Do you remember that episode of american horror story where Sarah Paulson sews a leather bag for herself? Well, this is going to be a mini-tutorial and extension of that episode!
Sewing a leather handbag isn’t a big deal if you know how to do so, but you should know that sewing leather requires special consideration or you’ll end up wasting too many pieces due to lots of mistakes.
Real and original leather is made from animal skin, most of the time from cattle skin, there are also other animal skin types used such as alligator and ostrich.
There is also faux leather which is more affordable and also looks great.
If you’re looking for high quality leather you should find leather made from animal skin because they’re more durable and are more beautiful.
Most of the leather you find in stores isn’t of high quality, they look beautiful though and you can choose to go with them especially when you’re new to sewing leather.
Don’t invest much, spend a little on cheap leather and learn how to stitch leather properly on your machine, then you can upgrade buying expensive leather made from exotic animal skin such as ostrich.
Real leather is more luxurious and has that kind of supple feel and also come with a good smell.
They’re more expensive, so be ready to spend some money before visiting the store when buying real leather.
Most companies that create high luxury leather products like jackets and coats use real leather.
Choosing Your Leather
The first step to sewing a leather handbag is to select the leather material you want work with.
You don’t just want to pick any beautiful design that comes in your way; you want leather that can be stitched on your machine.
If you’re using a regular sewing machine you need soft and thin leather, but if you have a leather sewing machine you can choose any leather you want.
Leather is sold per hide which is equivalent to 9×15 square feet.
Real leather can cost $25-$100 per hide, for handbag one hide can be enough.
If you’re a beginner you should always consider adding extra because you’ll make a lot of mistakes that will damage your leather garment.
Things To Consider When Working With Leather
You can’t treat leather like your regular fabric, using pins and wrong clips will leave permanent marks and so you have to consider every tool before using on leather.
If you’re going to use regular sewing machine to sew leather you have to replace some of the tools you currently have with new ones that are designed for stitching leather.
You first start by replacing your needle; leather needles are longer than your regular needle.
They come in different sizes and a special tip that go through leather without resistance.
Then you need to adjust your stitch length, regular sewing machines have short length while leather demands long stitch length.
Next thing to change is your thread; the thread used will play a big role on the look of your leather handbag.
Chose a thread that has matching color with your leather or still can use different color if that’s how you want your project to look.
The best thread that’s used on leather is either polyester or Nylon.
They’re more durable and stronger than ordinary cotton thread.
Cotton thread isn’t an option because it doesn’t look good on leather, it’s thin and it will degrade over time.
You have to stick with synthetic thread blends in order to get the perfect look for your handbag.
Faux Vs Real leather
Faux is manufactured using polyurethane and specific waxes so that it can look like real leather and most of the time it’s the one you’ll find in stores.
Faux also called “Pleather” which an abbreviation of polyurethane leather.
Regular sewing machine can stitch most of the Faux available in the market provided you’re not using many layers, like 5 or 7 layers.
Real leather is more expensive and might require leather sewing machine to sew your handbag.
Sewing leather handbag
If you have never stitch leather before it’s better to start with basic designs and patterns for your handbag.
It’s almost impossible as beginner to make complex patterns in your designs.
When you’re used to stitching leather garments you can then start working on fancy and more complicated designs.
Things can be complicated from the beginning but as you practice you’ll find that sewing leather is just like sewing cloth fabric.
Here are some steps you should follow in order to sew your leather handbag.
You need to choose a high quality leather tide with the least thickness; it should be about 2mm according to Sewingartisan.com.
Cut your designs and patterns on a piece of paper so that you can place on your leather and cut out the pieces.
If you don’t like the color of your leather you add custom color as well.
But it’s always advisable to choose leather that comes with your preferred color.
I know sometimes you see a leather pattern you don’t want to miss and would like to add your own colors.
You can do that as well, you need to find a good dye that won’t fade within few days.
Apply your preferred color using cotton and it’s better to scrape a piece and apply the paint as a test to see how the color looks before coloring the whole leather.
Note that there is special paint like acrylic paint which is designed for coloring leather materials only.
Lining add a great look to handbags and you need lining material like “pig Split” which comes in different color.
It’s perfect to use inside the bag and it’s very tough.
With a simple know how to guide you can come up with easy and beautiful handbag designs that will add amazing touch to your dress pair.
You’ll find endless of tutorials online that will show you all the skills you need to design a beautiful handbag.
your first project might not look as you thought it should be but after working on a few projects you’ll get used to working with leather smoothly.