How To Choose Suitable Thread For Leather Handicraft

Crafting leather is an art form which requires attention to details, but also to the quality of the materials which are to be used within the product which is being crafted. And while the leather quality should be the top priority of for the professional leather artisan, there are other factors to consider. First, one must consider the glue and binding of the product. Secondly, the stitching of the leather, specifically how to choose the best thread for fine leather work, should be considered.

Keeping the binding in mind

If you have ever purchased a pair of cheap shoes, then you understand the threading issues which can become dominant in leather products. Fraying threads are often the first signs that poor thread choice has been used. Typically, there are two main factor which can contribute to fraying on your leather. When the stitching is inconsistent or when the stitching is too tight, the product is apt to have areas where the threads fray. Additionally, if the thickness of the thread is not appropriate to the thickness of the leather, then there will be fraying.

Keep in mind that when you choose thread that the binding method needs to be at the forefront of a person’s mind. If the binding and glue is to be on several overlapping leather pieces, then the thickness of the leather will require a thicker diameter of thread. However, if the stitching is tight and there are not too many overlapping pieces, then a thinner thread may be used.

Understanding the product and thread relationship

Apart from the functionality of the binding, a leather artisan must take into account the aesthetics of the thread used based upon the product for which it is being used upon. For example, if you are trying to find the best wallet for men, a finer thread will give the wallet a delicate look. However, if you are trying to craft a leather workman’s belt, the thicker thread and wider stitching may be more ideal for obtaining that rugged and “workman’s” look.

Going beyond the aesthetics, when an artisan is trying to determine how to choose the best thread for fine leather work, he or she should consider their target audience. Women, tend to cater to products which have a definitive delicacy. This would mean that a thread of 832 or 0.43mm thread diameter should be used. Men, on the other hand, tend to want a more aggressive look to the leather. 432 or 0.63mm thread diameters may be appropriate. Yet, these diameters are dependent upon the thickness of the leather and the product which is being offered to the target audience. Specifically:

  • 332 or 0.77mm – Should be used for sturdy binding and stitching such as that to be found on the handles of leather handbags, on the inner seams of cowhide pieces (such as at the armpit), and for rugged aesthetics.
  • 432 or 0.63mm – Is a bit thinner than the 0.77mm thread but no so much as to make it a major thread. This thickness may sometimes be used in replacement of 332 threads, especially when blending various stitching styles.
  • 532 (0.57mm) and 632 (0.51mm) – I have placed these two thicknesses together because they are the standard sizes for threadwork. They are ideal for the wallet for men, the handbags for women in that they are no too thick and not too thin. Additionally, if you are attempting to give off the perception of durability to a product, the 532 and 632 threads tend to do so more than the 832 diameter selection.
  • 832 or 0.43mm – Reserve the use of this diameter for extremely fine and delicate detailing. Such items as watch bands, slim wallets, accessories, embroidery on lambskin and on detail work with nubuck leather may choose to use such. It is not recommended that the thread be used on thicker leathers such as Alligator leather or cowhide as the diameter does not equivalate to a durable and quality product in thicker leather work (unless glues and other diameters secure the binding).

Keep in mind that the thicker the thread, the looser the stitching will appear in most cases. Yes, the product will tend to take on a sturdier look, but as an artist, you will want to ensure that the presentation of durability does not overshadow the presentation of quality and craftsmanship within the product.

Color Selection

Once the technical aspects of how to choose a thread for fine leather work has been determined, the professional leather artisan then must determine the color of the thread. It is advised that the thread match the leather. And while there have been a few products which have attempted to contrast the thread with the leather, primarily in using white thread on black leather or vice versa, I have found that such a methodology takes away from the design and frankly gives the piece a cheap appearance. It is ok to use the white to black/ black to white theme on the finer details of a product, so long as the overall thread is not competing with the overall design of the product. What you want as an artist is to make the leather the shining star of the product. Therefore, the color of the thread should blend with the leather, not compete with it.

On the rare occasions where a contrasting color would be more idealistic for the product, craftsmen must understand the complimentary and contradictory colors. Browns and yellows work, Greens and blacks work, white and almost any other color works, reds and blues work. Yet, purple and red do not, green and red (unless you are going for a Christmas look) generally do not, orange and yellow tend to compete when used together and so they do not. My advice is to have a color wheel or make a hue chart if you have any trouble with thread color selections.


