Have you ever stopped yourself from the thought of sewing with leather because it sounded intimidating and impossible? Here’s your guide to learning the tweaks of stitching leather together using a home sewing machine and by hand. So, are you excited already?
How To Sew Leather Together?
In leatherwork, hand-sewing plays an integral part, and it’s really easy to master. What makes it different from fabric sewing is the idea of stitching through the pre-punched holes. These holes ensure that the stitches are uniformly positioned.
Another factor that distinguishes hand sewing leather from sewing fabric is the fact that the former technique requires less concentration & precision.
Want to know more about leather-sewing by both hand and machine? Learn about the best leather thread, the process to hand-sew two layers of leather, and tips for sewing leather using a machine. Read on!
Steps To Sew Leather Together By Hand
Who would’ve thought that hand-sewing leather layers together sans an industrial machine would be simple? Here, you will learn to create an ornate leather piece with the saddle stitch technique by hand. To get the job done smoothly, you need the following tools:
- Rubber cement
- An overstitch wheel
- A Waxed thread
- A stitching awl
- A stitching groover
- A Packet of needles for leather stitching
Step 1: Use Rubber Cement
Rubber cement holds the leather together. In fact, it allows lining up things to precision (unlike other glue types). You can apply a light coat to both the leather pieces. When cement becomes nearly dry, press them together.
Step 2: Put A Groove On The Leather
After securing the two pieces in the right place, work a groove into the leather with the help of a stitching groover! What it does is presents a straight stitching line and removes the small leather to offer a trench for the stitch. All in all, it protects the thread too.
Step 3: Mark The Spacing For Stitches
Mark the thread spacing by using an overstitch wheel. These wheels are available in different sizes, so choose one depending on the stitch length. If you’re not sure about the size, remember that the number depends on the number of stitches for each inch.
Step 4: Create Holes Using A Stitching Awl
A stitching awl is the best tool that helps create holes rapidly. It features a diamond-structured blade with strong edges to create holes. You need to pierce through the piece of leather on every dot created by your overstitch wheel. Ensure using it at a 90-degree angle as it promotes consistency for even stitching.
Step 5: Work With A Needle
For stitching leather by hand, you need a thread that’s three times the length of the area. If you want to opt for a saddle stitch, choose two needles. The best trick you can use is to lock the needle into your chosen thread.
Run the thread through your needle and pull it by one inch. Once you do this, piece the thread alongside the needle. Push the loop around upwards close to the eyelet. Pull out the slack with the thread’s end that passed through the needle’s eyelet initially.
Now, you need to hold the needle. Secure the thread to get a comfortable experience while stitching. Repeat it on another end. This way, you have two needles on your thread.
Step 6: Proceed With Stitching
To begin, you need to sew through the very first hole. Ensure that the thread’s lengths are even on each of the sides. Sew through the same hole with all two needles.
Use this back-and-forth process and pull thread snug on the passes. Continue this until you reach its end. Having problems with needles that get stuck in your leather? Just try widening holes with the help of the awl.
Step 7: Lock The Stitches
For doing so, sew back to some stitches and pull your thread down. This way, you can lock the stitch. Do not forget to cut the thread flush against the piece.
Tips For Sewing Leather Together Using A Home Sewing Machine
A quality sewing machine can handle leather pretty well. All you require doing is make some simple modifications for making the machine leather-ready. To do so, you can follow these tips before starting off.
1. Change The Needle
Switch over to a leather needle. It’s a heavy-duty needle having a special tip that can easily pierce the leather. Look for needles that have got labeled as “leather” in the market.
Generally speaking, leather needles are fairly large and blunt. This means these tools are easier to see and hardly will poke your fingers. Also, ensure that you have extra needles as one single needle may easily break while stitching thick areas.
2. Change The Presser Foot
A presser foot sticks to the leather and prevents leather from feeding through a machine correctly. Thankfully, there’s a great fix for this. You only require changing out the regular presser foot for the roller foot or Teflon foot. Both these can glide easily over the leather.
3. Test First, Always!
Stitching leather may get unforgiving as stitches always leave permanent marks. Thus, it’s never always easy to fix mistakes while sewing with fabrics.
Hence, be doubly sure to make the right use of scrap leather for testing your thread. Then, ensure the general performance of the machine so that you’re on the right track prior to the actual project.
4. Tape And Never Pin!
Pins are an absolute NO when it comes to sewing leather together. As it leaves a permanent hole, it’s better to use double-sided tape and stick it into place before stitching. You can apply the tape in the line between two leather pieces. Place the tape along the leather’s edge.
Sew the seam so that the tape remains inside the seam allowance. This is your standard method for leather construction. Even commercially-made leather products are made by this method.
5. Change Stitch Length
Use a longer stitch while sewing leather together. The most recommendable one is 3.5 inches. You can use stitch length longer than the normal stitch and yet shorter than the basting stitch.
6. Use An Appropriate Thread
Cotton threads are strictly a NO when it comes to sewing leather together, as tannins in leather erode the thread gradually. You can use nylon or polyester. Although it looks classy when you stitch leather with the heavy-duty stitching thread, it’s your choice!
7. Work On Your Strategies Well
With a home sewing machine, you may have difficulties sewing through multiple layers of leather. So, it’s always better to choose simple projects without a lot of intricate details and bulky areas.
A majority of home machines can stitch through over three layers of medium-weight leather. But it’s better if you could keep it to three and never cross four!
Why Do People Think That Leather Sewing is Difficult?
As one cannot iron or pin leather, it’s considered a difficult task. Also, the normal needle does not go through the leather. If you’re a beginner, you won’t understand why the pressure foot also refuses to move.
All in all, people think it to be a disaster situation for a sewist. However, if you follow the aforementioned tips well, you won’t have any problem with the process.
What Do People Anticipate about Hand Leather Sewing Stitches?
Beginners think that hand leather sewing is similar to regular stitching. However, saddle stitching is a common stitch for sewing leather by hand.
Unlike straight stitches that resemble broken dotted lines, these stitches fill in each stitch on both sides. It creates an unbroken line like that of the sewing machine stitch.