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Topic: How to sew leather  (Read 5100 times)
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« on: November 02, 2008 05:13:59 PM »

I made off with 100+  5"x7" and 6"x8" leather samples from an interior decorator who is going out of business, all upholstery grade fabric.  I also have an old sewing machine from the 50's that I have sewn upholstery projects with, but is it leather-sturdy?

 Can anyone direct me to a place where I can find out how to join all these fabulous leather rectangles into a solid piece to make . . . . . ?   . . . . .the leather slipcover of my dreams? . . a funkadelic coat? . . . bedspread?

I hope someone can help!  Thanks so much!

« Last Edit: November 02, 2008 05:30:39 PM by Whamo » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008 08:27:06 PM »

To sew together leather samples I like to place the pieces side by side and to a zig zag with sturdy upholstery thread. Seams would far too bulk for leather.

I did a piece like this and made a stretched wall hanging. It turned out pretty cool. Good luck!


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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2008 05:47:00 PM »

Nice haul! 

Get a special leather needle for your machine.  It has a sharp wedge-shaped tip.  You can get leather hand-sewing needles, too.

Use long stitches and heavy thread--usually a hefty synthetic.  Short stitch lengths act like a perforated line, and the leather can tear.

Zigzagging butted pieces as Crafty McCrafterson suggested works well for thick leather. 

For thinner leathers, you can seam like fabric, but you usually leave a smaller seam allowance, like 1/4" because leather doesn't ravel.

I would probably only use leather pieces of similar weight together.  Stitching a thick piece to a thin piece might eventually wind up tearing the thin piece.

You could also lay the edge of one piece on top of another and zigzag or straight stitch them together, kind of like a crazy quilt.

Older sewing machines (1970s and earlier) are usually made entirely of metal, which is usually stronger and lasts longer than the plastic and nylon parts often used these days.  Try it and see!

Your pieces should equal about 3 square yards of leather (less if you have seam allowances).  That would make a 6' x 4.5' throw, a lot of belts, several purses, a really cool vest, or??? 

Once you piece the squares together, you can use a fabric pattern that is made up of large, flat pieces.  Unless the leather is very thin, you don't want to have darts, gathers, or fussy little details.  Make the seams between pieces the same way you sewed the pieces together (butt joint zigzag, applique, or standard seam).  Adjust the pattern seam allowances to match your technique.

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