take longer than a sewing machine.

You need to take out extra time for hand stitching, but a sewing machine, on the other hand, will do things quickly. Due to the prolonged period to complete a hand-sewn project, the pieces are more expensive.

What Needle Do You Use To Sew Leather?

When you used to stitch thicker pieces, like leather, it is recommended to use a cut point needle. Different needles are made for leather that is designated with letters S, D, LR, LL, and D.

You can also use a TRI point needle that comes in a special shape to slice and penetrate deep into the material.

Is Faux Leather Easy To Sew?

It is true that faux leather looks so much similar to genuine leather. Also, faux leather is much more affordable than genuine leather. The faux leather is not made with the skin of animals. Hence, it is cruelty-free.

That’s why faux leather will be much easier to sew. Unlike genuine leather, you would not have to insert much effort to sew and lock.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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