Although I’m no expert by any means, just a little experimentation has proved to be a great learning experience in sewing leather. I thought it would be helpful to share some thoughts on sewing leather and other thick materials…and perhaps gets some tips from all of you as well! I have a cheapie sewing machine and the main reason I bought it was to sew paper and leather…two materials I work with all the time. The problem is that leather is slippery and much thicker than your normal fabric or paper. The industrial type sewing machines for leather costs a whole lot, so there was no way I was going to afford that. You can also buy some attachments to help leather run through your machine better, but my budget was tapped out.  I had to find a way to make it all work, with what I had. I was interested in free-hand sewing for decorative purposes and connecting pieces of leather together. There has to be a way…

So my biggest problems when sewing leather is the slipping. If you try to sew two pieces of leather together, they aren’t going to run through the machine at the same rate, causing slipping and crazy crooked sewing. It doesn’t matter how much control you think you have, it’s just not made to work that way…that’s probably why you are supposed to buy a proper foot and attachments, etc. I know some folks use big strong clips to hold leather together for sewing – this is because pinning leather would mean giant holes all over! I figured out that if I attached the leather to something sewable, then it work a lot better. For decorative purposes, I glue the leather onto cardstock and then sew freehand, crazy sewing style to get the stitched pattern. Pretty darn cool! It works very nicely in this way, no slipping or folding or mismatch of the two pieces ever!

Of course, I’m still a beginner at sewing, so I’m not sure if this is just my lack of skill or if it’s the leather or both! Sometimes the needle will get stuck or the thread will bunch up. Unfortunately with leather, if you make a mistake, it’s going to leave a trail of holes…

I’m not sure exactly how to properly seal up the start and end of stitches. I end up with lots of bunched up threads which is not so favorable. With a bit of testing, I had to make sure to use strong thread, a bigger or longer stitch length and just to go slowly. I have this tendency to keep going faster and faster when sewing – perhaps getting a bit too into it. No no… it’s sooo much better to just slow down and take it really slow, so you don’t make any mistakes or jam things up. Maybe that’s just sewing general…haha!

So after a bit of frustration and a lot of testing back and forth…I was able to decorate two pieces of leather and make them into journals. Just quickies with scrappy paper as well… pretty darn cute! I really like the freehand sewing for the texture it adds to the leather and the contrasting color.

In the end, I’ve learned that it just takes a bit of experimentation and adjustment, trial by error style to sew whatever you want with a regular machine. Practice really helps, so you learn how to use your own machine and the quirks of it all. If any of you have tips, please pass them along…I’m hoping to learn more about sewing in general as well as for my purposes of leather and paper crafts. Thanks for stopping by, ciao ciao!

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