Choosing The Right Leather for Your Pattern

Updated: Feb 15

Generally, my patterns all include some sort of leather components - straps, handles, zipper overlays, pocket trim, etc. With so many leather options out there, it can be really tough figuring out what to order. I want to try to help by offering a bit of information about the types of leather I use for various purposes in my patterns. I hope this makes the task of chosing the correct leather a bit less of a headache!



Straps and Handles: I personally prefer 7-8 oz. leather for my straps and handles, but nothing less than 4.5-5 oz. So, how do you determine if 4.5-5 oz, 6-7 oz, or 7-8 oz is best for you? It is a matter of preference, but it also depends on how you are using them. For example, if you are going to be sewing your handles or straps in any way (like with the Amber pattern) and if using a domestic sewing machine, I recommend a 4.5-5 oz. weight leather with at least a medium firm temper. The temper (or firmness) is extremely important. If your leather is 5 oz, but has a soft body, your straps will still feel too flimsy. You want something that is a bit more firm and without stretch for your handles. Some people like a good bridle or harness leather for this purpose, but there are many options out there. I get most of my strap leather from District Leather Supply.


Pocket Trim/Zipper Overlays: When trimming pockets, I like to use lambskin, goat skins, or something similar. This type of leather usually comes in a 1-3 oz weight and it has a really soft temper - which makes it really easy to sew on domestic machines. You can usually fold them over the tops of your pockets without the need to do any skiving. Some skins can be a bit thin for zipper overlays. If using this type of leather for a zipper overlay, I recommend getting one that is no less than 2-3 oz. I purchase lambskins from numerous places, but I frequent Tandy Leather, Springfield Leather, GlacierWear (on Etsy), and Weaver Leather.


Leather Pockets/Card Slots/Strap Support Strips: A good leather that is 3-4 oz, but with a medium firm temper works very well for these pattern pieces. You can also use some upholstery weight leather for this purpose (depending on the texture and temper). I frequently get this type of leather from Tandy Leather, Acadia Leather, and Springfield Leather.


Want to see what some of these leathers look like? Take a look at this short video. Of course, I am always here if you have any questions. I am by no means and expert on leather, but I will share what I know and will do my best to help! Happy sewing!





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