At the moment I am working on a new project, a classic lady bag. Some of you might have seen it on my Instagram story. I am aways looking for new projects with new techniques to eventually master leathercraft. Even though I am not applying this technique in my new project I will certainly use it in another project. I do not only love the look but also the texture of it… I am of course talking about leather weaving.
Nope, not braiding…
This technique can be confused by leather braiding, for example on edges or in jewellery, however, it is a completely different technique. With this technique, you don’t braid but really weave leather strips togeather till it forms a flat patch. You might have done some weaving in your youth with those bright coloured paper strips but even for me, it is quite some time ago. So let’s refresh our memory, how do you weave?
How to …
For the real basic leather weaving, you can cut your piece of leather into thin strips, the width is up to your preference. You lay half of your strips down, for example, horizontally and then you start with a single strip vertically one over the first strip, beneath the next and over the next. Continue until you have reached the last horizontal strip. Take, the next vertical strip and start this time nog over the first strip but underneath, continue alternately over and under the strips.
Besides this basic type of weaving many other types of weaving like the basket weave, the twill weave or satin weave, with all their variations. The main message of weaving is connecting the strips in such order a firm plaid is created.
- Design your own patterns: In the design process, you can alternate with different colours or types of leather to create patterns such as:
- Differ the sizes: You can differ in width of the stripes. You can make them all very thin for a fine leather weaving, thick for a more rough look or combine all different kind of width for a little more chaotic look. See my newest Pinterest board for more inspiration
Finishing the edges…
The next most important part besides the weaving is the finish of the edges. Because if you will just leave it as it is it will unravel in a matter of seconds. To finish the edges a technique called twining can be used to ‘lock’ the strips and to be able to hem the borders.
If this might sound difficult to you, you can also choose one of the other options mentioned below.
Of course, there will be challenges with leather weaving. If it was easy we would already have used it for everything, because it is just lovely. But there some obstacles:
- Not fraying: First of all you should prevent it from fraying as mentioned in the paragraph above. This will make or break your product.
- Equally tight: since you want to create a uniform looking plaid all strips should be equally tightened.
- Strength: Weaving might strengthen your piece although if you don’t make it correctly it might also be a weak spot.
- Time-consuming: probably the biggest challenge for leather weaving is finding the time to weave. It is a very time-consuming project but in the end, it will pay off!
There are another few possibilities to create the look but not that much work with some alterations:
- Fake weaving by stamping: If you do like the look and care less about the real texture, leather stamping with a basket stamping set is an option for you. There are probably hundreds of examples you can find on Pinterest. I am not familiar with leather stamping so maybe in the future, but for now, you will have to do the research yourself.
- Slit the leather: Another option is to make little slits in the leather with your knife, but I think I have also seen a tool on the internet to punch them. Through all those little slits, you can weave the leather strips. In this case, you eventually will have 2 layers of leather which will increase the strength but also the cost of your product.
I hope I have given you some inspiration (and otherwise more inspiration on this Pinterest board!!) and you might have learned a trick or two. I’m sure I will use it in many other products because with the same piece of leather you can process it in an even more beautiful and elegant product with these types of leather weaving! To learn more techniques check out the Pure Leather page to review earlier posts with many more techniques!