all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann


This is a much anticipated one – off. Making anything with leather. I made a belt. It was a half day course, and most other courses seemed to be making bags. And I don’t need any more bags. But another leather belt wouldn’t go amiss.

I had no intention of following this up by buying all of the specialist kit and making at home, which is a good thing as it turns out, because leather work requires a lot of specialist tools, very few of which are already lying around in my sewing or tool boxes. Having said, that i was given the beeswax, which will hopefully make threading needles a bit easier in future.

A lot of specialist tools

The first thing that we did was to learn to sew leather. To summarise the process, you mark a line for stitching, then you use another tool to mark the hole positions, then you make the holes, and then you stitch through the holes.

Learning to stitch
Making holes with an awl

After that we chose our leather. I chose black, as my much worn existing belt is brown with a silver buckle. So this one would be different, but actually quite similar, as it made sense to use length and hole positioning from the existing belt as a template for the new one. I had thought that through in advance and deliberately wore my original belt.

Cutting and preparing the edge of the leather takes some time, and more specialised tools. Finally the buckle is inserted, the surrounding leather stuck in place and the holes prepared for stitching. Stitching is pretty much the last stage. We all chose a contrasting thread colour, although it was pointed out that you don’t get to see the stitching when it is worn. To stitch you use a rather strange contraption that holds the leather horizontally in front of you at stitching height. More specialist equipment! A high level of concentration is needed!

And finally we could have our belts embossed, mainly with initials, but as my name only has three letters, i had my name embossed. It turns out that i wear my belt back to front, so we had to work out the right way to do the embossing so that it would read the right way up when worn.

Personalised belt

A conclusion: If a craft requires a needle, other than a knitting needle, then i am keen to try it out. A lot of us watch Suzie Fletcher on the Repair Shop, and i often wonder what she is doing, precisely. Whilst her skills extend way beyond making a belt, i now have a general idea about what she is doing. So that’s leather work explored.

I now have another needle based skill in my craft room, for which i have bought the tools. I will blog about that shortly.

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