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Leather is often a material that people avoid using in their home sewing projects. There is a common misconception that sewing leather is incredibly difficult to do which is why so many people avoid using it.
But leather is a great material to introduce to lots of different things that you can sew so it is best not to avoid it. And in reality, sewing with leather actually isn’t that difficult.
Don’t get us wrong, sewing leather with a sewing machine can be intimidating. Leather is an expensive material and sewing machines can often be unruly. But sewing leather by hand? Well, that’s a much easier task than people initially expect.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this quick guide full of everything that you need to know about how to sew thin leather. So if that is something that interests you, keep on reading.
What is thin leather?
Before we take a look at how to sew thin leather, let’s quickly take a look at what thin leather is. As you probably already know, leather is a material that comes from animals, and it is created by tanning the rawhide and skin of animals, primarily cows, and cattle.
It is an incredibly common material and surprisingly popular considering its questionable ethics. But perhaps its popularity lies in how durable this material is.
It may also be so popular because of how flexible and versatile it is, allowing it to be used in a variety of different tasks. However, that is just leather. So what is the difference between regular leather and thin leather?
As you have probably guessed, the difference between regular leather and thin leather lies in its thickness. Leather generally comes in 4 different levels of thickness, all of which are more appropriate for different tasks.
The thinnest option is thin leather, which is sometimes also known as upholstery leather and is normally no more than 1.2mm in thickness. Thin leather can be used in vehicles, on furniture, in the making of garments, and also in leathercraft.
Its thin appearance makes it easier to sew, and it is a great starting point for people who have no experience in sewing leather as it is easier to control than thicker types of leather.
As the thickness of the level increases, it becomes more difficult to control so mastering thin leather is the first step. Now that we understand what thin leather is, let’s take a look at what you need to have to be able to sew it.
What you will need
To help you out, we’ve put together this quick list of everything that you will need at hand to be able to sew thin leather.
We would recommend gathering all of these materials before you begin sewing so that you can relax and enjoy the experience without any interruptions.
You will need:
- Leather needles
- Thick waxed thread
- X-acto knife
- Cloth tape measure
- Strong scissors
- Stitching pony
- Scrap leather
- Leather with holes punched
Once you have gathered these materials, you are ready to begin sewing. So let’s take a look at what you need to do to get started.
How to sew thin leather
After you have everything that you need ready to be used, you can then begin to sew your leather. But before you do that, you will need to prepare your needle and thread.
This isn’t a hard task, you simply need to cut your thick waxed thread, in the same manner, you would normally thread, and then feed it through the needle.
To ensure you have enough thread, we would recommend measuring the length that you want to sew and then multiplying this by 2.5 to get the correct measurement.
Unlike other threads, you do not need to tie a knot at the end when you are sewing leather, instead, you will use a method known as backstitching, later on, to lock your thread in place.
If you have any prior knowledge about sewing leather, you probably will have heard of saddle stitching. This method of sewing is the most common way to sew leather and differs from the traditional method of stitching that you would use for other materials.
Straight stitching is the most common method used for other materials, but saddle stitching is different as it fills in the stitches on both sides, leaving no gaps between the stitches and a visible straight line of thread along the leather. So let’s take a look at how to saddle stitch.
You have two options when saddle stitching as there are two main methods used by people. Traditionally, you would always use the two-needle method. This method is difficult to master as using two needles simultaneously can be confusing, but it produces perfect stitches.
But over the years, this method has begun to lose favor and a lot of people now prefer to use the ‘one needle, two passes’ method. This is the easier method, so let’s show you how to do this stitch.
You will begin by inserting your needle into the first hole of your seam. Pull your needle through the hole but leave a 2-inch tail, then pass the needle through the second hole to create a stitch.
You should then double back through the first hole, and then the second hole to create a loop that will lock the stitch.
Moving along the rest of the leather, you should follow your regular sewing method using the holes in the seam. Pull the thread tight every time, but not so tight that the leather buckles and loses its shape.
After you reach the end of the seam, you should then double back down the rest of the seam, filling in the opposite stitches to those that you completed earlier.
Once you reach the end, simply complete a couple of backstitches to lock the thread in place then trim the thread close to the leather. It really is that simple.
In short, sewing thin leather is not as difficult as it may immediately appear.
This guide has all the information you need to be able to sew leather successfully, so if you are unsure what to do, follow the steps we have outlined above.