How to Prepare Leather for Sewing
When I first started leatherworking, I found using an awl to be really tedious and hard. I’m still not the biggest fan of it, but things improved considerably once I sharpened the awl I was using! Most awls are dull as hell when you buy them – especially when ordering from larger companies. I’m still learning how to sharpen properly, but this tutorial from Armitage Leather helped me out considerably:
I used this sharpening stone and some oil to sharpen mine, and finished it on a leather strop to smooth it out. You want your awl to be sharp and diamond shaped. 😀
You can use an awl by holding your work in a stitching pony (or your hands, if you’re brave and well coordinated. I am neither.) and pushing the awl through the pieces of leather horizontally OR you can lay your pieces on a piece of cardboard and push the awl vertically into the leather and through. I prefer using the awl when the leather is laying on a surface – I get more consistent and straight results that way.
Make sure to use the cardboard underneath – if you don’t you will damage and blunt the awl in no time.
Regardless of the orientation of the awl, you need to push it through as straight as possible to make sure your stitching looks nice and neat later. If you angle the awl up or down, chances are it won’t line up with the stitching groove on the opposite side of your piece.
Try to insert the awl into the leather so the diamond puncture is at a 45 degree angle as shown in the photos. This will make your stitching much nicer.
Using an awl to make your stitching holes is definitely one of those things that you’ll only perfect with practice. It can be daunting, but it’s a nice skill to learn!
How to Prepare Leather for Sewing: In this instructable I’ll cover the different ways you can prep your stitching line and punch holes in leather to sew it. I was completely befuddled by this process when I first starting leatherworking, but after a few months of trial and error I fe…