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Can You Sew Leather?

There are so many beautiful fabrics that you can use for your sewing projects. But what about leather? Can you also sew leather?

Leather is a wonderful material that you can sew by hand or with your sewing machine. With the right tools and good-quality leather, you can create some fantastic leather products.

Can You Sew Leather

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about sewing leather, including our top tips on leather sewing at home.

Can You Sew Leather By Hand?

Yes, you can sew leather by hand with the right needle. Hand-sewing is a fantastic skill that comes in handy, especially when you want to make your own leatherwork.

There are a few things that make leather sewing different from sewing with fabric. For example, you need to sew through pre-punched holes in the leather material.

Generally, sewing leather isn’t more difficult than hand-sewing fabric. Just make sure that you pre-punch holes into the leather to prepare your stitches.

It is also a good idea to use a specific leather sewing needle and stronger thread to ensure that your leather pieces hold well together.

Can You Sew Leather With A Standard Sewing Machine?

Can You Sew Leather

Yes, absolutely! You can use any standard home sewing machine to sew your leather items. Just make sure that you work with a good-quality to model that can handle leather.

In addition to the right type of sewing machine, you will also need to make a few modifications to your machine, such as changing the needle and presser foot.

This ensures that the sewing stitches are precise and neat.

What Types Of Leather Are Easiest To Sew?

There are a number of different leather types. Generally, leather is heavier than fabric which means that you always need to adjust your sewing machine.

As a rule of thumb, the lighter the leather material, the easier it is to sew. Faux leather is often much easier to cut and sew than real leather because it is more lightweight.

Plus, the threads blend much better with faux leather material, so your leather item looks more professional.

This being said, you can also hand- and machine-sew any other leather type, including bicast leather, suede, bonded leather, full grain leather and top grain leather.

What Type Of Need Do You Need To Sew Leather?

While you can sew some soft, lightweight leather materials with a standard needle, it is best to use leather needles.

Leather needles look similar to other tapestry needles but they are made from solid metal. Often thicker than other needle types, leather needles allow you to get easier through the leather.

Working with a leather sewing needle doesn’t just make the sewing easier but it also ensures that your sewn leather item looks professional.

Top Tips For Sewing Leather

Can You Sew Leather (2)

Sewing leather can be just as easy as sewing thicker fabrics. This being said, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you want to sew a leather item.

Use The Right Needle

The right needle is essential for all sewing work. For leather materials, you need a leather needle that has a special tip that allows you to pierce the leather easily.

As leather is often thicker than most fabric materials, you might break needles a lot more often, so just keep a few extras on hand.

Avoid Pins

Leather is a vulnerable material that instantly shows scratches, dents and holes.

That is why it is important to avoid using any type of pins. They leave permanent holes in your leather.

In order to hold your leather pieces together, just take a double-sided tape and apply it between the pieces. Then, sew your seam as normal.

You can leave the tape inside the seam allowance because it won’t be visible. Plus, removing the tape can be quite messy.

Pre-Punch Holes For Thicker Leather

If you want to sew thick leather pieces, then it can be difficult to pierce through the leather, even with a special leather needle.

Simply punch a few small holes into the leather along the line of your planned seam. You can then use these holes to go through with your needle and thread.

Adjust The Stitch Length

We recommend using a stitch length that is longer than normal when you want to sew leather. Typically. A stitch length of 3.5 is perfect for leather sewing.

Just make sure that it isn’t as long as a basting stitch to ensure your leather pieces are well-sewn.

Work With The Right Thread

Similar to the correct needle, you also need a good-quality thread. The best thread to sew leather with is nylon or polyester.

Try not to use cotton thread with your leathers because the tannins in the leather can erode the cotton over time.

Ideally, you can also use a heavy-duty thread that can give your final leather product a unique touch.

Test First

Leather is an unforgiving material, so any stitch you make will leave permanent marks. For this reason, test your pattern first on a few scrap leather pieces.

Try the thread, tension and stitch length to make sure that the final item looks good.

Work With A Roller Foot

Swap out the regular presser foot on your sewing machine with a Teflon foot or a roller foot. This will ensure that the leather feeds through the machine correctly.

Plan Ahead

In order to create a professional-looking leather item, you need to plan well. For example, make sure that you have a leather needle on hand.

Some sewing machines also need different adjustments to ensure that you can easily sew two leather pieces together.

Plus, a pattern or design with thick layering can also be more challenging for your sewing machine. That’s why it is a good idea to work only with a few, thin layers.

Final Thoughts

Leather can be a fantastic material to work with as part of your craft projects. You can easily sew leather items by hand or with your sewing machine.

Liz Miller
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