The Sewing Place

Camper curtains

slaber

Camper curtains
« on: February 20, 2021, 19:20:01 PM »
I'm a newbie to the site and to sewing. My machine is nothing special. My project idea is to sew leather curtains for a camper. I sewed the curtains that are installed now and have also sewn a box cushion used as a dog bed. The new curtains will be flat panel and use snaps to attach to the wall. Planning on using furniture leather from a recycled couch. What kind of thread should I use? Is there an insulation product that could be used? Is this a crazy Idea? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Kad

Re: Camper curtains
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2021, 08:33:28 AM »
There are others more used to sewing leather than I am, but I don't think that a 'nothing special' sewing machine will cope at all well with recycled furniture leather even if you use a leather needle. I've sewn very fine leather on my domestic machine, but would hesitate to try anything thicker.
Not so much patchwork as personal dressmaker to DD

Renegade Sewist

Re: Camper curtains
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2021, 09:13:15 AM »
@slaber welcome fellow Pacific Rim dweller! Can you tell us what make and model of machine you have? That'll help us determine if your machine is robust enough for your intended project.

Upholstery leather is similar in weight to some garment leather. You can probably sew two layers on most machines. Definitely use a leather needle.

Nylon Upholstery thread would be my first choice, polyester my second. Absolutely not cotton as the tannins can weaken it.

You'll need special snaps and possibly rivets to strengthen near corners. Or not, I just really like using rivets. To get your top and bottom hems as well as the sides nice and smooth looking I'd suggest a little glue to hold them down. Contact cement or barge cement, neatly applied before you sew them.

I have no idea how leather will hold up in marine air. Or with a lot of sunshine if you'll get much. I'm in central California, the sun is brutal and I'd expect the curtains to be crispy within a year. Since it's recycled leather your cost will be low so give it a try.

slaber

Re: Camper curtains
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2021, 20:34:56 PM »
Thanks for the speedy reply. My machine is a Brother XR3340. The gluing tip was a surprise but it makes sense. If I use pins, will the pin holes show? A simple test could answer that, just being lazy. Are you talking about the attachment snaps that have one part screwed to the wall and the other riveted together with the fabric in-between? That's what I used on the first set of curtains. I didn't even think about the effects of weather on the material. This will be a real test of the leather idea because I'm a snowbird, cool/wet PNW. to sunny hot CA. desert.

Renegade Sewist

Re: Camper curtains
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2021, 21:37:29 PM »
Pins are out. Leather is unforgiving, any punctures are permanent. I was thinking of different snaps but they also rivet to the material. I love rivets, any kind, into any material. I digress. You're going to want to test your hems on scraps. You might be pleased with the leather just folded over and then stitched. It will probably be a bit rounded and thicker along the edge. I prefer flat with a smooth fold. You'll either need the leather glue or a narrow double sided tape. Ideally you apply it closer to the fold than the edge so you don't have to sew through it. I would be using a mallet to gently pound the fold flat and get good adhesion.

Found this article on doing snap in curtains for boats. Insulation might extend the life of the leather but I'm just guessing. You could also buy a bottle of leather conditioner. Many of those also have a cleaner built in or one you use first. Since you've recycled the leather giving it a nice cleaning before you start is probably a good idea.

That machine is likely fine for two layers with a leather needle. To eliminate bulk at the corners I'd cut a notch out so when you fold to the back it looks mitered. Should work OK.

b15erk

Re: Camper curtains
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2021, 12:01:31 PM »
Sailrite, is a good source of videos and information for outdoor upholstery - they make interiors for boats.

Their videos have been really helpful to me for various techniques.

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.