Home generalLeather Sewing - Basics and Tips on Yarn, Tools & Co

Leather Sewing - Basics and Tips on Yarn, Tools & Co

  • Real leather or imitation leather "> Buy leather
  • cut out
  • Sew with the sewing machine
  • Sew leather by hand
  • ideas
  • leather care
  • Can you iron leather?

Although this article is mainly concerned with the different types of leather, it can also be used for other similar fabrics such as artificial leather and cork.

Leather is a natural product, which is obtained by tanning from animal skin. Depending on which animal the skin comes from and how it is further processed, one obtains thin, soft or firm and sturdy leather. In addition, there are also leatherette in many variations for those who do not like to work with real leather.

Real leather or imitation leather?

Real leather I would personally only process if, for example, a much worn leather jacket or leather pants can not be repaired. It is difficult to understand where the leather originally came from and from which animal. Even less, under what conditions it is won. Meanwhile, artificial leather are designed so that they are visually indistinguishable from genuine leather. Real leather is much more robust and breathable and flame retardant. Real leather is also unproblematic for people with skin problems.

Synthetic leather (or textile leather) can be produced on an ongoing basis, so it is also cheaper. Mostly it is easier to process and water does not leave as strong edges as on real leather. Synthetic leather is not always produced vegan. Here is some research necessary!


Genuine leather has a clear running direction across the hair growth of the animal. Small projects should always be trimmed in the direction of travel, as it could break if cut or laid out at a 90 ° angle when used diagonally. For larger projects such as bags, the running direction is of importance in that it can appear lighter or darker when it is sewn against the same. For suede, for this reason, everything should be cut in the same direction.

Genuine leather

What is better for your purpose depends on whether you want to work with real leather or artificial leather. If that does not make any difference to you, the following hints may help you:

  • Wherever it is exposed to the weather (eg on motorcycles and motorcycles, artificial leather is better because it is more robust.
  • In cars mainly "textile leather" is installed. Genuine leather is used only occasionally and in the case is almost always explicitly stated that it is real leather. In most cases, however, only a few areas are equipped with it and for the rest, artificial leather is used.
  • Furniture pieces with seat surfaces are made of genuine leather better, because artificial leather gets pretty fast unsightly cracks.

Buy leather

Where do I get leather pieces to practice ">

cut out

It is best to cut it with a rotary cutter (in addition with a small rotary cutter for the curves), a special leather scissors, a carpet or leather knife. It is always cut in one layer (also pieces of fabric that would otherwise be cut in the break), as can not be cut exactly in the break. Do not use pins as they leave unsightly holes. Instead, use weights to weight the pattern directly on the leather or glue the cut on. Please never draw the leather on the right side of the fabric. Although chalk is easy to wipe off, it can have a long-lasting notch.

Always cut slowly and accurately! The scissors should always be placed as close to the hand as possible and do not close the blades completely, as otherwise marks and offsets may occur.

When assembling the individual leather parts you also use Wonder-Tape or Wonder-Clips. The latter are now available in many different sizes.

Sew with the sewing machine

Due to the thickness of most types of leather, thicker needles are needed in the sewing machine than for jersey sewing. For extra-thin and soft lamb leather, you'll probably come off with a jersey or denim needle that you'll use in your sewing machine, but whatever the thickness, you'll need special leather needles.

The yarn must also be selected separately. The thicker the piece of leather, the thicker the yarn must be, otherwise it will tear too easily. There are special, extra strong and tear-resistant yarn. Pay attention to good quality! Here the investment pays off!

So that everything slides well, you should use a n-foot coated sewing machine. Alternatively, you can also use a roller foot or a top feed foot in your sewing machine. It also helps if you underlay a piece of newspaper, which you can easily tear after sewing.

Since most types of leather are much thicker and harder than other clothing fabrics, you should reduce the thread pressure. Try on a small piece of leather different settings.

The stitch length is also an important point. With the leather needles you cut the fabric and it remains a hole, even if you remove the thread again. If the suture holes are too close together, the suture is, so to speak, perforated and tears more easily. That's not the purpose of the thing. I recommend at least a stitch length of 3 (for thin and soft leathers) to 3.5 mm (for all stronger types of leather).

Tip: If you do not have special presser feet, you can also apply some paper or crepe paper directly to your presser foot.

Sew leather by hand

If you want to do your leather-like sewing project manually, there are also a variety of special sewing needles, such as sewing awls, saddle needles, canvas needles and many more. For example, with a leather broach, the seam is pre-punched so that you no longer have to pierce it with the needle and the yarn slides well. To make the stitches even when sewing by hand, you can pre-mark the puncture points in advance with a seam distance marker. For this there are several essays with different diameters.

If you want to work more often on the dermis by hand, a groove puller for sinking the sutures could pay off. In the specialized trade you also get for sewing by hand special waxed yarn and leather straps.


What can you sew from leather "> Leather care

Especially with real leather pays off good care, because it lasts longer and may be even better over the years due to the low abrasion. If real leather gets wet, however, the care depends on the condition. Robust and smooth leather is simply wiped off with a dry cloth. For further care, use a simple leather brush, which is also known from the cleaning of leather shoes.

With rough leather you should better dry the stain completely and then brush it out. This also applies to other impurities. There are special brushes with metal bristles that brush out the dirt. These brushes also have rubber or plastic fins, which can then roughen the surface again.

Washable is basically only so-called wash leather. All other types of leather should not be washed if possible. In addition, there are also specially developed leather care products that they can use according to the instructions.

Can you iron leather?

Yes, dermis can be ironed. It is best to use a Teflon iron and place a cloth between the iron foot and the dermis. In advance, you should try out a small piece, which temperature and pressure are optimal. Even the ironing of Vlieseline is possible.

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