Moroccan Pouf | Leather Joints

I’m working on a Moroccan Pouf design and posting some early prototypes. Still iterating on a few things, particularly how to make the leather joints stronger. Feedback/ideas appreciated.

Materials: NYC-based. I went to District Leather for the hide and SIL for thread/sewing supplies.

Prototype 1: Took 4 hours to sew so I decided to focus on a no-sew seam.

Prototype 2: Panels reduced from 16 to 8. Removed sewing with a laser-cut joint. The joints are interior, which concealed it well, but caused issues when stress was applied.

Prototype 3: First 1:1. 16 panels. Joints are exterior, which resolved the interior and increased strength of joints.

Prototype 3: Pleased with how the “look” turned out. Had to unfortunately end up gluing the 1:1 since the joints didn’t fully hold under my pandemic poundage (used “Boot Glue”). Working on a new seam that’s stronger. Goal is to make a zero-waste stitch that uses only leather, and no glue.

Really enjoyed using a traditional Moroccan design to make a larger volume, and recognizing that the laser bed size constraints are similar to the available leather in one cow hide.

I’ve mocked up about 5 different joint designs, but haven’t quite gotten there to make them strong enough.


This looks really promising! Thanks for sharing the learning curve and journey with us.


I love seeing your various iterations! Those exterior joins on #3 look awesome! I hope you get it exactly how you want it.


That looks great. Thanks for sharing! Lots of work!


I would love to see a top view of that first one, hours of sewing aside, it looks really cool. (Okay, they all do, but I love the 3D-ness of that one!)


What a gorgeous and wonderful project! :clap:t4::clap:t4::clap:t4:
Really love the look of your no-sew joints.

The traditional super strong leather adhesive is Barge contact cement - it’s very reliable and very toxic, emitting lots of nasty solvents. Do NOT let your pregnant friends anywhere near it.

Lately - many leather workers are switching to Aquilim SG or 315 (don’t get GL, it’s temporary) which is waterbased, no-VOC and almost entirely not toxic. The first US supplier was Lisa Sorrel but many other leather suppliers (including District Leather) and sometimes Amazon often carry it now.

Any of the good leather cements require pressure for a good bond. For your joints - binder clips or bulldog clips would work nicely. If the joints are stretching during use that can cause adhesives to fail. Shoemakers and upholsterers often add stabilizing tapes (often called topline, reinforcement or back seam tape) inside leather seams and edges to limit stretching. Lisa Sorrel carries those as well - you can also find them at any good shoe repair supply or sometimes Amazon.


Have you considered, instead of a T and Slot joint, doing all Slots and running a piece of leather cord up through them? I don’t know if that would cross into “sewing” though!

I also love the look on the external stitched one!


Thanks! I think a leather cord would be a good compromise…I’m going to tinker a bit more to avoid that though so that I can keep it a single piece of material. Not sure why I’m hung up on that.

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Appreciate the tips!

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Oh I absolutely know that feeling!

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Thanks everyone for the feedback and tips. Super motivating and helps to keep this project going. I made some kind of a “flap stitch” that may solve the problem and not require glue or sew.

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.38.51 PM

To insert, I curved the T-member of the stitch to be parallel to stress upon insertion. It’s a strong joint and I’m confident it’ll hold against body weight and air pressure.

The interesting thing about the first 1:1 prototype: a few joints failed when I sat on the pouf, but many more failed when I picked up the pouf and dropped it. Lots of air pressure created inside the pouf (packed with off-season clothes)…hopefully the new joints will relieve air pressure with those flaps in addition to being a stronger joint.

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.42.56 PM

Failed stitch designs. Yowzers!

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.39.13 PM

Joint candidate for next 1:1 prototype: The “funky flap stitch”

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.39.02 PM

Mated with its partner, pre-assembly.

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.39.07 PM

Quick pinch to insert the T portion into the flap.

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.38.51 PM

After pinched T inserted, straighten the T again and scoot it to nestle into the rectangular slot. The separate rectangular slot enables the flap to lay flush with the surface and make the T flush too. Rectangular slot is much tighter than v.1 so the hold’s stronger.

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.52.44 PM

View from other side.

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 5.39.18 PM

Sharpie mockup to see what this will look like on the full model. I can vibe with it — eventually it could work into a custom patterning, common in the traditional Moroccan poufs.

Posting here to archive. Welcoming feedback. Will post updates.

Trying to make this stupid easy to assemble so it can be a DIY kit. This is fun!


What a great project and thank you for all the detailed analysis. Looking forward to the evolution of this design.



I know some others have experimented with similar joining techniques, e.g.:

I haven’t done much with this sort of thing and, don’t know if this is of any use. You likely have seen it already but, just in case.


Wow what a great library/contribution from the developer!

I just tested the interlocking stitch. Really impressive and elegant…wasn’t quite the hold I need for the pouf, but I’ll definitely keep this in mind for future projects that are lighter on material stress. Thanks so much for sharing, I hadn’t seen this before :smiley:


I wondered.

Many years ago when I delved into bootmaking I used Barge. Then a few years later was working some other leather project and used Barge but it seemed to have had the formula changed and it wasn’t nearly as strong.

Have they changed back to the original formula? My understanding at the time was they had changed the formula to make it less toxic (at least that was what I was told at the time when I complained to some other leatherworkers about the cement’s holding power).

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These are all nice, the exterior joints look really cool and unusual. I would also love to see a top down on the first one. This is a really cool project!


Original formula is still out there, but can’t be shipped to a lot of places. They have a supposedly less toxic version that’s more widely available and the general consensus is that it isn’t as good. I’ve been very happy with the performance of the Aquilim glues instead.


Good to know. I’m gonna have to bootleg Barge “classic” :smiley: (Old ways die hard, but I should try your alternative just to see if I really do need to go driving across state lines to get the good old stuff.)


Wow. Looks very cool!