Easy working with Leather Tips Series – Part 3

Leather Sewing Tips and Tricks

Part 1: Choosing the right leather for your project
Part 2: Tracing the sewing pattern onto your leather

Leather Sewing Tips and Tricks

Leather Sewing Tips and Tricks

Sewing leather is not the same as sewing fabrics. Skilled in sewing different kinds of fabrics, I realized that leather required me to take a bit different approach and practice some new skills. On the other hand, leather possesses unique qualities which enable new possibilities fabrics cannot.

Which leather is suitable for sewing? I prefer using leather up to about 3 oz. thick, as in this thickness it can still be sewn with most regular home sewing machines, as long as there is not too much bulk in the seams. I do not have an industrial machine, and for making most leather accessories, this thickness should be just right (more on choosing the right leather for your project here).

Sewing Equipment:

It is recommended to sew leather using a Teflon foot. Personally I find that by working slowly and carefully, I can sew leather with the regular foot of my machine. Try it with your own machine and decide for yourself what is best for you. If you do want to purchase a Teflon foot, make sure you get one that fits the model of your sewing machine.

Leather Sewing Needle: any sewing supplies store should have these in stock. The needles are different from regular sewing needles as they are suited for sewing through thicker layers. I highly recommend you use one while sewing leather, it would make your sewing much easier and give you better results.

 Sewing the Leather:

Leather cannot be pinned, as any holes you make in it will remain. I like using office clips or butterfly clips to hold the pieces together.

Sewing Leather Pieces

Hold the leather pieces together using office clips

The great advantage I find in leather, in compared to fabrics, is that it doesn’t split open and unravel. This quality of the leather can be used to sew differently – with the seam allowances outside and with no use for lining. I like sewing leather this way as it also show more of the natural and unique character of the material.

Leather sewing tips

You can leave the seams outside

Depending on your design, you might sometimes want the seam allowances inside. Unlike fabric, leather should not be ironed as the heat might damage its surface. In order to flatten the inner seams, use a bit of glue and apply slow strokes with a hammer or mallet and then stitch the seams open from the right side of the leather. To reduce bulk trim away the excess seam allowance at the corners.

Leather Sewing Tips

Flattening inner seams in leather

 Alternative Methods:

Sewing isn’t the only way to attach two pieces of leather together. You can use studs and Screw back buttons for attaching. These will also add to your overall design, and enhance the unique qualities of the leather.

Attaching leather pieces with studs

Use studs for attaching leather pieces together

I hope these tips will help you to easily sew beautiful leather products for yourself and for others! If you have any tips of your own to add, please share them with the community on the comments below. You can find the rest of the Easy working with Leather – Tips Series here. If you’d like to receive more tips, tutorials and inspiration straight to your inbox you may subscribe and join the PINEAPPLE Community here.

Come share your experience with the PINEAPPLE community: Do you have any tips for sewing leather?

Easy working with Leather – Tips Series
Part 1: Choosing the right leather for your project
Part 2: Tracing the sewing pattern onto your leather
Part 3: Leather Sewing Tips & Tricks

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6 thoughts on “Easy working with Leather Tips Series – Part 3

  1. like the idea of using paper clips!
    FYI, leather needles have triangular points w/ sharp edges to pierce the leather – def. not suitable for fabrics as they cut, rather than push threads aside.

    & I’ve used both a roller & a ‘walking’ foot for sewing leather successfully – stitch length should be 8 per inch or less.

  2. I have found it best to loosen my machine’s tension and lengthen the stitch when sewing on leather. Thanks for the tips!!

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