Leather Hides • Suede Leather Hide
Guidelines for Sewing with Leather
Leather and leather scraps are some of the most versatile of all materials for gifts and crafts. Even beginners can be successful with many leather projects.
General Information on Leather
Leather comes in different weights. The heavier weight leathers, like the leather used for upholstery, are stiffer and not suitable
for most apparel. Apparel manufacturers often prefer to use the
hides of small animals like sheep and pigs, and these small animal
hides are generally referred to as skins. Unlike fabric, which is
sold by the yard, hides and skins are sold by the square foot.
They range from kid, approximately 3-6 square feet, to elk and
cow, 35-60 square feet.
Inspection of Leather Hides
Some of the surface defects which may occur in a whole hide.
A new hide is a very irregular shape and no two skins are ever the same. It is necessary to deal with each skin individually when marking out and cutting. There is a set routine for checking and marking out an upholstery hide. Careful inspection is absolutely vital, or expensive errors will almost certainly occur.
Inspect the surface of the skin very closely. Some of the natural and processing defects will almost certainly be evident.
Calculating Size of Leather Required for Your Project
The equivalency chart below can help you determine how much leather you will need for your project. You may want to add 10-15% as a fudge factor for irregularities in the skin surface.
Leather sq. ft.
1 yard of fabric
Needles for Sewing on Leather
You will need leather needles. Leather needles are different from regular sewing needles, because they have a thicker shaft and cutting point. They leave a small hole in the leather.
Care of Leather Items
Leather will give you years of service if you take some practical
precautions. You may want to spray your finished leather projects
with a leather protector. Never wash them. Always have them
professionally dry cleaned. Leather items should be stored flat.
Do not press leather with an iron even with a press cloth.
Never iron leather!