First hand sewn leather item!!

Dear readers,

It’s already in April and I am completely ignoring my only commitment for this year : to post twice more than in 2014 – 46 times. As a wannabe M&E expert, I have tell you we are NOT on track to meet the target!

I have been sewing, but since it’s 5 black or white t-shirts and a knit wrap dress, my excitement to take pictures and write about them is pretty low. On the other hand, I got something in the mail last thursday and it’s A LOT more exciting!!

craft-sha-leathercraft-leather-hand-sewing-set-light-15-tools-book-kit-[2]-242-p

It’s CraftSha Leather Light Hand Sewing Set and it’s pretty amazing, because 1/ I ordered it from Japan (GoodsJapan, in case you are interested) and 2/ it came in the mail. IN THE MAIL! You may know that there is no mail in Haiti… I’m not entirely sure how it all happened but I don’t care, it is soooo nice!! I also bought a very fancy knife, specially made for left-handed people, which makes me feel like a leather samurai!!

Leather case-3

Of course I had to start right away and The Old Man very conveniently lost the previous leather phone case I had made him, and the one before that was eaten/destroyed/buried in the garden by our dog (yes, adorable but evil). As the third iteration of the same pattern I made for his phone (Samsung Galaxy S4, I think), it is a lot more special because it’s hand sewn (the others were ruthlessly thrown under the machine) with Japanese tools.

Leather case-1

The set comes with a little booklet (in Japanese) for a basic project. I am very partial when it comes to all things Japanese  and this is no exception. The pictures are very clear so you can follow along without understanding a single sign. I always wonder how much I would learn if I could read Japanese instructions. Their diagrams are so informative already, I cannot help but think what is written must be mind blowing (like, this adjustable uniform shared by Very Purple Person).

Leather case-5

All the tools were a nice to use, but for such a small project you have a lot of steps. Cutting, filing, applying the thingie on the edges, glueing, punching holes, stitching (with 2 needles at a time), more edge thingie, etc. In addition, there is a learning curve. As you can see my stitching leaves a lot to be desired. What I learnt so far:

  1. Pay a lot of attention when punching the holes, 1mm difference is HUGE in the final look
  2. Hand sewing requires regular tension and not too much of it, the stitches tend look better a little looser.

Leather case-2The leather is a from a skin The Old Man bought years ago in Colombia. It’s softer than the vegetable tanned leather used in the booklet and dyed (but only the upper layer) so that also made a difference on how it reacted to the tools.

Leather case-4

It’s not my first time working with leather, I’ve made handbags, wallets and garments by machine, using a teflon foot and a special needle. Lately, I started to find the results disappointing since I don’t own a machine that would handle the thickness well. My industrial hates it, the feed dogs leave marks on the skin and it skips stitches. The home machine does a slightly better job but topstitching is very unpredictable. So hand sewing seems to be a good solution for small projects.

That’s it, the case is not perfect but I’m reasonably happy with it as a first project. I can’t wait to experiment more, maybe with a clutch for myself. Have you tried hand sewing leather or do you avoid it completely? Share your tips!!

15 thoughts on “First hand sewn leather item!!

  1. Ruth April 14, 2015 / 1:17 am

    Wow – that looks great! I haven’t made anything with leather yet, but the other day I bought a section of a hide. My machine gets through it with the leather needle – however I’m a bit scared about attempting a project that’s too big for it! Hand sewing could be just the thing! thanks for sharing!

    • Sewing Tidbits April 15, 2015 / 6:42 pm

      Thanks Ruth! For me it ususally depends on the number of layers, the thickness of the leather and the mood of the machine. Maybe it’s just me but sewing machines can get very moody!!

  2. kathryn April 14, 2015 / 1:54 am

    Wow this looks so good! It looks so beautifully crafted. I’ve never sewn with leather at all, it sounds difficult!

    • Sewing Tidbits April 15, 2015 / 6:40 pm

      Thanks Kathryn! I hope you give it a try, it’s not difficult at all!

  3. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) April 14, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    that looks great. I have only sewn leather on my old Singer machine and it worked well. but you are right about having to be careful of the feed dogs leaving marks. And how do the businesses operate there if there is no mail? just curious.

    • Sewing Tidbits April 14, 2015 / 2:39 pm

      Thanks Beth! Businesses use private freight/forwarding services and it gets quickly expensive…

  4. Alli April 14, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    I think that looks amazing! Your hand stitching looks good to me!🙂

  5. Sasha April 17, 2015 / 8:52 am

    omg … just discovered GoodsJapan …. now that’s a great shop to bookmark – free shiping everywhere! The set you bought looks impressive with its 15 tools wow. Love the phone cover you made – never tried sewing any leather goods myself but I’m so tempted to give it a try

  6. Fabric Tragic April 17, 2015 / 10:32 am

    Looks fabulous. No leather sewing yet but have grand plans. You should go and check out Sew Unravelled’s blog – Jillian has a couple of leather projects that she and her husband have made. Her husband especially has made a couple of truly beautiful things…..

  7. audrielle April 22, 2015 / 6:47 pm

    I just love leather. looks so luscious and soft

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