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Leather sewing question

Dragana | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello all. Hopefully someone can advise me on what I need, to sew Leather.         Foot, needles, thread etc etc.

I want to make a denim and leather jacket. I notice that D&G are mixing leather with other fabrics. It looks good.

I finally finished my Marni inspired Jacket (Sarah Jessica Parker wore in Sex and the City for her book launch). If only I could get my designs on the screen. Oh well. one day I will learn that as well.

thank you in advance


  1. classysewer | | #1

    A long time ago, I took a class in French leather glove making. (It's the only pair of gloves I own that actually fit as I have very short little fingers.) To stitch the gloves together, I used a leather needle. I have also upholstered a sofa bed with upholtsery weight vinyl.

    You do not need as great a seam allowance with leather since it does not ravel. Also, the bigger the seam allowance on leather, the harder it is to manipulate, plus you are wasting the leather. You might want to consider cutting a narrower seam allowance on your fabric (to match the seam allowance on the leather) and perhaps serge around the edges to feel more secure. 

    Once you sew on leather or vinyl, you cannot rip and restitch satisfactorily. Therefore always practice your stitch length and thread tension on scrap pieces. I would mark my stitching line on the back with chalk, pencil or disappearing marker. To hold your pieces together, I found that small binder clips are useful. (Using pins within the seam allowance is not a good idea.)Clip any curves about  3/8" apart, no closer or further. This will give you the most flexibility in manipulating the leather without tearing it. Be careful not to clip too close to the seamline. Another good reason for marking the seam line.

    As to feet, a walking foot is very helpful as you get even feed on the top and bottom. I have also heard that a teflon foot might be helpful. I have a machine with an integrated walking foot and have used that in conjunction with a teflon foot. 

    There are leather needles for sewing machines (I found them in only 2 sizes - Schmetz). Leather needles have a 3 sided honed shank for cutting into the leather. The size of the needle depends upon the weight (thickness) of the leather.

    Thread weight would also depend on the thickness of the leather.  If you are sewing leather to denim, and the leather isn't too thick, I would think that what ever thread weight that works with the denim would be appropriate.

    Also, since you are sewing fabric and leather together, forget the leather needle and stick with a denim or sharp needle. (The leather needle will slash the denim.)

    Good luck.

    1. aliceb | | #2

      What type of thread to you suggest for leather?  I seem to remember reading cotton is not acceptable as the leather causes it to deteriorate.   I have a lovely bit of lambskin I wish to use in combo with a great boucle in a jacket.  Thanks for the information,


      1. classysewer | | #3

        For garment leather, use polyester thread. If heavier weight (for upholstery), use upholstery thread which is a heavier twisted thread of nylon. Both of these are synthetics and will not deterioate like natural fibers.

    2. Dragana | | #4

      thank you for all your tips. they are very helpful.

      I since found some articles in past issues of Threads.(very helpful)

      As soon as I have decided on a design, I will get going and will inform you of my accomplishments.

      thank you


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