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Is it worth ruining your $300 leather jacket by a couple of stitches? Can I embroidery my leather? Today, We’re going to get into this episode and find out how you can make it work.
So embroidery on the leather, you need to make some considerations with the materials you are going to use. Let's start off by talking about leather fabrics now. The most common type of leather is Chrome tanned leather and that just happens to be one of the best fabrics for machine embroidery.
Next is your hooping technique. This might be the most important part of any embroidery, but especially for leather embroidery. The main problem with hooping leather is the fear of your leather getting marked. Higher quality leathers are not going to run that chance of getting marked by hoop as much as lower quality leathers. However, I don’t recommend hooping leather with a traditional hoop; instead, I recommend using special hoops like your magnetic hoops which help protect against hoop burn and are good for those thicker materials like leather.
If you have clamps, you can try hooping your leather with the clamps because it’s going to have less stress on the fabric than your traditional hoops are. You can float your leather with specialty hoops, like the eight on one device if your leather is lighter enough. However, I would recommend sticking to your magnetic hoops and clamps.
If you don’t have a special hoop, you can use your traditional hoops but you are going to take a few steps to avoid marking the fabric. Now, step one is going to be covering, creating a barrier between the leather and the hoop. You can do this with a piece of fabric, you can use a piece of fabric called muslin and that will help create a barrier between leather and hoop.
If you are using your magnetic hoop, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you’re not going to mark another so I recommend using the muslin and the magnetic hoops. That will be your best solution for not marking your fabric with your leather.
Now, you can also float your leather over your hoop and what I mean by floating for those of you who are new to embroidery. What I mean by that is just hooping your stabilizer and then actually grabbing the leather fabric and just putting it on top instead of hooping it together with the stabilizer. You are just going to lay it on top and how you can get the fabric to adhere to the stabilizer. You can use pins, temporary adhesive spray or you can use a combination of two. Also, obviously the pro tip is don’t leave your leather in the hoop for longer than that. It has to be just once you hoop it, get in, embroidery it and unhook it. Don’t leave it for longer. Don’t wait because you don’t want to run that risk of ruining it.
Next up is going to talk about design choice. Obviously, we’re going to want to choose light designs because with leather what can happen and you don’t want this to happen if you have a very high stitch count design. Your leather can just pop right out of your garment and you’re going to have nice leather cutout stitches on it. But we don’t want that to happen so you want to choose your light designs and you want to make sure that it is backed very well.
So obviously when you’re embroidering on the leather, we want to keep the amount of holes in your fabric to a minimum so we want to choose lower density design, lower stitch counts and designs that have longer seizures are going to help to decrease the needle preparations in the fabric, so stay away from your dense pills, stay away from your satin stitches because you do run a chance of ruining your fabric by opening too many holes in it.
Real smart embroiders have a super pro tip for you about digitizing. Even if you’re not just doing your own digitizing, you should still know this. If you want to communicate with your digitizer, start from the true starting point and what that means is that not a lot of designs start from the true starting point. They start from the center and what that does is that it adds another needle perforation and we learned that we want less needle perforations, so tell them from the true starting point and that will help our cause.
Next, let’s cover the stabilizer. What stabilizer do we use now in embroidery, 101, you probably learn that if you have a thicker garment then you can use a tearaway stabilizer. And if you have a thinner less stable garment, then go ahead and use a cutaway stabilizer. However, in the case of leather, that should not be applied.
You should use a stabilizer like cutaway that is going to give you more stability for your stitches. Especially if you have higher stitch count designs that need the support to be able to prepper eight through the fabric. However, as embroidery is a craft you can try what works for you if you really want to use a tearaway then make sure that you’re using a strong stable tearaway that will support your stitches very well and that your design is not a high stich tile design and it’s a very simple light design.
Last but not least, let’s clear up the debate about what needles to use with your leather embroidery. Now a lot of it will depend on what type of leather you’re using but I did want to talk about wedge point needles which are your leather need, if you haven’t heard of them yet, I want to give you some tips on choosing a West Point needle.
Now, a lot of West Point needles out there, most of them are for sewing operations not for machine embroidery, and those needles can actually cause damage when embroidering so make sure what when you are buying a leather needle, what two points needle was called. Make sure that you’re buying a machine embroidery one because that is the one you are going to use. There’s an organ one out there that they have on off stage. Now if you don’t want to buy another needle, you don’t need to, you can use your start point meals.
Let’s talk a little bit about the properties of the leather whether you want to use a sharp point or ball point and what size needle you want to use the penny on the type of fabric. If you have a stiff or spongy leather, then you can use a 75-11 or 80-12 max ballpoint needle on this type of leather because the ballpoint will actually help guard against flagging. However, if you’re embroidering on thinner or softer leather then I recommend using a sharp point needle either a 7010 and a T12 7511 anything in that category is a safe zone for needle to use on softer thinner leather.