Leathercraft Tips

Hand Stitching Leather with an Awl and Two Needles

hand stitchingHand stitching Leather with an awl and two needles is a “must-have” skill set for any aspiring leather craftsman.  This method allows for maximum efficiency when it comes to having to hand stitch any project.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, and hand stitching is not any different.  Many people prefer to use a dremel tool with a small drill bit or a set of pricking irons.  These tools work for making the holes when hand stitching, but in my opinion they do not save any time nor create as pretty of a stitch.

In this video, Hand Stitching Leather with and Awl and Two Needles, I show you what I know about hand stitching leather the traditional way.  I prefer this method not for maintaining traditional skill, but more for its efficiency and accuracy when hand stitching leather projects.  This method allows for the best possible stitch and for me I find it to be the quickest method.

When it comes to traditional skills that we as craftsmen should have, I believe that proper hand stitching techniques are mandatory.  Even if you prefer to use a dremel tool or pricking irons, I would suggest that you give this method a try and see if you find it useful.

For sewing supplies used in the video, visit our friends at Maker’s Leather Supply.

And if you have been hand stitching leather and would are interested in getting your first sewing machine, then be sure and check out this recent video we did, “Cobra Sewing Machine Options with Maker’s Leather Supply,” where Aaron and I visit about the different machines Leather Machine Co. offers and which one is the best option for your first sewing machine.

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Basket Stamp Around an Object or Figure the Easy Way

basket stamp leatherLearning to Basket Stamp leather is relatively straightforward and one of the first decorative skills we learn in leatherwork.  This tool and the design that it creates has been around for well over a century and works great to cover a project quickly and easily.

One of the more challenging tasks that come up in some projects is Basket Stamping around a brand, figure or object that is in the middle of a piece.  Many times this can lead to a pattern that becomes off course and just doesn’t seem to work.  This can lead to a project, or at least a piece of it, having to be remade to correct the mistake in the pattern.

I have created this Quick Tip video to show you how I work around this issue.  This video will show you my technique for insuring that my basket stamp, or any other geometric pattern, will maintain its course around an object and be correct.

If you have had trouble with this in the past, then check out this video and see if this little tip can help you on future projects.

Here is a video we did in the past on “Basket Stamping a Leather Belt Quickly” if you want to see a little more on basket stamping leather.

Basket Stamp design has been, and will continue to be, one of the most attractive and popular geometric designs when it comes to leatherwork.  No matter if it is on a belt, wallet, holster, or even a saddle, this conservative pattern seems to appeal to the majority of consumers.  Learning to run one of these stamps can have a positive impact on the products that you design.

Cobra Sewing Machine Options with Maker’s Leather Supply

cobra sewing machineSelecting a Cobra Sewing Machine or any leather sewing machine can be challenging whether you are a first time buyer or have years of experience.  Doing the proper research to insure that you get the best possible machine to do the job you need it to do takes time and patience.

When I was in college doing leather work on the side, I hand stitched everything that I made.  Hand stitching is a valuable and necessary skill that all LeatherHeads should take the time to learn and master.  But there does come a point for most of us where a leather sewing machine becomes a much needed piece of equipment for our business.

There are so many different brands, sizes and styles of machines out there.  Selecting the best machine for your needs can be daunting.  The great news?  There is tons of information on the internet as well as helpful and knowledgeable people waiting to help with any questions or concerns that you may have when making the upgrade from sore fingers and long hours to powered sewing machines.

We recently took some time to visit with the folks at Maker’s Leather Supply so that we could help you answer some questions on some of the machines that they offer.  Maker’s Leather Supply deals in machines for the leather industry by Leather Machine Co.  These machines offer the industry’s best quality and customer support hands down.

I have been using the Cobra Class 4 sewing machine in my shop for right at 2 years now and I couldn’t be happier with its performance and the support I have gotten when I have had questions or concerns.

In this video, Aaron and I visit about some of the different options available as well as our opinion on buying your first machine if you are at that point in your Leathercraft journey.

Check out this video and if you get a chance check out Makers and see what Leather Machine Co. has to offer.

