9 Tips for Sewing on Leather

Sewing on leather, whether real or faux, can present some challenges, but with these tips, you can achieve professional looking results.

Leather Bracelet- Photo courtesy of Bernina Cutwork Embroidery in Leather- photo courtesy of Husqvarna-Viking

*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.

Dual Duty XP All-purpose

*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.

Non-stick Presser foot- Courtesy of Pfaff

*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.

Lapped Seam Buttonhole with Point-de-paris Stitch and bartack