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sewing with leather

Lyda | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am having a horrible time trying to sew a leather strap (doubled) to a fabric handbag. Any tips?


  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    Are you using a needle designed to sew leather?

  2. KharminJ | | #2

    What exactly is happening? Any number of problems are possible - each gets a different sort of solution...


  3. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #3

    Hi Lyda! Could you describe the problems in more detail please? Cathy

    1. Lyda | | #4

      thanks so much for responding to my email question. I have been trying to sew leather straps to a fabric body with no success. There are 2 layers of leather, one layer of upholstery fabric and one layer of interfacing. My stitches skip or won't sew at all. I am using a regular sewing machine and have adjusted the tension everyway. I have tried leather needles (all sizes), regular needles, topstitching thread, poly thread and rayon thread.
      I have printed off hints and watched videos online.
      I have taped the leather together with double sided tape, used powder on the leather to give the leather an easier sew.
      Frustration doesn't even come close.

      1. starzoe | | #5

        There are occasions when nothing but hand sewing will do. At Tandy years ago I acquired a device with a needle, a handle and a thread bobbin (all in one) that has seen a lot of use.

      2. emperorny | | #6

        You have to use proper needle for leather and also special foot for it. if not it wont work

      3. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #8

        There are a lot of things that could be causing the problem. I suspect the material is too thick for your machine to handle, as another poster has suggested. It may be too bulky as well. You seldom see leather straps sewn to purses if you study them in the stores. Most are rivetted on, or on D rings as another poster has suggested. Perhaps a rethink on how to attach the straps is needed for this project? Maybe a leather connector that is only a single layer with the D ring can be sewn on, and the strap connected to that? Just something to think about. Good Luck. Cathy

  4. marymary | | #7

    Lyda, sometimes you just can't do it, even with an industrial.  I had to take a leather handbag to a shoe repair shop to get a strap stitched back on after I shortened it.  My industrial is for fine to medium weight fabric and would not sew through the leather.  None of my home machines, even with a leather needle, would sew this particular leather.

    Since I like to make handbags and want to use leather straps, I found a solution, I think...rivets.  I have not tried them yet because I haven't gotten that far on my current project.  I found the rivets at Michaels.  The selection wasn't great, but it is a place to start.  If I like the results, I will probably order different rivets from Tandy.  You sew a "D" ring to the fabric hoop and fasten the leather to the "D" ring with a rivet.

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