If you are new to sewing machines and looking for a good video on getting started using one, then check out this article and video we did on “Sewing Machine Best Practices.”

And if you have, or end up buying, the Cobra Class 4 Machine, then here is a video that we did “Installing the Cobra Class 4 Stirrup Plate.”

 

 

How to Make a Round Leather Handbag

round leather handbagDeveloping the Round Leather Handbag

About a month ago or so I was in the shop on a Saturday trying to come up with something new and different to make.  My hopes were that I would use this time to be creative and develop a new product that would be like nothing I had ever created.  I cut poster board all afternoon working with all kinds of different shapes, proportions, and layouts.  I came up with many different ideas, but none of them seemed to be “that one” project.

It wasn’t a total loss though, because I learned some valuable things in that creative session as I usually do.

I went home that afternoon feeling a little like I had wasted the afternoon.  I told my wife what I was trying to do that afternoon and that I just didn’t have much luck coming up with a “new” project, much less “that one” project.  She casually mentioned doing a Round Purse.  At first I wasn’t sure that this was the project since it seemed too simple.  After visiting about it more I began to think it might make a neat project.  She pulled up tons of photos of Round Purses on her phone and apparently they are really popular right now.  The next day I went back into the shop and designed patterns for one of the easiest purses that I have ever made.  Is it “that one” project?  Probably not, but it is a good project and I had a ton of fun with it.

This project video is my complete process for making the Round Leather Handbag.  The build process is very close to how I make my Rope Bags and so if you are interested in making either one then this video will be of value to you.

If you are looking for a simple project that has room for tooling and artwork, then this is a great project for your shop.  The size of the purse allows you to put some of your scrap leather to work, as well as giving you practice in simple bag construction.  Main Body pieces of this round leather handbag are made from 9/10 oz vegetable tanned Herman Oak leather as well as the shoulder strap. The gusset can be made from any soft 4/6 oz chap leather.  Both of these types of leather are sure to be in any LeatherHead’s scrap bins.

I used a 14″ zipper in the video, but I would suggest using a 9″ zipper instead.  Mine was too long and the shoulder strap loops would have covered the zipper at the location I needed them.  I was able to modify on the fly, but to make it easier on yourself use a 9″ zipper.

There is a complete Companion Pattern Pack available for this video and you can purchase that by CLICKING HERE.  As with all of our companion packs, it has the cut patterns and dimensions for all parts needed to make this round leather handbag.  There are also 9 different tooling patterns included in the pattern pack.  The size of this purse and the panels being free of hardware, this is a perfect project for artwork with plenty of space to have fun.

Apparently Round Leather Handbags are in style so give this project a try.  This is a great addition to your offerings to customers for Christmas Gifts or to make for your friends and family.

Useful Resources

Slicking Leather Edges

How to Oil and Antique Leather Projects

Maker’s Leather Supply – A great place for material, supplies and resources

Leather Machine Co. – The best place for sewing machines and equipment

How to Make a Leather Apple Watch Band

In this Project video, I show you how to make a Leather Apple Watch Band.  I finally took some time to sit down and design three different styles based audience request.  The Apple Watch is extremely popular and having a custom leather watch band made for them is a common request.

Our goal with this video is to show my process for making the three different styles and to hopefully help anyone try their hand at making these.  If you are looking for that perfect Christmas item to offer to your customers as gift ideas, then this is a great one.

As with all of our Project Videos, we have created a Companion Pattern Pack.  In this pack, you will find all the cut patterns for all three styles as well as 6 different tooling patterns for each style.  If you would like to purchase the Companion Pack for this Project Video, then Click Here and grab that.

The buckles that I used for these bands are made by Rockin Out Silver.  These buckles are affordable and look great!

Here are some useful links of friends of ours and of videos I have done you might find helpful:

Here is an affiliate amazon link for the Apple Watch Adapters that I bought off Amazon.  (I get a couple pennies if you purchase using this affiliate link)

Dyeing background on leather and antiquing:  https://youtu.be/xmMSJIlHm18

How I slick my leather edges:  https://youtu.be/95rsf0kKTCw

As well as a blog post we wrote on slicking edges.

