1. Examine the leather for any defects. Mark where the defects are on the wrong side so you can avoid them when laying out pattern
2. Cut out pattern pieces for both sides of today. Sewing patterns are designed to cut on a doubled layer of fabric and you can’t do that with leather. No folding allowed. Each piece needs to be laid out separately. I cut extra pieces from butcher paper.
3. Lay main pieces in the center of the skin where the leather is strongest. Although leather doesn’t have a grain line like woven fabric leather tends to behave like it did on the living beast. The neck and shoulders move up and down a lot while grazing. . The top of the back and the sides don’t move as much and tend to be fairly firm. The hip area moves very little and is the firmest except the back edge which moved a bit as the animal walked. The belly moved with breathing and is more moldable than higher on the side. The pockets in the flanks and armpits moved a lot and are looser fibered and flexible.
Here is a photo of my Hide sent to me by The Leather Hide Store. It’s called Calvary Bone Distressed Upholstery Leather. It’s not a complete hide, so I’ve done my best in trying to figure out it’s parts. If anyone has any correction of it’s parts, please let me know’4. Use tape to secure pattern pieces to fabric. I used washi tape since I have tons and never know what to do with it. Painter’s tape would work great , too
5. Use heavy scissors, the craft kind, for cutting heavier leathers. X Acto blades are dangerous. You can also use a use a rotary blade or fabric scissors for lightweight leather.
To see my post on fitting and making a muslin for a leather jacket click here.
So at this point I’m starting to get nervous. I’ve cut out the pattern and the leather is very thick. I’m worried I won’t be able to get my sewing machine through it! My new Bernina sewed fine through my test scraps so that’s a good sign.