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Monday, August 16, 2010

Tips to sew leather,faux leather,rexin

I have been making purses out of leather off late.Few in thick rubber material too.......................& in the process have gained a few insights which I would love to share with you all.This is my latest project:)
  • First thing you need to know is that you can sew leather or any thick material on your regular sewing machine,if you want to make just a few pieces for yourself.You don't need any special equipment! Believe me I am sewing everything on a 33 yr old fossil!   And it works just fine:)  Of course if you want to make purses on a commercial scale it is wise to invest in an industrial sewing machine.
  • Few good sewing manufacturers are Bernina, Brother, Merrow, White sewing machine co, Pfaff , Singer, and many more.
  • If you use your regular sewing machine,you have to  change the needle.Go to your local craft store & ask for a thicker needle which can sew through leather.The needle must be compatible with your machine though.To understand more about machine needles,go through my post on needles.
  • Next thing to remember is that you can not pin the patterns otherwise it leaves unsightly needle marks on the material ,so opt for some pattern you can do without pinning and begin with a simple pattern.Do not backstitch as the needle tears the leather.Tie the threads instead.
  • As I said the needle will leave marks if you take out the seams but do not worry..............its not something set in stone,if you use your seam ripper carefully,you can  open up a seam at least once:)
  • Next thing to remember is when you start sewing set the machine setting to the longest stitch,but remember to switch it back to normal when you are sewing the lining.Its a pain changing needles every time,so I would suggest you make the lining & pockets before you tackle the outer purse & the straps.So you wont have to change needles again while doing the final assembly!      
  •  If you want to add some pleats like I have you can use clips to hold them in place.Double sided tape too is a good idea!
  • You can get leather in cow skin,pig skin,lamb skin & snake skin.Cow skin & snake skin are ideal for purse making given their durability & availability in large piece size.
  • Be careful while sewing,do it real slowly,I would suggest starting on some cheap material before you start on your project so that you will get a hang of it.
  • Use thick thread,you can use embroidery threads too!     The finish comes out beautifully & they are much stronger.I have used tatting thread for this red purse:).Go through my post on threads for further details.
  • Thin leather projects may not require an adjustment of your thread tension, but as your leather thickens your thread tension should decrease. If your thread is breaking often or you are missing stitches try adjusting your tension.
  • If you feel there is a lot of drag while sewing leather,i.e it is not sewing smoothly,use talcum powder or baby powder instead of buying a teflon foot;)  It's cheap & most importantly it works!!! Sprinkle a little on your work surface or dab the leather piece in the powder, ensuring you remove any excess. You will feel you are stitching butter:) Remember to dust the bobbin area properly once you are done.
  • Don't expect miracles the first time:)   You may screw up a few times before you get the grip of sewing leather;)
  • And last but not the least.................if you sew anything after reading this,send me the pics:))

3 comments:

Lia

Well, I have the needle...I even bought the threads and the special bernina foot! hahahahaha so..all I've got left to do is cut out my leather and try it...it sure is scary, though! :)

Holly Hock

Thank you so much! I was having trouble with the material sticking to my regular sewing machine foot when sewing faux leather. I tried sprinkling some baby powder on the material and it made all the difference! Would have never thought of that..

threedresses

Awesome tips. I'm so nervous to start so thanks for posting this!

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