I have sewn many patches on leather jackets. I’ve mended leather and pleather (artificial leather) and so when Tim Morris of Iron Dog Salvage in Tipp City asked me to sew leather leg caps for a ladder I got to put those skills to use.

Buying the leather.  I searched Etsy for soft black leather pieces. I found there are so many different types and weights of leather. How far down the rabbit did I want to go? The problem with ordering was that almost all of the businesses were overseas and I didn’t have time to wait. I found an Etsy that had great reviews called TanneryNYC.  They shipped out my order the same day. Leather can be very expensive and I needed to make sure I was not wasting my money because I also needed to buy a little extra as leather is one of those materials you cannot remove the stitches from.


Cutting the Leather. The soft leather cut nicely with my regular scissors. I took the ladder leg measurements and added 1″ on each side. 1/4″ for seam allowance which will equal 1/2″ total for 2 sides of the each rectangle. The leather had thick width so I had to allow for the insides being thicker. Last was just a little extra so the person can get them on.

I marked each piece with chalk so I wouldn’t get confused at the sewing table. I still got confused at the sewing table, ha!






















I cut one extra to make a prototype first. The reason I did this is because the first one is never perfect. I wanted my other four to look nice and I have never made anything 3D out of leather. I was not sure what stitch to use, what foot to use and how large it was actually going to come out.

My prototype came out smaller than the rest.

Sewing the leather. I found clips worked well instead of pins. Leather is too thick for pins and it will leave little holes everywhere. I also used a leather sewing machine needle.





















I tried multiple feet on my prototype before I found one that worked well. Since I was stitching close to the edge I thought it was logical that the edge foot would work. Wrong! I thought I’d try to pull the leather because it was not under the feed dogs enough but I couldn’t move it. Next, I tried that teflon foot. I’ve had success on pleather with this foot many times but it didn’t work either. Sadly it still didn’t want to move. Last I tried my walking foot and *boom* it worked like a charm.













I used a heavy poly upholstery thread and a LONG straight stitch so as not to perforate the material.


















I also found a small seam allowance worked best!

Tip. Don’t wear your nicest dress because leather is really messy. It turned my finger tips black and got black stuff all over the studio and my dress.





















I didn’t think I would like working with leather but I loved it so much I already bought a half a hide to replicate my purse.













Behind the scenes~

My Sewing Tips in Under a Minute on my Youtube channel is gaining traction! Here is my story.

I also got my fall classes listed last week.


Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream It! Sew It!