Best thread for hand-stitching leather

How to choose the correct thread for your leather project?

I see this question being asked a lot in reference to making your own leather bags and accessories. So, what is the best thread for your leather project?


Firstly, you will need to decide what type of thread you want to use. The most common ones that are used are polyester, nylon and linen. You can buy these ready waxed or you can get them unwaxed. It's important to use a waxed thread for your leather as the wax coating will prevent any mold or mildew from forming and will ensure that your item lasts a long time. If you buy unwaxed thread, you can use beeswax to wax it yourself. You do this by pulling the thread through a block of beeswax several times, making sure it's properly coated. My personal preference and recommendation for beginner leather crafters is to use waxed polyester thread. Once you have finished stitching, you can cut the ends of the thread quite short (after back-stitching) and use a lighter to melt them down. If you use waxed linen thread, it won't melt the same way so what you can do, for instance, is add a tiny bit of glue on the ends of the thread and press them down into a stitching holes. Some brands that I recommend checking out are Weixin and Meisi threads (you can get these from Pro Atelier Plus in the UK). You can also get Ritza tiger thread which is popular amongst leatherworkers.

Another thing you must consider is the thickness of the thread. There is no definitive rule to this and no simple answer. The thickness of the thread will depend on the item you are making and the size of your stitching holes. If you are making something delicate, like a leather watch strap, you will probably want small stitching holes and a short stitch length combined with a thin thread. You could try something around 0.40 mm. In my leather handbag and accessory making courses, I always use 0.55 mm or 0.60 mm. It's an appropriate thickness for the handbags and accessories alike. This is combined with a 4 mm pricking iron (that's 4 mm between each tip of the prongs). Some leather craft projects call for large stitching holes. These are often made using a hollow punch or a rotary punch so you are actually cutting a bit of the leather off to make the hole. You will need a thread to match the hole size as you don't want to have any gaps. For a project with larger stitching holes, you could try a thread that is 0.8 to 1 mm thick. When you have large holes, you should have the appropriate stitch length too. If the holes are too close to each other and the waxed thread is thick, the end result might look quite bulky and messy.

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