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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.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  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.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  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.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  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.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  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

  11. #11
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Shari has a good point. Buckskin tends to be a soft, supple leather, and while a regular needle would work, if you have leather wedges, you should use them.
    And yes. A walking foot attachment would work.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    leather needles are a must! A regular needle will punch a hole, where a leather needle will create a small slit and close around the thread.
    I can't remember if your 66 has a side mount needle or the 319...but if you have one with the front mount, it would be better.
    Use either a heavier thread or something like dual duty...you will need some poly for strength.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

  13. #13
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    There should be someplace to look up about the thread.
    I'm thinking a thread manufacture place should have info on line.
    I use certain thread when I sew tents sun doesn't effect it.
    The thread place was very helpful for me to get the right thread.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  14. #14
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    The 66s needle the flat faces the right, the 319 the flat faces the rear - I think.

    I have some Dual Duty Heavy thread. Just not sure if I have the right color.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    The 66s needle the flat faces the right, the 319 the flat faces the rear - I think.

    I have some Dual Duty Heavy thread. Just not sure if I have the right color.

    Joe
    You might try each machine. Then tug on the seams every what way and see what you think about which machine works best for you. Look at which way the needle slits pull - what is it going to do under stress. How much stress is it going to get?
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  16. #16
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Well, what I'm going to make is a pistol rug. A silly name for a zippered pouch. It won't be "abused", but it will carry a 3 pound object, so it will have some strain on the seams.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Well, what I'm going to make is a pistol rug. A silly name for a zippered pouch. It won't be "abused", but it will carry a 3 pound object, so it will have some strain on the seams.

    Joe
    AH and you don't want that 3 lb object falling out accidentally...
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  18. #18
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    http://nh.craigslist.org/art/2845837717.html
    seems like it would cost a pile to ship this but it might do just what you need Joe.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  19. #19
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Miriam,

    Yep, those would get the job done. Not sure I need a heavy duty commercial leather machine for just dear hide, but I can sure thing of other things to do with it.

    Joe

  20. #20
    Senior Member sewred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    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? My husband( he's an upholsterer ) he say's just a heavy needle will work.
    > I want a really strong durable thread. What should I use? Brand, size, material? 69 nylon will work well or b 92 in the bobbin also
    > Would it be best to use a machine with the needle facing front to rear, or side to side, or does it matter? he say side to side would be better.
    > 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? As long as it's not too close together it should be fine.


    Joe
    Any other questions I'll ask his advice and let you know.
    Last edited by sewred; 02-19-2012 at 08:11 AM.
    Sew, sew, it's the threads that keep love together :>} I love sunbonnet sue,old-fashioned things like 1950's or older housewife things, and like hankies,tea towels and aprons . Thanks to some lovely members on here I now have lots of aprons in my collection !!

  21. #21
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    WOW, so glad I read all these posts as my son just gave me a Deer Hide to made pillows out of, I'll need to get a leather needle for sure then I'll try expirmenting before sewing the pillows. Its a very soft hide too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    http://nh.craigslist.org/art/2845837717.html
    seems like it would cost a pile to ship this but it might do just what you need Joe.
    Forgive my butting in but those are some ugly machines. Do people really spend money on things like that?

  23. #23
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    I have never seen so many people with so much knowledge. I love this board! We can ask about anything and get good instruction.

  24. #24
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MistyK View Post
    Forgive my butting in but those are some ugly machines. Do people really spend money on things like that?
    You bet they do - then they make something nobody else can because THEY have the machine that will do it. MistyK you are welcome to 'butt in' anytime you want.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  25. #25
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    I use a strip of light weight interfacing on the inside seams of leather or hydes. It will protect it from the feed dogs. You can leave it in where it doesn't show or remove it where it does. It also helps to glue the seams together. You can stitch right through the glue. It does not stretch as much when it has been glued. I have just altered a leather vest that I had to top stitch around the armholes. I glued the armhole seam to the inside and then arranged the lining at the armhole. I used the interfacing strip inside the seam where it was glued. You only get one chance to top stitch and it worked out really well. I used a regular needle sz16 to top stitch. Go slow and be sure to keep the article flat as you stitch so that bunching does not occur if you are not doing a straight seam.

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