Embroidery on Leather

There are a variety of leathers that can be embroidered on. The way that they embroider depends on the skin that they are made of, such as lamb, pig, cow or calf, as well as how they were processed.
Soft leathers or suede’s are best for embroidering as the holes tend to close up around the thread. Thin leathers can over perforate and thick leather can be spongy or hard.

The density of stitches should be opened up, column widths should be wider and stitch lengths should be increased. This is because the needle penetrations need to be further apart so not to perforate the fabric.
Try to make the embroidery design run with the minimum amount of trims so to eliminate the risk of nicking the leather whilst trimming.
It is not recommended to use an underlay as this increases the needle penetrations in the fabric.
The leather can become an element of the embroidery design with the texture showing through, either throughout the embroidery design, or in selected spots.

A fusible backing is the most effective as it reduces the natural tendency of leather to stretch, alternatively a wax paper can be used as this reduces the tendency of the fabric to grip on to the sewing field. It allows the frame to slide with a greater ease
A paper or tearaway fabric can also be used next to the machine table to help keep debris out of the machine hook assembly.

A piece of backing or fabric can be applied between the leather and the inner ring of the frame, then a window must be cut through which the embroidery will be applied.

When embroidering leather pieces it is simplest not to frame them, it is best to frame the self-adhesive backing and press the leather in to place.
When framing a garment the leather will mark unless each part of the frame is wrapped to cushion it. This will prevent the hard frame coming into contact with the soft leather.
If the frame is too tight it could scratch the finish on top grain leather. Nicks and cracks on the frame could also damage delicate leather surfaces.
Once stitched brushing lightly on the fabric with a soft toothbrush should remove any impressions left by the frame or the presser foot of the machine.

The appropriate needle should be selected before stitching on to leather. The leather should release its grip on the needle and thread whilst stitching.
For soft leather a sharp needle may be best, called a round or normal point. If this still pulls up the leather then changing to a light ball point could solve the problem, as it punches out a larger chunk of leather.
Try a 75/11 or 80/12 needle.
Polyester thread is the best performer on leather, it can be treated with spray silicone to give it more slip as it passes through the leather.

Be careful when trimming leather, it helps to use machines with trimmers as there is a risk of nicking the surface of the leather.

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