Handbag How-To: 3 Tips For Sewing Leather

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Many women have an affinity for handbags and are willing to invest some serious coin in the purchase a bag they find desirable. If you are hoping to cash in on the female population's love affair with handbags, you might be considering creating your own line of leather bags for commercial sale.

Working with leather can be a challenge for some novice sewers. Here are three tips to keep in mind as you sew to ensure your final products are as high-end as possible.

1. Use the right foot.

Selecting the right foot for your sewing machine is essential when it comes to successfully sewing leather. Your best bet is to invest in either a roller foot or a Teflon foot, since these feet are designed to help keep fabric moving through your industrial machine with ease. Other feet could cause your machine to jam, resulting in wasted product and frustration.

You may want to try lining the underside of your roller or Teflon foot with blue painter's tape if you are working with smooth leather, since this will help the foot glide easily along the fabric during manufacturing and prevent possible snags or jams.

2. Use the right needle.

The needle that you are using can dramatically impact your ability to successfully create leather handbags. Because leather is typically thick and hard to perforate, your needle will be working hard to create each stitch. A needle designed specifically for leather use will have a sharp, arrowhead-shaped tip that can easily puncture several layers of tough leather.

You will also want to invest in a lot of needles, since using a new needle for each project is recommended. The average life of a sewing machine needle is between 6 and 8 hours, but you may need to swap out your leather needles sooner if the leather you are using is particularly tough.

3. Don't use straight pins.

Many sewers are accustomed to using straight pins to hold layers of fabric together as they feed these layers through a sewing machine. Using straight pins on leather will leave behind a hole that cannot be removed. These holes could compromise the quality of your finished handbags, so it's best to use small binder clips to hold your layers together as you sew.

Binder clips can often be more convenient that straight pins, since they only clamp onto the very edge of the fabric. This means that you can feed the fabric through your machine while leaving the binder clips in place, which could save you time.

Creating leather handbags can be a challenge, but when you use the right feet and needles and stay away from straight pins you will be able to product bags that women would love to buy.