Quick Birthday Gift

Bryan and I are invited to a birthday party this evening and so I needed a small gift for someone I don’t know all that well. I decided to make a leather key leash as outlined in my 2007 post over at The Sewing Divas (hit the back button to return here). I chose some red leather from my stash and used baby blue #69 bonded nylon thread for the stitching.


Gluing the two layers of leather together took the longest. Once the glue was dry, it took less than 10 minutes to cut and sew. I just love a quick project!



Filed under Accessories, Leatherwork

18 responses to “Quick Birthday Gift

  1. It is so satisfying to start and finish a project all in the same day, or hour even. I have been looking a lot at leather projects lately. I have done a lot of sewing but not with leather. Is it a lot like using a thick fabric? What kind of a needle do you use? Do you have to glue it, could you just sew it? Can you buy leather in small pieces. I keep finding whole hides, or tiny scraps at craft stores.

  2. Most of the leather I have in my stash is full hides. A full cowhide is pretty huge but sometimes you can buy smaller hides (of other animals) or half hides.

    I use a size 20 or 22 needle on a compound-feed walking-foot machine. A smaller needle wouldn’t accommodate the weight of the thread I use to sew heavier leathers. I really do prefer to glue the two pieces of leather together before sewing because it makes for a smoother finished product. It’s also pretty tough to sew such narrow pieces together otherwise.

    Leather isn’t difficult to sew but it is not as forgiving as fabric. You can’t rip out seams on leather because the holes are permanent.

  3. jennifer

    That is so cool. What a great idea!

  4. Rosie

    Great gift! Your talent/creativity knows no end. Lucky us!

  5. Wow! Looks great, I have some leather scraps and partial hides but have only made small things like a phone pouch so far.

  6. Wow! I want to come play at Gigi’s fantasy sewing world…dang you have everything handy to make anything you can dream of! This is a great gift btw!

  7. I’ve made a few of these as gifts – they are always a hit! Gigi, did you finish the cut edges of the leather? You’ve mentioned a product that does that, but I can’t recall the name of it.

    • Yes, I finished the edges with Fiebing’s Edge Kote in neutral. I love the neutral because it works with any color leather!

  8. Love that! I’ll take two, please! đŸ™‚

  9. Janine

    Any ideas on where to find leather without having to buy an entire hide?
    Does it come in different weights or thicknesses?
    What type of heavier thread should be used?
    And finally, where to find the hardware?


    • Janine, you want something medium weight and not too soft – what you’d use for a structured purse. I’ve bought some pieces on Ebay at good prices. Also try Tandy Leather in Sunrise (Sunrise Blvd. a couple of miles east of University) next time you come down. They have smaller pieces and scraps as well as all the hardware.

  10. Ellen

    I hope I’m not being a pest but I would like to ask you some more about quilting on industrial sewing machines. I left a comment a couple of months ago and you replied saying that it is possible to quilt with an industrial machine. Since then I have called a couple of dealers in the Dallas area and I can’t get anyone to talk to me about this. All I have found out is that I have to remove the feed dogs or put a plate over them to quilt. I think you mentioned having a friend that works or sells industrial machines. Would it be possible to get your friend’s name and number so I could get some more information? I could possibly buy this from your friend as well. If you have an email address please send it to my email above and we can work out the details. What kind of machine to you have? I’m thinking it has to be a single needle straight stitch. I would love a machine with enough power to sew leather or heavy fabrics if possible.

    Thank you in advance for any help.

    • Ellen, you can quilt on any industrial single-needle machine. The feeders are removed via two screws and the standard needle plate is replaced with one that has a single hole. Check my post at https://behindtheseams.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/preparing-for-the-week-ahead/ to see how the feeder is removed. That’s all there is to it, very simple.

      I am not surprised that industrial dealers can’t help you with the quilting aspect since that is really not their area of expertise. I could give you my friend’s number but he wouldn’t be able to advise you either (and he doesn’t ship industrial machines).

      As to getting a machine that also sews leather and heavy work, well, you will have to choose one or the other. A clothing machine that you can use for quilting is not going to be able to handle heavy work and vice versa. Many first time buyers make the mistake of thinking that all industrial machines can handle heavy work which is absolutely not the case.

      My advice to you would be to buy a good-quality Juki or Consew straight stitch machine (used around $700, new around $1200, complete). I have a Consew 105 and a Consew 230R-1, both of which I use for quilting. I like the 230R better for quilting because it is a self-oiler, the 105 is not. If you are looking at new machines, the Consew 7360R (self-oiler) is very nice.

  11. Lula

    Hi there, daily reader here…hopefully you can help me! I came across a Yamato z361 machine for $295. I am interested in getting more involved in sewing as a hobby and hopefully as a way to make extra cash (making curtains, the really snazzy ones!) I know that you have some knowledge of the machinery aspect, do you think I should snap up the Yamato? I did a little research and the cheapest one I could find was around $700. If you could give any advice, I’d appreciate it!

    • Getting an industrial serger for $295 is like getting it for free! Provided that it is in good working order and complete, yes, I’d snap it up.

  12. SewingLibrarian

    I love this idea and did some investigating. I found the swivel hooks at Michaels in the sewing section. I also realized I have some in my closet from old handbag shoulder straps that I’ve never used. In fact, the bags are gone, but I still have the straps! I think one could find more at thrift stores. I’m still looking for the key rings, but, again, one could recycle old key chains, etc. I have leather remnants from a home dec fabric store – don’t know if they still carry them. I bought these pieces many years ago. But anyone in the San Diego area can check We ‘R Fabrics to see if they still carry the leather remnants. I also saw packages of small leather remnants at Michaels, but I didn’t look closely to see if any piece was long enough for this project. Hope this helps Janine and others.

  13. Great gift! Your talent/creativity knows no end. Lucky us!