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leather shapes leather shapes



Hand-crafted, and decorative leatherwork. How is it done? - continued

The third method is the most decorative and perhaps the strongest; leather thonging or lacing. This is done by threading a narrow strip of leather (which can be bought all ready to be used in widths of ¹/8" – ¹/4" and lengths from one yard to 100 yards) through and around holes or slits punched in the leather.

different methods of thonging

different methods of thonging

Running stitch (see below); Buckstitch, angled slits; Buckstitch, straight slits

Whipstitch; Single-loop stitch; Double-loop stitch; Double-loop 2-tone

Primarily this method is used to attach the interior parts to the exterior tooled parts. There are a great many styles of thonging, ranging from the extremely simple to enormously complex. However, whatever method is used the only way a good, hand-made, hand-sewn wallet or purse will come apart at the seams is with a sharp knife.

different methods of thonging

Triple-loop stitch;       Mexican basketweave;      Double-loop applique

The illustrations above show just a suggestion of some of the methods of thonging (or lacing) for assembling the various parts of a leather article. There are I believe at least fifteen different ways of thonging ranging from the extremely simple to hair-tearingly complex. Books galore are available showing in painstaking detail every move to make, but I thought at least a glimpse of some of them would give an idea of what they will look like.


The Running Stitch

The running stitch uses 1½" times the length of lace to the length of your project using /32"thickness of lace through /32" punched holes. As an example, if your project measures 18" around the part you are going to lace then you will need 1 times that, or, in other words, 27" of lace.

Figure 1 shows you how to start, and it's exactly as you begin the Whip stitch. Next, as illustrated in Fig 2, you push the needle through the next hole from the back, continuing through the slit in the end of the lace and out through the opposing hole in the front. Now, as pictured in Fig 3, you pull the stitch up tight to lock the end of the lace. Push the neeedle through the next hole while being careful not to twist the lace. As can be seen in Fig 4 this stitch is pulled up tight and you then proceed to lace in and out of the holes, continually pulling the stitches up tightly as you go along.

Carry on lacing to the last hole as in Fig 5 then follow up as shown in Fig 6 by pushing the needle through it. Prise the leather sides apart and push the neeedle back through the next to last hole exiting the needle up between them. The loose loops shown in Fig 7 are pulled tight and all the slack is pulled out of the lace. As can be seen in Fig 8 all the stitches have been pulled tight and you can now cut off the lace end close to the leather. Tap gently all round the lacing with a mallet to flatten and complete the finished appearance.

 These next three Figures apply if you aren't lacing all the way round your project. In Fig 9 you'll see that you start lacing between the leathers in the seccond hole in the back piece only. You then go through the first hole in the back, through the slit in the end of the lace then through thr first hole in the front. Next, lace through the second hole (for the second time through the back hole) then continue lacing in the usual manner. In Fig 10 you can see that when tying off you go through the penultimate hole and bring the lace up between the sides and go back a few stitches. Figure 11 illustrates using the Running stitch on a single thickness of leather. You begin lacing from the back in the first hole, back through the second hole and also through the slit in the lace end finishing off by running the lace under the last stitch on the back.


Click for Turk's-head knot & monkey's-fist


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leather shapes leather shapes