Saddle Stitch Skill Unlocked

I’ve been meaning to do leatherwork for a long time, but hadn’t let myself approach it. I’m inspired by some projects I’ve seen, and I turned up a few free patterns to try. Eventually I’ll design my own, but picked this as a first project:

Cutting the leather was easy enough, but I didn’t spend enough time de-sooting, especially in the stitching holes. I lightly dyed with a few applications of coffee, and then figured out saddle stitch with the fancy gadget I bought on Amazon:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049W6XRE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00

This is the result:

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Nice!

Those tools are handy… but just using 2 needles works well for traditional stitching–and a “stitching pony” if you start doing a lot!

Though I admit only watching lots of videos in which they do hand sew only (some really meditative ones out there) but I started my leather work business about 15 years ago machine stitching. And yeah, cleaning off the soot–most of my cutting i still do by hand (via rotary cutter)–but some designs that I have it is easier, even with the cleaning, with the GF (but I don’t need the stitching holes!).

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Nicely done! Sometimes, depending on the level of char and the specific leather, sealing with Resolene or Leather Sheen can help minimize the soot issue (both Fiebings products, one is a wipe on acrylic, the other is a solvent based spray). Caveat: different spots on the same hide will still char/cut differently with the same settings so it really is hit and miss.

If one is near a Harbor Freight and wants to give the fancy gadget a whirl they have a knock off version for under $7. https://www.harborfreight.com/quick-stitch-sewing-awl-91814.html

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Your piece came out great!

One thing I do about the char in the holes is to take a piece of waste thread and run it through every hole before stitching the pieces together. It takes a bit of time but it does knock out a good amount of the char. Otherwise the char will stain your stitching thread.

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I like that idea. On the few little leather projects I’ve tried I just defaulted to black thread, but it still drags a little smut out of the holes.

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