The Sewing Place

Sewing with leather

Ellabella

Sewing with leather
« on: October 08, 2020, 15:37:40 PM »
My DD bought me a leather skin for my birthday, it’s beautifully soft and supple.

I want to eventually make a small handbag but will start on something smaller like a card wallet.

Most of the patterns I look at are for fabric, I assume I treat the leather as I would a piece of fabric but don’t need to consider grain etc.

CraftyIrish

Re: Sewing with leather
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2020, 20:01:59 PM »
I was making straps for my crochet bag just a hour ago with fake leather and the bottom was pulling to much and pleating it, so I used paper under it and then ripped the paper off when I was done.
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RJR_38

Re: Sewing with leather
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2020, 21:34:00 PM »
I would look for a pattern that has also been designed as suitable for PU (vinyl) or cork. These materials are thicker than fabric and so some patterns may not be suitable. They also don’t need to be hemmed and turned in the same way and you can (but don’t have to) have raw edges

Goth Gardiner

Re: Sewing with leather
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2020, 09:34:07 AM »
I would look for a pattern that has also been designed as suitable for PU (vinyl) or cork. These materials are thicker than fabric and so some patterns may not be suitable. They also don’t need to be hemmed and turned in the same way and you can (but don’t have to) have raw edges

Indeed.  I've made a few small shoulder bags out of both fabric, and out of PVC.  The PVC ones are noticeably smaller than the fabric ones.  I'd make up a PVC version of your preferred pattern before cutting into your leather.
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Mr Twingo

Re: Sewing with leather
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2020, 10:11:06 AM »
TLDR:
Use a handcrank machine!

My DD bought me a leather skin for my birthday, it’s beautifully soft and supple.

Do you know what type of skin it is, how it was processed, and what it's thickness is?

Different skins have different properties and thus are used for different products. Just as you wouldn't use hessian for lingerie, you wouldn't use bridal leather for a handbag. I have a couple of un-dyed pigskins which are as you describe.

The softest, most pliable leathers, tend to be chrome tanned. Tougher leathers are veg tanned.

Quote
I want to eventually make a small handbag but will start on something smaller like a card wallet.

Have a look at the videos uploaded by these two leatherworkers:
https://www.youtube.com/c/at%C3%B6lyederi/
https://www.youtube.com/c/bitchen/

Bitchen makes some of his patterns available free of charge; I use his wallet and purse templates as they are, in my opinion, the best designs.

Quote
Most of the patterns I look at are for fabric, I assume I treat the leather as I would a piece of fabric but don’t need to consider grain etc.

Yes, and no.

Yes, there's no grain to consider. But no, you can't treat it quite the same as fabric. Leather is tough to sew. Most domestic machines will cope with thinner leathers, but they rely on speed for penetrating power. I prefer to sew leather by hand, but if I were using a machine, I would use a vintage hand crank, purely because I would have far greater control over both the stitching and in feeding the leather under the needle.



Keep that, it might come in useful.

Ellabella

Re: Sewing with leather
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2020, 21:01:58 PM »
@Mr Twingo its from Pittards.

The label says WR100X Dress .5mm.

I realise it’s very fine and I can’t use it to give structure as I could with a thicker leather. So I assume I look for a pattern designed for fabric that gets its structure from something like HW interfacing and just replace the fabric with the leather.  One of my ambitions post Covid is to do a workshop to learn to sew the more gutsy stuff.

I’ve started on those videos you recommended, they are fascinating.

LeilaMay

Re: Sewing with leather
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2020, 10:48:15 AM »
Leather of that thickness may be intended for work like gloves - although I'm not sure that info helps you very much   :D