Sewing on leather, whether real or faux, can present some challenges, but with these tips, you can achieve professional looking results.
*For seaming, choose Coats Dual Duty XP All-purpose thread. For topstitching, use XP Heavy thread or Coats Jeans Topstitching thread for stand-out stitching. A larger needle may be needed for topstitching with heavier threads than was used for seaming.
*Select the needle size and type suitable for the leather. When sewing on faux leathers, a universal needle works well unless the fabric has a knit backing, in which case a stretch needle may work better. On lightweight leather, a fine needle is the best to avoid leaving holes in the seamline. For heavier leathers, choose a leather or wedge-point needle to penetrate the thickness without straining the machine.
*Twin needles, available in a variety of spacings, are ideal for topstitching as they create two parallel rows in one pass.
*Use clips or removable basting tape to hold seams in place, as pins can damage leathers and leave permanent holes.
*Use a longer than normal stitch length for both seaming and topstitching so as not to perforate the leather and weaken it.
*For even feeding, use a non-stick presser foot, roller foot or leather sewing foot. It may be necessary to adjust the presser foot pressure as well.
*If the leather sticks to the bed of the machine as you’re trying to sew it, place tissue paper under it and then remove after the stitching is complete.
*Finger-press leather seams, both real and faux, to avoid damaging the fabric surface. Seam allowances can go in a single direction or open, depending on the desired look. Topstitching helps to hold them flat.
*Lapped seams are ideal for leather construction and using a Point de Paris stitch adds a decorative look to the edges, as does a three-step zigzag. The Point de Paris stitch is also good for accenting slit buttonholes in conjunction with bartacked ends.
About the Author
Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.