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Sewing Leather

stitchagain | Posted in General Discussion on

I’ve asked a few questions lately on this forum and recieved for the most part very useful answers, but so it goes it seems like I have “difficult” projects piling up.

I have been asked to sew some leather bags from the remains of a couch.  It would be a business project for me.  I have access to a couple of industrial machines but am suprised that it is not more easily sewn.  The leather is heavier than clothes leather but not that heavy.  Estimate 2 oz?  Sewing it would involve going threw 4 layers. 

The problems I am having is the stitch length of the industrial is not long enough or thread breaks, bobbin knots.  I have leather needles for my home machine and old home Singer, jean wt thread.  But all the variables are not working.

Maybe there is something obvious I am missing

Thanks for reading this post


  1. User avater
    paddyscar | | #1

    You may have identified the problem, in that the stitch length is not long enough for going through 4 layers of leather.  While the needle is going down and up again, the machine is trying to feed forward, so I'm thinking that may be the root of the problem.  There are not that many around anymore, but if you could check the stitch lengths used on leather by shoe repair shops, or even on a leather baseball glove or a leather jacket, you'll see the difference.  Sewing leather in short stitches will have the effect of perforating and cause it to rip along the stitch lines.

    Have you tried using upholstery thread?  Is the needle the correct length for your machine?  Could you use an alternative construction style?  For example, self-piping or flat fell seaming?  These would cut down on the number of layers you are sewing through and could solve the problem, because you don't need to worry about the leather unravelling as you do with regular fabric.


    1. stitchagain | | #2

      Thanks for the suggestions.

      The leather is already pieced (because it was a couch) so that adds to the layers.

      I have found a industrial machine that is available for use.  I am going to look to get some needles and possible thread.  The thread I have is polyester, use-jean topstitching.


  2. Susan -homedecsewing | | #3

    same weight thread top and bobbin? Walking foot machine, longer stitch length ? re-thread ?sometimes the needlle is to go in sideways ? depends on machine.

    1. stitchagain | | #4

      "same weight thread top and bobbin? Walking foot machine, longer stitch length ? re-thread ?sometimes the needlle is to go in sideways ? depends on machine."


      I am using same thread top and bottom.  I don't have a walking foot for either of the the machines but it seems to be working OK.  If anything the stitch length is too long (5 1/2 stitches per inch or 7). 

      rethread could always be a problem, needle size could be too.  The leather needles I got for my old Elna have been tried on my old Singer and a friend's Industrial Singer with variable success.

      Yesterday I found the Industrial singer manual online so that helps a lot.  It is somewhat hard to see the threading pictures but it did explain needle size and position and stitch length altering so I hope that next time I try I'll have a better time of it.

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