Made from tanning animal rawhide and skins, leather has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times! From bags to shoes, and furniture to book covers, leather has proven to be very versatile. Even as leather making is now much simpler and faster because of modern technology, much of it still relies on expert craftsmanship. It's no surprise that anyone interested in leather bag-making courses or shoemaker courses will have much handiwork to master.
For all you leather-enthusiasts, we share a simple guide to understanding leatherwork: the skills needed to work with leather, knowing the basic tools, and choosing the right type of leather!
Leatherworkers often set themselves apart from others by their leather crafting skills. In fact, for some fashion labels, these skills have been passed down for generations and are even closely-guarded secrets. As such, it is crucial to master leather crafting skills if you want to create a high-quality leather product. Some basic skills that will help are:
This is the most common and best technique for sewing leather. Saddle stitching creates a knot in each hole so that if the thread happens to break at one point, it will not unravel the rest. Even though saddle stitching must be done by hand, it has proven to be even better than machine-stitching in keeping leather goods from falling apart.
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Aesthetics may play a smaller role than function, but it is important nonetheless. Burnishing, also known as cleaning the edges of leatherwork, can really elevate the look of your product. There are various methods of burnishing as it largely depends on the type of look that you want to achieve. Check out this video to see how leather burnishing is done!
This is a leather-crafting method that involves reducing the thickness of leather in the areas where it is supposed to be bent or folded. Amongst all the leather crafting skills, skiving is often the hardest to master. Do it too fast, and you might tear a hole in the leather. Do it too slowly, and it will be a long time before you reach the desired thickness.
While there are many other leather crafting skills that you will have to learn, the above three are considered the most important. As long as you master saddle stitching, burnishing, and skiving, you will be able to produce a quality leather product.
Compared to other fabrics, leather is a lot tougher to work with and also why it requires almost completely different tools. There are even specialised tools for certain leather working techniques! Fortunately, there are a few basic general tools that you can use to get you started on your leather-working journey. They are:
As you gain experience and confidence in leatherwork, you will be able to utilise specialised tools to create even better leather products.
Due to different manufacturing and finishing techniques, there are 3 different types of leather in the market. Each of them has different characteristics and is suitable for different uses. They are:
As far as most fabrics are concerned, leather still remains one of the most durable and versatile. So, whether you are a fashion designer looking to upgrade their skills or someone who is just interested in leather, the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (TaF.tc) has plenty of leatherworking courses available!
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