Saddle Stitch Method: Sewing Leather by Hand

Saddle Stitch Method: Sewing Leather by Hand

Learning how to sew leather by hand while using the traditional saddle stitching method can be very rewarding. 

When it comes to stitching leather by hand, saddle stitch is everyone’s first choice. But you might wonder why, since it consists of using a long thread with a needle connected at both ends, the stitches are doubled and provide more friction. This helps to prevent sudden failure even if the threads were to break.

Even though it may seem complicated, it is not really. You can quickly gather the required material and tools to start stitching leather and create innovative leather products of your choice. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use the following material for hand-sewing leather:

Leather Stitching Needles

The material you will need for saddle stitch method–

Stitching Groover:

This tool helps in cutting a groove down on the edge of the leather in a way that it gets a perfectly straight line of stitch. Normally, right-handed people have it easy to use stitching groovers, but if you invert the position of the blade, even left-handed individuals can use it easily. You can easily buy this on any of these online stores.

Buy Pro Stitching Groover Set


Overstitch Wheel:

The overstitch wheel is used to mark the stitching space and then use the same size pricking chisel to punch stitching slits. It is an easy and convenient way to mark and make holes on the leather. Find the best overstitch wheel on amazon right here.

Buy Overstitch Wheel


Stitching Awl:

If you are looking for a tool that can puncture holes in different types of material or enlarge existing holes, stitching awl will be a perfect tool to be used. It is easy to sew leather with it. You will find that its thin, as well as the tapered metal shaft, comes with a sharp point. You can slightly bend it or just merely leave it straight. Some online stores where you can easily find this tool. We got you the link for it on Amazon UK.

Buy Stitching Awl on Amazon UK


Leather Stitching Needles:

These are blunt needles used for leather stitching. These leather stitching needles are useful for stitching the leather after the stitching holes are made with punch, drill or awl. You can buy them from any of these stores online. Here’s the link to the product on Amazon UK.

Buy Leather Stitching Needles


Waxed Thread:

It is nothing but the regular thread along with a wax coat. Having wax on it makes the thread stiffer while making it water as well as mildew resistant and a bit less stretchy. However, you must be careful while using it as it can burn quickly or in hot temperatures, melt away. Also easy to buy from any of these online stores like Amazon UK.

Buy Waxed Threads


Rubber cement: An adhesive made out of elastic polymers or latex, it is mixed in solvents like acetone, heptane, hexane, or toluene. Rubber cement is typically known for its fluid texture as well as flexible bond. It is easy to purchase it from Amazon UK on the click of a button.

Buy Rubber Cement



Please follow the below mentioned easy steps to sew the leather by hand and create the product of your choice:

Step 1. Stitching Groove:

The first step in sewing leather by hand is to have a groove along which you can sew so that you do it in a line and it doesn’t go haywire and is even all through. For this, you can use the stitching groover, dig it into the leather and then slide it till the point you would like it to dig along the edge of the leather piece. You can repeat it on the other side of the leather as well. 


Step 2. Mark Stitch Spacing:

If you want to have an even as well as a professional look to the leather, you can use the stitching wheel and mark the spaces. The stitching wheel comes in different sizes, and the number is as per the number of stitches it offers per inch. 


Step 3. Prepare Thread & Needles:

Now you need to take two needles and take one side of the thread. Insert the thread from each end into each of the two needles. 

saddle stitching method on leather


Step 4. Pierce The Leather With The Awl:

This is the time to pierce the leather with an awl by drawing it along the edges. You can also use pricking wheels to poke holes but do not run it back over after completing the stitching. Its sharp edges may damage the thread. The diamond hole is also a good idea to create marks that match diamond awl shape. You may find that a few of these hole punches can puncture all through two sides of the leather piece and help in creating the holes on both sides.


Step 5. Pull The First Needle Through:

Now you can push one needle from front to the back of the leather. Create a hole and ensure the needle fits in easily, then push all the layers of the leather while drawing the needle out from its backside. Now pull the thread on both the sides to ensure that the thread is inside the 1st hole. Then, match to see if that thread centres well. 

Push the first needle in front from the front to the back through the 2nd hole. Once you see that the main part of the 1st needle is through the hole, you can place the other needle just below it to pull the stitching needle out and grab it through the hole till the end. 

Now, you can complete the stitch. By taking the 2nd needle and pushing it from back to front inside the same hole where the 1st needle came from. While you are drawing out the 2nd needle from the front, leave some of the earlier thread inside the hole. Make sure that the direction is set to where you were pulling the needle to so that the thread is not punctured. Gently pull the thread from both ends and tighten the stitch. Ensure you have even thread on both sides before moving to the next hole. Repeat this process until you reach the end of the seam. 


Mistakes to Avoid during the Saddle Stitch Method


  • Inconsistent Stitch Tension


This is definitely a mistake that will cost you your leather project. Stitch tension refers to how tightly you pull your threads in each stitch. If not done properly, the mistakes in the stitches will show up in the form of tight and loose stitches. Make sure to pull the string with the same force during each stitch.


  • Puncturing threads with your needles


When you are just starting out with saddle stitch method, a common mistake is that your needle may run to or puncture the thread that is passing. So, make sure you are aware that your needles are not piercing or running through the other thread. Let them wave as they pass by each other.


  • Use measurement and don’t “suppose” the length


You don’t want to find out at the end of your leatherwork, that you are just 10cm short on the thread. This can waste a lot of precious time and materials which could have been avoided with the right measurement in the beginning.


So, indeed you will find the saddle stitch method much easier now, right? Now, you are ready to stitch any of the leather pieces into one to create your favourite designs and products. 

If you are looking for more articles related to leather and the leather business in the UK, CreateLab can help you get into the world of luxury leather business. CreateLab specializes in production, prototyping and sourcing high-quality leather from all over Europe.



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