How To Clean Nubuck Leather – A Step by Step Guide

When it comes to leather, not all of them are the same and therefore, not all leather should be cleaned and cared for in the same way. Nubuck leather is a more luxurious leather than “standard” leather in general. Details and blemishes on the leather have been buffed out leaving a smooth suede/velvet feel on the surface. Although they are aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable, especially for shoes and furniture, they are a bit difficult to clean. Here’s The Crunchy Ideas guide on how to clean nubuck leather.

Step One: Remove debris by hand

The first part of nubuck leather care is to remove any large debris from the surface of the leather by hand. Keep in mind that any large debris can cause additional damage to the leather if it is rubbed back and forth. If you are uncomfortable with removing the debris by hand, simply turn your shoe upside down and give it a light tap. The point is to dislodge anything which may work as an abrasive against the already soft texture.

Step Two: Use a Nubuck Cleaning Sponge

To maintain the look and feel of your nubuck leather, use a nubuck sponge. The nubuck sponge is specifically designed to clean and care for that specific leather. You don’t need to apply a ton of pressure to the sponge. In fact, it is advised that you keep the pressure minimum when cleaning. The design of the sponge will absorb dirt and mild stains to the leather. Ensure that you clean the entire surface before you proceed to using any cleaners.

Step Three: Perform a light brushing to revive the fibers

Using a nubuck brush or if you chose to use your sponge alongside a cloth, make small circular motions over the surface of the leather. Keep in mind that the leather has already been buffed and that the pores are pretty much gone from the surface of the leather. You do not want to wear a hole or cause a definitive mark to the leather. Even strokes and small circles are best.

Step Four: Spray a thin coat of nubuck cleaner onto the surface

Do not soak the leather when you apply your cleaner to the surface of your furniture or your nubuck shoes. Apply the cleaner in the same method that you would apply spray paint to a surface. Once you have applied the nubuck cleaner, use a toothbrush or a leather brush to gently clean any stains and deep rooted debris from the surface. Remember to work in small strokes, preferably circles for the best results.

Step Five: Dry the leather

All leather is absorbent as it is hide. Even though the nubuck is a top leather which has been sanded and buffed down, it is still a hide and therefore still has crevices in which moisture can accumulate. Do not just set the shoes, wallet, or furniture in the sun to dry. Such could cause the leather to get spots or (depending upon the saturation of the leather) you could get rot on the leather. The best method for drying nubuck leather is a hairdryer put on low to medium heat. Keep the dryer in motion to dry the surface evenly.

Step Six: Gently Sand and Buff out bad stains

There are just some stains which will not come out with the traditional cleaning techniques. You must realize that nubuck cleaner is intended for mild to medium debris. Heavy soiling on nubuck leather may require that the person re-buff or sand down the surface of the leather. While you can do this yourself with a very low grade of sanding paper, it is strongly advised that you bring your shoes or other nubuck product to a leather artisan. The leather is very susceptible to the sanding process and it is quite easy to disfigure the surface from sanding if you do not know what you are doing.

Step Seven: Add conditioner

Just like you would do when washing your hair, the conditioner should be added after the cleaning to give the leather a nice shine. Ensure that the nubuck conditioner is in fact for nubuck and not a generic brand for standard leather. When applying the conditioner, spray according to the instructions, but also ensure that there are no areas which appear to be wet or overly saturated from the conditioner. Allow the conditioner to set in.

Step Eight: Add a protective coat to the leather

There are many brands which are available on the market for nubuck protection and you can check out Crimson Care’s Shoe Cleaner & Conditioner which is best for your nubuck leather care; they have been reviewed and valuated at this article. Typically, the protective coat will be in the form of a spray. You do want to ensure that it is not an acrylic seal that you are adding to the leather. Acrylic seals are, in all reality, a plastic that is being applied to the surface of the leather. As plastic would (1) crack under everyday use (2) possibly minimize the integrity of the leather and the feel of the nubuck and (3) give the surface an unnatural appearance it should be avoided.

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Just Take Care of Your Stuff

If you want to have your nubuck leather looking like new, then you must take care of your stuff. Maintenance is critical as well as day-to-day repair and common sense. If you spill something on your shoes, clean it off. If there is a scuff on the shoe, wait till you get a moment of free time and buff it out. The longevity of the nubuck leather is dependent greatly on the care and cleaning of the product. Should you have any questions about how to clean nubuck leather or if you just want someone professional to clean your nubuck leather, visit your local professional leather artisan. I am sure they would be more than happy to help you.

Leather Types/Info

Don’t You Want To Know What Is Bonded Leather?

Learning about the various types of leather is important because it is a way for you to find what you truly needed and at the same time implement the right course of decisions that could help you along the way as you improve your homes, your offices and personal spaces.

In the eyes of many, leather is always the same but you might be surprised that there are different types of leather. Don’t you want to know what is bonded leather and what is not?

It is irrefutable that technology and development of leather has captivated the world with such style and urgency. It has dominated the homes, the offices and even the public places where gatherings are often made and done.

Since it is already known that there are different types of leather, you can first be acquainted with the elements that makes the leather fall under the category of “bonded leather.” If you want to know what is bonded leather, you need to understand the simplest definitions about it and why it is called as such.

According to Consumer Affairs, it falls under the category of bonded leather if it has “reconstituted” leather or just plain “vinyl” and it is made together to form a seamless piece of leather material.

In comparison to genuine leather, the genuine leather is made entirely from the pieces of animal hide and cost more in comparison to the bonded leather. As cited by the same post, the bonded leather is granting its consumers the chance to enjoy the comfort and look of a leather material without having to worry over its price and value.

However, surprisingly, making a bonded leather is easier said than done. It is like finding a needle in the haystack because the means to collect and gather these leathers are not easy to do and often times difficult to integrate.

At some point, people usually take bonded leathers for granted, but we see bonded leathers when we use accessories made from it. For one, bonded leathers are used in belts and although some could not differentiate bonded from genuine, it is often depicted and seen when you use it.

Bonded leathers don’t last longer than the genuine ones. It is a fact that genuine leathers could last for years and years and it would not even broken in halves because it was created as a whole and not in pieces.

Also, in terms of accessories, it is better to be aware of the differences that bonded leathers could render. For clothing and accessories such as belts and jackets, it is ideal to determine if the accessories or clothing are made from pure leather or bonded ones because its longevity lies on it.

In a post from Live Science, it relayed explicit details regarding the elements regarding bonded leather. According to the post, the bonded leather is basically made from scraps of real leather hides that are mixed with polyurethane, which is mainly a type of plastic material.

Moreover, the material features 60 to 100 percent of pure leather such as the leather from the cowhide, and based on the manufacturing gauges, the durability and strong features of the product is dependent on the actual proportion set forth by the manufacturer.

However, often people mistook the difference of what is bonded leather and what is genuine leather. It is sometimes misdirected and you could be misinformed about the type of leather displayed right before you.

To prove the latter, bonded leather is basically integrated in things such as the furniture, the office supplies and even books and other reading materials are using bonded leather as well.

Here are some of the processes that you need to know pertaining to how bonded leathers are made.

How Bonded Leathers Are Made

  • The manufacturers would gather scraps of leathers and fibers.
  • The manufacturers would then use the gathered scraps and fibers that were left behind while making pure leather elements such as sofa, beds, chairs, belts, clothing and accessories.
  • The scraps would then be used and formed with hard-fiber backing.
  • Manufacturers would also use coats and polishes the finished product to make it look like a real and pure leather.

It does not imply that bonded leathers are not durable nor are the things made from it are of low quality. There are advantages of bonded leathers as well.

Advantages Of Bonded Leathers

  • Bonded leather is priced at a lower cost.
  • It promotes awareness for the environment. It promotes environmental friendliness, since the bonded leather is recycled, made and reclaimed from used materials.

Despite having positive elements and advantages for bonded leather, it is undeniable that it has its own sets of shortcomings as well.

Sets Of Shortcomings

  • Bonded leather has durability concerns.
  • For one, bonded-leather furniture usually does not last longer in comparison to those made from pure leather.
  • It is easily strained and destroyed.

This You Tube video relays the difference genuine and bonded leather and how furniture such as the sofa made from bonded leather tears easily. This is precisely the reason why you need to be aware of the elements along with the possible scenario that could happen to you when you buy things made from bonded leather.

You also need to know the different leather grades along with the tanning methods, and the varying different between saddleback full grain and top grain. It is also important that you are aware of the different between high and low grade leather so that you can make a decision on what and which product you will choose or buy.

It is not a bad thing to know what is bonded leather and what is not. It is a way for you to prepare yourself and be aware of the elements that could help you make a choice in the present and in your future endeavors.

Sometimes being aware of something and knowing something are helpful for you and in your upcoming decisions. Also, knowing the different types of leather and its uses along with its disadvantages will surely help you to prevent forthcoming complaints and possible issues regarding pure leather and bonded leather.