Quilting with Leather FAQ
Leather is sold with an oz weight associated with it. That weight indicates how heavy one square foot of that leather is. The thinner the leather, the lower the oz weight. We recommended using leather that is 3oz or less.
Why Our Leather?
Our leather is softer and more pliable than most garment-grade leathers available on the market. Our leather is vat dyed, meaning the color is consistent through the hide. Other cheaper leathers have the color bonded on top, so the middle is much lighter and will show through your quilting holes. The color of our leathers are also consistent. If you buy a red hide from us today, it will be the same color as one bought in the future.
GWL Quilting vs. GWL Premium
Both are cowhides. Our Quilting Leather is thinner (1.75oz), and is recommended for beginners. Our Premium Leather is slightly thicker(3oz), and is perfect for bags or projects using dyes.
Deerskins are roughly the same thickness as our Quilting Leather, but the hide is denser.
You can use any domestic or longarm machine to quilt on leather. You do not need an industrial machine.
We always recommend using a leather needle. Leather needles have a knife point that cuts a clean hole through the leather. Normal quilting needles have a rounded point which will tear a hole through the leather. This can cause your thread to shred, and then cause your leather to tear from hole to hole.
For thread, we recommend using a quality rayon or poly thread. You can use any weight thread, however 50wt generally produces the least amount of problems for a beginner.
Use whatever batting and backing combination you would normally use when quilting a cotton top.
For batting, we use a 80/20 blend across the entire top, then will tear pieces of wool to put directly behind the image. For backing, we generally use muslin or cotton. For larger pieces or pieces with freeform edges, we use a home dec fabric. Home dec fabric offers more stability and support.
Leather stretches, so it is important to stabilize the piece before quilting dense background fills. With leather you cannot work in the fullness like when quilting cotton.
To mark quilting designs, we use either leather marking pens or a combination of Saral paper and Transfer Film with a stylus. All of the tools necessary for marking are available in our Starter Kit.
In our kits, we include Elmer's glue, which works for most purposes. For our samples or pieces we know will be handled frequently, we use a heavier leather-specific glue, which is essentially the same as Elmer's but contains less water to dilute it.
Any acrylic paint can be used. Apply the paint in thin layers.
There are many types and brands of leather dyes. Angelus is just the brand that we like best.