Leather and Supplies:  https://makersleathersupply.com

Sewing Machines:  https://leathermachineco.com

 

 

 

Dyeing the Background on a Leather Floral Pattern

This video shows how to dye the background of a leather floral pattern.  We are dyeing the horse head floral piece from our July Tooling series for this tutorial.  Yes, I am aware that it is September… I like to think this one is fashionably late.

In this video I am using Black Fiebings Pro Oil Dye and Dark Brown Antique Paste also by Fiebings.

If you would like to tool the pattern from this tooling series, here is a link to a FREE copy of this pattern Click Here.

Just enter your email address and we will shoot that out to you.  It is a PDF file that you can download and print on your own printer.

This is video #4 in this series.  You can find Video #1 by Clicking Here.

 

 

 

 


 

Figure Carving a Horse Head into Leather Video 3

Here is a much requested video from your suggestions both here and on our facebook page!  For the July Leather Tooling Series we are showing how to figure carve a horse’s head into leather.  I am not the greatest figure carver out there and I still have a lot to learn on the subject, but I will attempt to show you what I do know.  After that, you can seek out guidance from some of the greats out there… and there are many amazing figure carvers that you can learn from.  Jim Linnell and Peter Main would be the two that I would highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already.

Here is a link to Jim Linnell’s website

You can find Peter Main on facebook

If you would like to tool along with us in this tooling series, here is a link to a FREE copy of this pattern Click Here.

Just enter your email address and we will shoot that out to you.  It is a PDF file that you can download and print on your own printer.

This is video #3 in this series.

Tools used in this video:

-Modeling tool – Peter Main

-Modeling tools

-Craftool Thumbprint

Here is the photo of the horse in the pattern for you to use as reference.

The model for this project is an unknown Bay Gelding that resided on a place that borders us.  I just liked the way the horse looked and took many photos of him for artwork reference.  Not sure what happened to him, but we haven’t seen him in a long time… I like to think that he is somewhere on the rodeo trail or maybe just retired and moved to Florida.

Online Leather Classes with DG LeatherCraft Academy

The biggest request we get is “Do we offer any Leather Classes?”

I’m going to cut right to the chase… we have a Big Announcement to make this month.  After a year or better of researching, planning, cussing, discussing and finally building… we are finally ready to reveal the biggest digital project we have ever created.

Based on the inquiry for leather classes and feedback that we have gotten over the years from amazing fellow LeatherHeads like you, we felt there was a real need in our industry for this type of product.  It took us some time to choose the right platform as well as build out all the components that go into creating something like this so that it offers the most value with the least amount of hassle on your end.

We think that we have done just that!

I would like to introduce our newest addition to DG LeatherCraft,

DG LeatherCraft Academy

 

DG LeatherCraft Academy is our new platform where we can create Online Courses that go in depth on different topics and areas of leather craft and design work.  Much further than we can on our YouTube channel or on our blog.  The Academy will be home to all of our future Premium Courses for those who want complete leather classes on particular topics and certain areas of the craft.

These courses will be completely online so that you can go through any of our leather classes at your pace on any device.  No set dates, times or having to travel out of state.  Once enrolled in a particular course, you can go through the curriculum all in one sitting in order… or you can do a lecture a day in any order you want.  And when you complete the course, you can go back through it again anytime as many times as you want.

Worksheets for these leather classes can be downloaded and printed so that you can work along with us throughout the course.  Then after completion you will have these sheets to reference if you need to. Continue reading

Figure Carving a Horse Head into Leather Video #2

Here is a much requested video from your suggestions both here and on our facebook page!  For the July Leather Tooling Series we are showing how to figure carve a horse’s head into leather.  I am not the greatest figure carver out there and I still have a lot to learn on the subject, but I will attempt to show you what I do know.  After that, you can seek out guidance from some of the greats out there… and there are many amazing figure carvers that you can learn from.  Jim Linnell and Peter Main would be the two that I would highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already. Continue reading