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Thread: Sewing deer hide

  1. #1
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Sewing deer hide

    I read up and down the list and couldn't decide where this question should be posted. It doesn't have anything to do with quilting at all. So since I'll be using a vintage machine to do it I decided to put it here.

    I have a project I'm thinking of. I'm going to make a zippered pouch from dear hide and some kind of soft internal padding. Not sure what that will be yet.

    My questions are:
    > I have a decent selection of leather needles for my machines, but do I really need them?
    > I want a really strong durable thread. What should I use? Brand, size, material?
    > Would it be best to use a machine with the needle facing front to rear, or side to side, or does it matter?
    > I'm planning on a straight stitch to secure the zipper, but was considering a decorative stitch over that to make it look different. Can you do that with deer hide with out ruining it?


    Joe

  2. #2
    Senior Member kountrykreation's Avatar
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    No real expertise here, but I have used my newer Singer 7466 to sew deer hyde for making pillows and did not use leather needles. My only suggestion would be, not to get in a hurry, go slow with it. I also used polyneon embroidery thread. I do not believe leather is forgiving, and the fewer the needle holes, the better. Possibly use a longer stitch length, smaller needle size, and avoid the decorative stitching? My thought would maybe be to practice your needs/wants on a sample piece first and see how the leather reacts.

  3. #3
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    You don't have the option of using pins with buckskin, so have some painter's tape handy. I would use a leather wedge needle, AND a walking foot. Buckskin will stretch, a LOT. Painter's tape will come in handy there too...cover the back of your leather with the tape as a stabilizer, easy peel off when you're done with your seam.

    I'd stay away from the decorative stitches, because like kountrykreation said, leather is not forgiving. Once you make a hole, it's there forever. I would think that the multiple perforations would weaken the leather, making it more likely that your zipper would pull out over time.

    I don't think it matters which way your needle faces, but I would be tempted to use a "front to back" threader, with a buttonhole twist thread. If you use the buttonhole twist thread in both the top and bobbin, you will most likely have to adjust your bobbin tension.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

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  4. #4
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    I made a crazy patch deer hide pillow some years ago. I will have to dig it out and post a picture of it for you. I did use a leather needle, regular thread and zig zag stitch to sew the pieces together. I made it on my Elna SU Air Electronic which I guess would qualify as almost a vintage machine now.
    Sweet Caroline

  5. #5
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I have a Consew walking foot - I understand those are what people use for sewing leather - they have a nice long stitch and a strong needle bar and feed the material through evenly. That said - they cost a lot and take up an incredible amount of room. I think you are using light enough weight leather that it isn't going to bend a needle shaft. I would for sure use a leather needle - better piercing and easier to sew (possibly easier on the machine) If I were to use any home machine I think it would be a Japanese 15 - I have considered that those would sew heavy duty stuff better than anything other than an industrial. If it bends a needle bar - you can always find another one. I would also want a some what long stitch so you aren't just making perforations that would tear off later. If all else - go look GW or any other store for some leather thing of the size and what you are looking to make and look at the stitching. What thread and what stitch length did they use?
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    As far as decorative stitch - you can try it and see what happens. What if you put the decorative stitch on something else and then layer it in? Not sure what you are attempting. I've seen some amazing things made out of leather - they sew that stuff on something - it isn't ALL done by hand.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Last year we made some custom pouches for a customer from some thin cow leather he sent us. My wife sewed it on her 319K with regular needles and thread. We did find out about what happens with the stitching too close. Not good at all.
    We have that machine, 5 66s, a 15 clone and a couple others with nice long stitches and some pretty stout motors.

    That said, we've never done anything with buck skin.

    Would a walking foot attachment work? We don't have an industrial machine as much as we'd like to have one.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Use the walking foot attachment on your 15 clone - put in a leather needle - keep the machine happy - do some experimenting - the buck skin is kind of stretchy I'm thinking.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  9. #9
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    The tip of the leather needle is diamond shaped for better piercing
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mom3's Avatar
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    Along with all the other suggestions, having tape or something on the bottom will stop your feed dogs from scarfing up the leather. If you don't put something under it the feed dogs will leave 'tracks' in the leather. A walking foot might do the same - so add something on the top also.

    Another idea would be to use your sewing machine to just pierce the hide and then come back with an threaded awl and hand stitch it together.

    Shari

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