Dec 1, 2015

denim and leather experiment

For something fun and new... I've been experimenting with sewing leather. Not sure where these ideas come from... but I recycled some old jeans and made my own pattern for a patchwork denim purse. Then I trimmed it with leather and made leather handles.

I kept the jeans pockets intact for the pockets inside the purse. No need to reinvent the wheel! They're perfect for keys and a smart phone. I quilted the purse interior to soft and stable batting, then fused the outside denim layer to it.

I actually sewed this leather trim twice. Here's the first attempt. 

I didn't like the color of the leather... its a blue/gray dusty dyed leather and it just didn't look right. Too close to the color of the denim. So I ripped it off and redid it in the fuchsia trim. This was all an experiment to learn how to sew leather anyway.
I tried a lot of different threads. I ended up with Isacord polyester in the top and bobbin. Anyone have any experience sewing with leather? I'd love to hear your tips!!! 

I purchased this leather roller foot for my Bernina and tried to use it. I thought it'd be especially useful on the handles by gripping the leather in a tight area. Turns out... after experimenting with it over and over, I could NOT get it to work. It just never gripped anything (even when I turned the foot pressure ALL the way up) and the stitching looked awful. So I ditched it and used my trusty zipper foot and the teflon foot. Both of which worked fine. Sadly, this was a waste of $95! Anyone know any tricks to using this foot?

I ended up purchasing my first Craftsy class on how to sew leather. It was a Black Friday sale and the class was only $20. Of course, I watched the class AFTER I had sewn this bag... would have been helpful before. But I did learn a lot and I am geared up to sew an entire bag of leather. Can't wait.

More to come.


  1. So fun to see this! I liked the blue handles when you showed me your bag in Houston, but I love the fuschia ones even more!! The bright color really does pop off the denim. I still need to try doing some leather work.... Glad to know you don't need the special foot, but I'm sorry you learned the expensive way.

  2. For your first, or I guess 2nd try at sewing leather it's fabulous! Love the pockets on the inside. I never use anything but a narrow pipping foot to do the piping on the handles, and a plastic roller foot like you would use for sewing vinyl. See if you can return that foot. Because you can't use pins with leather make sure you have wonder clips, I don't use the metal office clips they leave marks on the leather. If you have a leather that marks easily, use a piece of fleece to cover the leather then clip it. Make sure that you are using a new (for every project) leather needle for your machine. And last but not least, don't be afraid to trim closer to your stitches, leather doesn't fray.

  3. The leather rolling foot was designed for sewing around tight curves such as glove fingers. It does a good job of curvy quilting with the feed dogs up. Look at Feetures or ask your Bernina dealer for a demonstration of how to use it. It is not for regular sewing!