How to Do Leatherworking. Leatherworking encompasses a wide range of projects in which leather hides are used. Several projects are easy enough for you to do them at home. Start with a simple one so you can get the hang of leatherworking.
Do a Simple Leatherworking Project
Select a piece, or pieces, of leather to use in your project. Decide what you would like to create with your selected pieces. Certain leathers will, of course, work for some items better than others.
Gather all your supplies. You will need scratch and stitching awls (blades), a hammer, a bone folder (to flatten seams), a clicker knife with various blades, pliers, an edge-finisher and several leatherworking needles, among other things depending on your project.
Create a pattern or use a manufactured paper pattern available at most leather stores. Cut the pattern out and attach to the wrong side of the leather. You can transfer the pattern using carbon paper or tracing with chalk.
Cut out the leather. If you are working with thick leather, do several passes with the knife following the previous cut. Make sure to stay within the same cut to avoid damaging or weakening the leather.
Assemble the pieces. Thicker leather must be pre-punched to allow for sewing, while softer leather can be easily sewed by hand with a glover's needle (triangular needle with shop edges). A sewing awl can be used for buckskin.
Finish the leather by simply applying mink's oil or tooling a pattern into it. While some tooling should be done before the item is assembled, finishing touches can be added after.
Check out the Tandy Leather Factory kits (see Resources below). The kits are available from Tandy directly and from most craft and leather retailers across the country. Besides offering great ideas for leatherworking, the kits come with just about everything you need, except the leather.
Always begin and end seams by backstitching (overlap stitch by starting next stitch in the middle of the previous one) to prevent unraveling at the end of seams.
Do not dye the leather before punching the sewing holes. Your holes will end up being the natural color. If you want the color of your tooling design to be the same as your leather, complete any tooling before you do the dye.