Much as I love suede, I have always been afraid of sewing it. It's probably because I have edited one too many articles on sewing suede and I've always felt that I had to have a phalanx of expensive tools to get me a satisfactory result.
In fact, this fear would likely have kept me from ever taking a needle to suede if I hadn't enrolled in an accessories class. One of the projects is a pair of moccasins, and, while we had the option of using fabric, I just couldn't imagine moccasins made in anything but suede.
I headed up to Global Leather in New York City's Garment District, and I was completely overwhelmed. This is a place that serves the trade and there was every kind of leather available in every imaginable color.
I asked for suede and I was pointed to lamb, pig, and calf suede (I think there was goat in there too, but I'm not sure.) I balanced my squeamishness with my awe at the sheer luxury and beauty of the rainbow-hued skins.
I was pretty much left to wander the aisles and finally settled on a mossy green calf suede as the right weight for my moccasins, while still having that soft, buttery feel.
Now that I had my skin, my challenge was how to sew it. We had not sewn leather in the class, but I know that the machines used to do so are heavy-duty industrial contraptions.
|I had never seen so much leather, in so many colors.||This antique spool of silk is 5 inches tall.
||The suede came together surprisingly easily.|
|I was thrilled with the neatness of my home sewing machine stitch.||I was able to sew through as many as five layers on the suede binding.
||Never underestimate your home sewing machine!|
I asked my teacher if I could sew suede on my home sewing machine. She said that if I could sew denim on it, I could sew suede. I didn't have any special thread for sewing, except an ancient spool of silk upholstery thread that I had purchased at the Brimfield antique show. She shrugged her shoulders and said that could work in place of the specialty thread.
Other than figuring out how to use my oversized silk spool on my machine (I wound it off on a bobbin), the sewing was surprisingly straightforward. I used masking tape instead of pins to hold the layers together. Suede, while thick, is soft and molds well. The needle penetrated it easily. In fact, I was able to stitch through up to 5 layers of suede with no problem.
Here I had thought all those years that I needed all sorts of special machinery and tools to sew suede, and I was able to use what I happened to have on hand, combined with a little resourcefulness.
It just goes to show you (and I hope the beginners to sewing out there are listening!) that you should never be afraid to just dive right in and try something at sewing. It's never half as difficult as you think and you don't need a lot of fancy equipment for most stuff, even sewing suede!
For lots more sewing projects that will help beginner and expert sewists alike tackle their fears, check out the last day of 12 Days of Deals (12 deals for $12.12!) in the Sew Daily Shop.
Do you have anything you fear in sewing? Let me know!