Hand Sewing
Up | Terms & Definitions | Leather Weights | Estimating Leather | Patterning in Leather | Leather Tips | Aging & Distressing | Tooling Leather | Machine Sewing | Hand Sewing | Leather Etch | Gilding Leather Carving | Faking Leather
LOTR Home | Pattern Modification & Tips | Fabric Techniques | Fabric Embellishment | All About Armor | Leather Working | Vambraces to Gloves | Weapon Tips | Shoe Tips | Metalwork and Crowns | Working with Clay | Casting Belt Buckle | Casting Small Props | Pipe Making Tips

The Hobbit
News 'n'  Exhibits
Quick Costumes
Making 'Em
Buy It
Search Us
Contact Us

v ----- Advertisement -----v

^ -----Advertisement ----- ^


Hand  Sewing Leather Tips

Here's a collection of notes to help you along.  This is just an intro.  Many places you where buy leather, you may also pick up a book on working with leather.

You do not want to pin pieces together before sewing. It leaves holes behind!  Unless that's what you wanted to do. See Machine Sewing Leather for tips on how to baste leather and extra info on seams.  Exact same info applies whether you are doing hand or machine work.

Hand stitching Leather Books and Web links


Do not use a regular sewing needle, get a leather needle.  This will be a thick needle with a 3 surface chiseled head with a very sharp point.

Sew with a thick padded thimble, or you will find the head of the needle going though your thumb, not forward though the leather.

Use a heavy waxed thread. 

Begin and finish stitches knotting the threads... do not backstitch though the leather... that will weaken the leather.

Punches and Chisels

All but the most shear leather will require a pre punched or cut hole for sewing.  (OK, if you're fingers are strong enough and you've got a sharp needle and good leather thimble, you might do it on your own... but... we're talking reality.) 

There are 3 and 4 pronged chisels and punches. Chisels cut a flat little line to thread the lacing though.  A punch is actually going to cut out a bit of leather.  There are various sizes.  What size and what you use to sew will vary based on weight of the leather and the desired look. 

You position the punch where you want you stitch line and hammer down.  Then you move on to the next position.  If you are really precise, you can move the punch completely beyond the previous punch.  However, most folks will position the first prong of the punch in position with the last cut.

Punches can be bough at many leather shops including Tandy Leather.

Consistency in Stitch

Hand Sewing.  Consistency..  This often sets my work from others.  Is a detail that is strive for in every single hand sewn item.  No matter where you start your stitch line or what direction you sew in while doing the "Saddle Stitch" repeat exactly what you start with.  Does not matter whether your needles pass over or pass under; sewing away from you or towards you.  AND.. where you position the needles while going thru the work.  No matter what way you sew.. do it consistently throughout!!! 

With consistency your sewn threads will look alike.  They will all lie in the same direction.  Inconsistent sewn threads look all out of kilter.  like a picket fence that has been put up by a drunken sailor.  Don't you always notice when a picket is missing from a fence or one that is out of position?

So lay the stitches down with the same consistently.  It definitely shows in the small details and finished product.

== Lazarus

Hang it!  Glue it!

I'm making some leather armor and Leather Weld is my new favorite thing!  I don't trust glue easily but now that I'm using it I'm wondering why I
would bother to sew or punch & lace things together.  It's made permanent bonds that I can't break - amazing stuff!  I only used it when flat leather surfaces met same.  I also sanded any smooth surfaces and put heavy books on the join.


The ultimate leather glue is Barge Cement.  This is used by professional shoe makers.  However, be careful... this is one of the most toxic glues out there.  Use it only outside, stay upwind... and if you're going to use much of it, wear a mask.  Wear gloves. 

Don't bring your project back inside until you can no longer smell the glue.

Small tubes of this glue can be found in some bigger craft shops, but you'll have to internet order to get any quality.  One store that's good to order the glue from is Foam Mart

v ----- Advertisement -----v

^ -----Advertisement ----- ^

Pattern Modification & Tips | Fabric Techniques | Fabric Embellishment | All About Armor | Leather Working | Vambraces to Gloves | Weapon Tips | Shoe Tips | Metalwork and Crowns | Working with Clay | Casting Belt Buckle | Casting Small Props | Pipe Making Tips

LOTR Home | Up | Terms & Definitions | Leather Weights | Estimating Leather | Patterning in Leather | Leather Tips | Aging & Distressing | Tooling Leather | Machine Sewing | Hand Sewing | Leather Etch | Gilding Leather Carving | Faking Leather

This page was last updated 04/22/08