How to Embroider Leather by Hand

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You can add a hand-embroidered image, pattern or monogram onto leather fabric to embellish your own items or as a gift for a family member or friend. Add a monogram to the front of a leather jacket or a decal to the back pockets of a pair of leather pants, or customize a leather purse with a small embroidered pattern. Embroider onto a supple leather fabric rather than a stiff leather that will not adjust well to the stitching, and choose a simple pattern or image because dense stitching can cause the leather to pucker.

Things You'll Need

  • Tracing paper
  • Tracing pencil
  • Temporary adhesive spray
  • Tear-away stabilizer
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Foam padding or scrap fabric
  • Needle (70/10 needle)
  • Thread
  • Thin embroidery floss
  • Trace the pattern or image you would like to embroider onto a piece of tracing paper. Draw with a tracing pencil and press firmly on the paper. You can also print a design from the computer onto a compatible paper.

  • Place the tracing on top of the leather fabric. Do not pin the paper to the leather because it will leave holes in the leather when you are finished.

  • Spray the back of the leather with a temporary spray adhesive and press a tear-away stabilizer into the adhesive.

  • Place the embroidery hoop on top of a thin piece of foam padding or scrap fabric. Trace around the inside and outside of the hoop and cut out the ring from the material. Make an identical copy of the ring from the same material.

  • Place one ring on top of the bottom of the hoop and place the leather on top of the ring. Place the other ring on top of the leather and close the embroidery hoop. Tighten the hoop loosely. The extra padding will help the leather to keep its shape.

  • Thread one or two strands of thin embroidery floss, such as cotton, polyester or rayon, onto the embroidery needle. Tie a knot in the ends of the floss. Try using a 70/10 needle for the embroidery project. If the needle does not go through the leather smoothly, change to a slightly larger needle and try again.

  • Stitch the pattern or image. Insert the needle from underneath the hoop to make the first stitch. Continue stitching along the image until you reach the end of the tracing. Insert the needle from the top of the fabric to the underside and knot the floss.

  • Loosen the embroidery hoop right away. Do not let the leather sit in the hoop any longer than necessary. Cut the tracing paper and the stabilizer around the stitched image or pattern. Pull on the pieces underneath the stitches very gently to remove the papers. You do not want the paper to tug on the stitches, so take your time.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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