Sewing leather or vinyl (faux leather) trim when sewing bags and clutches can add a deluxe look to your finished product. Did you know that you can sew vinyl and leather on your home sewing machine? With a few simple tools and adjustments, you can get professional looks for your purse sewing patterns or clothing sewing patterns at home.
SEWING LEATHER & SEWING VINYL
1. Choose the correct thickness of leather/vinyl
Choose a leather/vinyl thickness that your machine can handle. For parts such as pockets, just use the leather/vinyl on top of the flap and fabric underneath. For vinyl choose thin to medium thicknesses. For leather choose sheepskin or thinner goat skin.
2. Use Leather Needles
Leather needles are sharp and pierce through the vinyl or leather eliminating skipped stitches. Schmetz, Singer, Hemline (Klass) and Birch brands all manufacture specialized leather needles.
3. Machine Foot
When sewing leather or vinyl, use a Teflon foot or roller foot. These stop the vinyl or leather sticking to the bottom of the foot and keeps your tension and stitches even.
Personally, I think Teflon feet are much less bulky and easier to use as the open toe makes it easier to see where you are stitching. They are available cheaply for most makes of machine. I sewed leather for many years using the Janome ultra glide foot(affiliate link). You can see in my photo below how well loved it is (middle foot).
4. Tissue Paper
If you can’t get a Teflon or walking foot, place tissue paper over the leather or vinyl and stitch through all layers. You can then rip it out when you are finished. Just be careful when you are removing the tissue paper so you don’t cause loops in your stitching.
5. Get a hammer
You can’t iron vinyl or leather, so where the pattern calls for seams to be pressed, gently hammer the edges instead. The best kind of hammer to use is one with a very flat hitting surface.
A hammer is also great for reducing bulk in seams. Just hit gently to compress the vinyl to make it easier for your machine to go over. Stop the hammer marking the leather/vinyl by putting a cotton cloth in between before striking.
6. Use a quality thread
When sewing leather, use a strong polyester thread that won’t break. For topstitching and seams that need to be durable, use a thicker or specialized leather thread. Don’t use cotton thread in leather as the chemicals tend to rot the thread over time.
7. Don’t use pins
Pin marks will show in your leather or vinyl so use a double sided tape or glue to hold pieces in place. If you are using double sided tape, use a quality brand that won’t gum up the needle or don’t place the tape directly under your stitching line. Alternatively, pin within the seam allowance
8. Use longer stitches
Shorter stitches will cause the vinyl to perforate so when straight stitching try a length of 3.0.
Zig-zag makes a great decorative look and holds down any raw edges. Try a zig-zag with a width of 5.0 and a length of 2.5.
So grab a scrap of leather or vinyl and start practicing!
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- Topstitching Flaps
- Free Makeup Roll Pattern
Learn how to sew with more fabrics
- Sewing Wool
- How to Sew Silk
- Sewing Fur
- Sewing Denim
- How to Sew Lace
- Sewing Leather
- How to Sew Stretch Fabric
- Sewing Sheer Fabrics
- Types of Interfacing