I'm really LOVING working with pleather. It's so pleasant to use. A pleather bag will be waterproof, hard wearing and will look totally professional! I thought I share this easy guide on how to get great results from working with leather and leather like fabrics.
1. Leather scars. Once you make a hole in pleather it’s there for good, so don’t use sewing pins for holding pattern pieces together. The pin pricks will look awful and even if you were to only place them inside the seam allowance, the pins will create bulges and distort your work. Instead, use sewing clips, tape or paperclips.
2. Securing stitches. *Because it scars you cannot back stitch or make securing stitches in leather during construction. Instead, at the start and end of your stitching you need to leave long tread tails (that need to be hand tied into secure knots).
3. Tying up loose thread tails. For stitch line ends - in other words: thread tails (that will not eventually be concealed inside a dissecting seam on the finished bag, we need to pull the machine thread from the RS to the WS of the work. Do this by working at the WS. Carefully use an awl/seam ripper to pull machine thread to the WS. Knot the thread tails securely together.
4. Needle and feet. Use a leather needle. Leather needles are thick and have extra sharp chisel-shaped tips that are designed to pierce before stitching. If you don’t have a leather needle, heavy all-purpose/jeans needles work fine too. On our faux leather I’ve been using 90s with no problems. I use a walking foot for 95% of my sewing (that includes working with leather). You can also use a roller or teflon foot.
5. Stitch length and thread. With leather we need to elongate our stitches. If we use the normal 2.5 length we will stitch perforations in the leather and greatly weaken it. Instead, I recommend for construction sewing a stitch length of 3.5, and for topstitching, length 4. My absolute fave bag making thread is Aurifil 40wt. It’s a tad thicker and the stitches look plump and pretty. If you don’t have Aurfil use a high quality branded all purpose nylon thread.
6. Reinforcement. Leather is typically more hardwearing than woven fabric, so it may not necessarily need interfacing but I would still reinforce finer leather, snap and fastener areas or larger hardworking bags. My fave is woven fusible interfacing, it's strong, but drapes beautifully with your fabric.
Have you tried sewing with pleather or vinyl yet? You may find yourself getting hooked on it - like I have!