+ How to sew with leather and supplies….first project later today!

Get ready people, this leather week is going to be so fun! I have been receiving a lot of emails of your leather tutorials and outfits...keep them coming! I will post my first tutorial later on today, but first I will answer some questions of how to sew leather and what supplies are needed. 
I’m not a professional on how to sew leather, but through the experience I’ve had it is shockingly easier than I thought. If you are using thinner pieces of leather real or fake, then you should be fine using your standard sewing machine! Hence why all of these sewing machine projects this week are done with thinner or fake leather. You can use baby powder to help relieve some of the stickiness leather can create with your presser foot. 
You can buy leather at any leather factory near you (if you are in Utah, try Tandy’s), you can buy it in remnants if you don’t want to buy the whole hide. You can get a decent size piece for $5. Or as a reader said you can buy scraps at Michaels – they have it in ‘sheets’ or in bags by the pound”. I used a lot of fake stuff because it was cheaper, you can buy it by the yard, and it was found at my local fabric store. 
You can’t use pins to hold the leather in place (unless there is a seam allowance) because it will create unwanted holes, that is why double sided tape (or just normal tape) or paperclips or alligator clips would be a great replacement.
And for those of you who don’t want to use the sewing machine…tacky or leather glue and/or a needle and thread could be used for most of these projects! YAY!
1. marking pen – to help place the leather to to cut out the leather pieces.
2. double sided tape – to help keep the leather in place as you sew it, pins will just create unwanted holes.
3. pins – when sewing something with seam allowance, this is only the time to use these with leather or to help mark where leather needs to go if you don’t have a pen (that was me).
4. needle and synthetic thread – a lot, and I mean most of these projects can be done with just a needle and thread.
5. leather – you can buy the real stuff or the fake stuff.
6. scissors – something that can cut through leather nicely, I used my sewing scissors which is probably a no no, but you can use pretty much any scissor that will cut nice and even. 
7. rotary cutter – to help cut the pieces really even. Unless you are good with the scissors, then that will do!
8. necklace chain – only if you are planning on making one of these from a tutorial I will be posting later this week. 
9. tacky glue – or leather glue, but this should work. This will be for no-sew projects of this week.
10. sewing machine – you can use your standard sewing machine as long as you are confident that your machine can do it. Pretty much all of these projects will involve a thin soft leather so you should be fine. Just make sure to get the right needles for the job.
11. baby powder – sewing with certain kinds of leather, especially the fake stuff, can be quite sticky on the presser foot. A dash of baby powder will help the machine glide a little more smoothly along the leather. Then it will wipe right off.
12. leather machine needles – these are more heavy duty needles for leather, it will make better insertions into the leather and last longer. 
13. rotary mat – this is if you want some of these projects to have a perfect cut (unless you feel skilled with the scissors) or if you need a little help with measurements and proportions. 
If you guys have any tips to add PLEASE do – I will update!


  1. I’m actually starting my first leather project this week…I love the tip about the baby powder! I would have never thought of that!

    xx Ashleigh

  2. As far as buying leather, you can buy scraps at Michaels – they have it in ‘sheets’ or in bags by the pound. It’s great for accessory projects!

  3. Do you put the baby powder on the machine where the foot rests? And how much? Can’t wait to see what you post next!

  4. Ooh, I’m so excited about this! I have some scrap fake leather that’s just been sitting waiting on me to figure out what to do with it and how!

  5. So excited about this. I just cracked open my new leather sewing needles to finish one pretty nifty clutch… email and tutorial coming your way tomorrow :)

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  6. baby powder is GENIUS! always lvoe these 😀

  7. I’d never heard of baby powder. That’s certainly cheaper than a Teflon presser foot if you don’t have one on hand!

    I’ve got a few to add to the mix! I posted a couple tips when I did my ikea tote hack (http://melissaesplin.com/2012/08/sewing-ikea-tote-sewing-leather/), here are my top tips:

    use a walking foot
    use bulldog clips instead of pins
    iron seams flat by covering leather with cotton and pressing on high. You might not want to steam if it’s suede.

  8. Thanks for the tip, especially with the baby powder! i’m finishing up a top with pleather parts in it, so this should be helpful!

    naana :)

  9. Yes!! Baby powder!! I would have never thought of that! Thank you! I almost threw my sewing machine in the trash the first and last time I messed with vinyl because it kept sticking. By the way, I have a CG550 too. Oh and it’s currently skipping stitches, the timing is off. Any tips on how to fix that? If you have any it would be highly appreciated. I guess it needs a tune up anyway. Love your blog. You are the reason I’m not afraid to buy size 16 pants at the thrift store and alter them.


  10. A washable glue stick helps hold everything in place too when sewing. I used it on a pleather applique and it turned out perfectly

  11. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this site. I’m hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site now 😉