How To Sew Leather With An Awl

The thought of sewing leather with an awl might seem a bit intimidating if you’ve never tried it before. But what if you get to know the right steps to use that monster needle on leather? Sewing will be as easy breezy as ever!

Sewing leather is easier with an awl than with any other kind of tool. Basically, you will be making a hole with the awl and keep stitching with it as you do while sewing any fabric with a needle.

The problem with ice picks or shanks to make holes and sew is that they might tear a hole if you aren’t careful. But a sewing awl would actually cut through the leather and give you a long-lasting fix.

With that being said, here is a detailed look into how you can sew leather with an awl.

How To Sew Leather With An Awl?

Use binder clips or nails two hold two pieces of leather together and prevent them from slipping. Take a fork to determine the spacing and mark the points to make the holes. Set up the stitch using a bobbin and secure the chuck lock.

Plunge the awl through the holes and let the thread create loops as you go through each hole. Once you are done, tie a knot at the end to finish the stitch. You can also loop through the final stitch to complete the work.

Procedure for Sewing Leather with an Awl

You need to start by organizing the things you will need. Here is a list:

  • Binder clips, nails, small clamps, or something similar
  • Fork
  • Sewing awl
  • A waxed thread
  • A pen and measuring tape (optional)


You might not get pre-waxed thread in the market. In that case, wax it yourself using a candle or beeswax. The thread has to glide smoothly for a perfect stitch and not loosen any time in the future. Also, the wax will help in ensuring the thread lasts longer.

Hold the thread between the wax and the thumb and pull it a number of times. The friction from the pressure will make the thread absorb the wax.

Steps To Sew Leather With An Awl

Step 1: Prepare The Leather To Start Sewing

One of the most difficult aspects of sewing leather is to keep the two pieces from slipping so as to get straight stitches. Though you can get good results without binding, taking the help of binder clips (nails or adhesive would do too) will make things easier.

Moreover, you need the binding while repairing something like a sail or a tent where you need to repair where it stands.

Start with the smoother sides out and the rough sides together. Then, align the material’s outer edges and prevent them from slipping using binder clips. It will make everything sit straight and the holes for stitching will align.

Step 2: Determine The Spacing To Make The Holes

You need somewhat even spacing to start working with leather, and a fork would be perfect for this job. After all, you only need a rough guide of how the spacing needs to be and where the holes should go.

Keep overlapping the last impression so that you make three new markings each time.

Alternatively, you can create the markings with a pen and measuring tape if you want more precision. But using a fork would work faster.

Step 3: Set Up The Stitch Using the Bobbin

Keep the needle in its post and the bobbin safely in the handle. Now, pull out the thread through the hole and loop it around the tension post. Then, make the thread go through a slot and the hole in the handle going towards the threaded post.

Continue the post into the recession carved in it, and ultimately in the needle through the threading channel. Make sure the thread is properly placed in the recession such that it’s not crushed. Then, secure that chuck lock.

Pulling the string out of the needle would be easy after you secure the lock.

Step 4: Start Stitching Using A Sewing Awl

Plunge the sewing awl in the place where you would like to start stitching. Now, pull out enough thread according to the length of what you would want to stitch plus about three more inches through the needle.

After this, hold your needle steady and pull the needle and awl out of the hole while leaving the thread behind.

Then, push the awl in the material for creating the second hole. Keep pulling back until the thread on the sewing awl creates a loop. Also, thread the complete length of the other end of the thread through the loop.

It’s time to pull the sewing awl out of the hole by pulling on the ends of the thread. Use the same tension on both ends to form the first stitch.

Then onward, continue the procedure in the stitches that follow. Release the thread from the sewing awl using the end as required.

Step 5: Finishing The Awl Stitch With Finesse

The best way to finish such awl stitches is to tie a strong knot at the end rather than looping the final stitch. If you do not like the finishing touch of a knot at that last stitch, there’s another way.

Push the sewing awl in as you do in a normal stitch. Now, pull out about three inches of thread through your needle. After this, cut the loop thread and have it tied to the loose end using a square knot.

You can also stitch like usual on the last stitch. At that point, stitch backward using the awl. Place your needle in the second-to-last stitch and loop through the third-to-last hole and one more loop to be completely sure of yourself.

Pull the sewing awl out and tighten it like usual. Then, cut off both the ends, and you’re done!

Tips for Sewing Leather With An Awl

1. Prevent Flat Stitches by Pushing the Awl

If the awl is not pushed through the leather far enough only the point of the sewing awl will make it through. You would not get the perfect diamond shapes that ensure perfect stitching. The stitching would flatten out and the holes would look odd if you don’t push the awl to get that diamond shape.

2. Getting the Stitching Holes to Align

The stitching holes will not align if you hold the awl at a wrong angle. The chances of messing up are greater if you’re using a thicker piece of leather. So, keep the awl perpendicular to the leather while stabbing the awl through it.

The back of the hole will move from stitching line if the awl is held even slightly high or low while punching through leather.

3. Making Even-Sized Stitching Holes

You might be pushing the awl through the leather far enough but not consistently. If you push the awl 1/3 way down for one hole and ? for the other, the holes wouldn’t be even-sized. Also, you should not rock the awl back and forth while taking it out of the hole because you’ll be stretching the leather that way.

4. Ensure the Stitching Holes Aren’t Crooked

When the tops of the holes are not flat, the stitching does not look nice and smooth. So, keep the flat side of the blade parallel with the edge of the leather. The awl must not be rotated backward or forward while using.

What Is The Best Type Of Awl To Be Used On Leather?

You should try a diamond awl when you want to make a hole in leather without leaving large openings. The sharp point of diamond awls cut through leather more easily than curve or collar awl. Also, the diamond pattern of the holes looks better and the stitches appear smoother.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *