Friday 20 April 2012


Yes, you read that title right.  Leatherwork!  I have made my first foray into working with leather.  A few months ago I got a lovely new phone.  It is all singing and dancing and I love it.  What I didn't love was the thought of getting it scratched.  As an emergency measure I hand stitched a quick little pouch made of crafting felt.  It worked while I pondered what sort of case to make properly.

After some internal debating I remembered that I had a bag of leather scraps, one of which might just be the right size for a case.  So I ordered some leather sewing needles and started cutting my leather.  I have to say, cutting into this leather scrap was pretty scarey.  I knew if I did it wrong I didn't have any other pieces big enough to try again.  I wasn't going to buy more leather especially for this case, so it had to be right first time.  I got the leather cut and then fitted my leather sewing needle to my sewing machine.

You need a special needle because it has to be extra sharp and strong to pierce the thick leather.  I took some of the scraps of leather left over and started practicing.  I lengthened the stitch as long as it would go and eased the tension off.  The thread stopped looking like it was about to cut the leather in half and I thought I'd have a go with the actual item.

The case itself was very simple.  It was long rectangle with one end folded over to hold the phone and a flap to cover the envelope bit.

Phone Case 02 

It was very simple to stitch two straight lines.  This leather sewing isn't as bad as I thought it would be!

I used a bag clasp to keep the case closed.  I think I originally got the clasp from U-Handbag, but they don't seem to stock it anymore.  The closest I have found to the clasp I used, in another UK online shop, is from MacCulloch & Wallis.  The bottom part of the clasp has prongs that go through the leather and fold in, to hold it in place and the top half has screws that hold it in place.  This required much pressure from an tailor's awl to pierce the leather in the envelope part of the case, but I think that effort was rewarded.

Phone Case 03

I think the clasp gives it a very professional and polished look.  It does, however, mean that the prongs will scratch the very phone I am trying to protect.  So I took a piece of fleece and made it into a liner for the case.  I simply folded it in half and zig-zag stitched around the edges.  To hold the fleece in place, I used fabric glue, applied around the top edge.  I don't think I did it too well as the fleece is starting to come away from the leather.  I might have to try again to get it to stick.  I know it isn't the glue's fault as it works fine with putting fabric into purse frames with nothing else to hold it in place, so it must have been user error.  Luckily, I can try again!

Despite my glue user errors, you can't see the lining from the outside, and I think it looks pretty professional for a girl who has never sewn leather before.

Phone Case 01

I am very tempted to try some more items now from my scraps.  Of course, after I finished the case I remembered that my friends had given me tonnes of leather from their sofa that they were throwing out.  They hacked a massive chunk from the back before throwing it away, just for me.  This means that I didn't need to worry so much about messing up the cutting, though I have to admit, I do like prefer this look for a phone case to the shiny chestnut finish of the sofa leather.  That leather will be used for a bag...... one day ;-)

To look at other finished projects, click the button.

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