Sewing leather is not as hard as one generally thinks. It is just about taking the right approach. If you are using thin leather, you can sew it like you would sew any other fabric.
What is the right approach to thin sewing leather? Read on to find out how you can sew leather and indulge in various projects.
How To Sew Thin Leather?
Leather is a rather hard material, and you need strong resources to sew it. Therefore, you should choose the sharpest needle and strongest thread to sew leather.
Additionally, walking foot, dual feed foot, or Teflon non-stick foot will make the sewing process easier. And to make sure that seam allowance does open, use a flat hammer to press it between the cloth.
Steps to Sew Thin Leather
If you plan to sew leather regularly, it is better to get a heavy-duty sewing machine to get the best results. But you can certainly sew thin leather using a sewing machine.
You need a couple of adjustments and tools, and with regular practice, you will get the hang of it in no time. Here are the steps that you need to focus on when sewing a thin leather:
Step 1. Selecting the Right Leather
Choose the type of leather that your regular sewing machine can handle. Since we are using thin leather, there should not be a problem.
Moreover, it is better to choose leather with satin or mat finish. Avoid shiny sewing leather on your regular machine because it can get too sticky.
Step 2. Using The Right Needle
Leather is a strong material, so you will need to use a thicker needle, which can easily pierce through the material. It is better to choose leather needles as they are sharp and strop.
Therefore, they can easily pierce through the leather materials and do not cause skipped stitches.
Additionally, the size of the needle is equally important here. Opt for leather in sizes 14, 16, or 18 as they are stronger and do not bend easily.
If halfway through your stitching, if you are getting skipped stitches, the needle may have bent or gotten blunt. Replace it with a new needle and start again.
Step 3. A Strong Thread
Just like needles, leather material also tests the thread, so you should get a strong thread that does not break. A strong polyester thread is an ideal thread as it does not break easily.
Additionally, for seams and top stitching, you should use a specialized leather thread or thicker thread.
Strictly avoid using cotton thread when sewing leather. This is because chemicals in the leather perish the cotton over time.
Step 4. Sewing Machine Foot
When sewing thin leather, go for roller foot or Teflon foot instead of the regular foot. These ensure that the leather material does not stick at the bottom of the sewing foot.
Subsequently, you will get more even tension and stitches. Teflon feet are very popular as they are lightweight, and the open toes make them easier to use. Moreover, you also have a better view of where your stitches are moving.
Teflon feet are also available at cost-effective rates, making them even more valuable. If you cannot manage either of the above options, you can opt for walking foot.
Though it is heavier than the other options, it ensures the foot does not stick to the leather surface. The walking foot does this by slightly lifting in between the stitches.
Step 5. Flatten It Up With A Mallet
You cannot iron thin leather, so how do you press the edges to get the perfect finish? You can use a mallet to gently press on the seams to flatten it up.
For this purpose, you should use a flat iron to get the job done. Furthermore, if you need to make the seams extremely flat or want them to stay open, apply a little glue underneath prior to hammering.
A mallet is a great tool to reduce the heaviness of the seams. Hit gently to compress the material and make it easier for the machine to move over the material.
Additionally, you can protect the leather from showing hammer marking by placing the cotton cloth in between.
Step 6. Avoid Using Pins
Instead of using a pin, choose leather glue or double-sided tape to hold the pieces together. This is because pin marks show in the material, and you don’t want that.
Ensure that you use quality double-sided tape that does not gum up on the needle. Also, avoid placing the tap under the stitching line.
You can get quality tape with leather retailers. Additionally, when you use glue, make sure it dries up clearly. This will avoid chances of accidentally getting the glue on the right side of the material.
How To Properly Make Leather Marking?
Proper marking is imperative to get precise stitching. And you need special tools to mark the stitches on leather. Following are some of the tools that you can use:
1. Leather Overstitch Wheel
You use this tool to mark the location of the stitch holes on the leather. This tool comes with wheel metal featuring a sharp point that circles around it.
When you roll it around the leather, the points leave a subtle impression on the material. This is great for when you have to do stitching later, particularly in a straight line.
2. Leather Wing Divider And Leather Compass
It is a tool, which is used to make markings on the leather surface in a circular or curved line. It looks a lot like a compass that we use in mathematics. Additionally, the dividers comprise two arms featuring points on the bottom and are joined on the top.
In the middle, you will find an adjustable screw to increase or decrease the distance of the point. With the adjustable screw, you can make different kinds of circular sizes.
3. Leather Stippler
This tool is primarily used for leather carving. It mostly comes with a wooden handle along with a metal end featuring pointed tips.
These tips create a circular pattern when pressed into the leather. By repeatedly pressing onto the leather, you will be able to create different kinds of patterns.
4. Leather Marker And Pens
Markers and pens can either be used to make markings or write on the leather material. While generally all kinds of pens and markers, there are some pens and markers specially made for this purpose.
These have a unique design and applicator, which allows them to work smoothly on the leather materials.
5. Scratch Awls
These include a sharp, rounded point and used for piercing holes in the leather material. The scratch awls come in a wide range of sizes and can be used to make marking and scratching on the leather.
6. Leather Corner Tool
It is basically a stencil guide to mark off small curves and corners on the leather material. These are generally made of plastic, but you will also find them in metal.
If you have a thicker corner tool, you can use it as a cutting guide to work on the top of your leather material. The knife efficiently traces the curves, making sure it is clean, smooth, and accurate.
Can a Normal Sewing Machine Sew Leather?
Yes, you can definitely sew leather using your regular sewing machine, granted that you own a good quality machine. Working with leather also seems complicated, but in reality, it is not.
With the right knowledge and equipment, you can easily sew leather on your regular sewing machine. Additionally, you will also need to make certain tweaks and add different tools to get the machine ready for the leather.
What Should Be The Sewing Machine Setting For Leather?
When sewing leather, you need to use longer stitching to prevent the material from tearing. Keep the top thread tension to the maximum to get a balanced stitch across. It is important to choose the right type of sewing machine to sew leather.