Before I apply a new technique to a new bag I make sure I’ve tried it before I start… It would be a shame if firstly, you discover you don’t like the look, secondly, you don’t understand the technique and thirdly, ruin an expensive piece of leather… So grab some scraps and get familiar with the technique, the different steps you need to take and learn from this experience. In the previous post about the leather piping technique (it’s here) I wrote about the technical part of this technique and shared everything I could find, including some youtube videos. In this post, I will show you the different steps, and everything I learned already in this small example.
1. Thin out the leather
Besides the information on the internet, I also found some information about leather piping in the Leatherworking handbook of Valerie Michael. For example, it is important not to use too thick leather. They say it should not be thicker than 1.8 mm. So since my scrap leather was quite thick I thinned it out with my safety beveler (learn more about tools here). With just this little piece of leather, it did not take too long to thin it out, but if you’ve got meters of piping to make, it might be quite a laborious job. Eventually, it was about a little under a millimeter thick and ready to use.
2. The core of your leather piping
You can use different materials as core of your leather piping. Skive the leather only on the sides would make it have the middle as its own core. You could use a leather cord as inner core. If you would like to use a cotton cord as core make sure it is not too big. I’ve used the cotton cord you see on the pictures on my handles but for the leather piping, it was way too thick. Since I did not have a smaller one, I created my own with a little bit of batting glued to each other.
3. The finished leather piping
You can buy pre-fabricated leather piping on a spool but often it does not match your leather. So if you know how to make your own you will always have the right color, size and thickness for your projects. To make sure the core stays in the middle I used glue all over my skived piece of leather and sticked it togeather as close as possible to the core to get a beautifully rounded result.
4. Prepair your project
When you create a piped seam you have to think ahead if it is possible to turn your leather bag or project inside out, because the piping is sewed from the inside out. Make sure your leather is not too thick to turn or designed in such a way it is impossible to flip it insid-out. Once you are ready to sew, lay the ‘good-side’ of the leather together and place the leather piping inbetween with the core to the right side. I’ve pre-punched all the stitching holes on both sides of leather and on the piping as well. If you punch the leather of the piping do it as close to the core as possible.
5. Sew the piping
There is actually no difficulty in sewing the leather piping. Just sew it between the leathers as you know it and you will be fine until your reach a corner… Because once you’ve reached a corner you may want to cut in the leather to make it fan a bit out just as you can see in the pictures below. This will give you some extra room and a more polished look on your edges. Make as many cuts as nessesary to go around the corner.
6. Turn and give it some shape
All ready and done? Turn your project inside out again. It migt look a bit plumpy at the beginning but when you hammer it out you will see more difined lines and shapes and ofcourse a beautifull piping. A next time I would use a little bit smaller piping to make it more refined but for a first try it absolutly did the trick! If you’ve got any questions or advise for me, please leave a comment below.