Best Thread For Hand Stitching Leather

When you are involved in making leather items, you want the stitches to be durable so that every leather piece is bonded perfectly, ensuring that your good’s lifespan is increased and all customers are satisfied. But how do you achieve a good stitch?

For good stitches, you need good flexible yet tough threads, allowing a smooth hand stitching experience. The best threads for hand stitching leather are polyester threads, linen threads, and nylon threads.

Today’s article will focus on comparing some of these threads and acquainting you with them so that you can easily make a good purchase.

List Of Thread For Hand Stitching Leather

  1. Selric high strength #69 T70 thread
  2. COATS & CLARJ Extra Strong Upholstery
  3. Mandel Crafts Heavy-duty thread
  4. Desirable Life Store #69 T70 210D/3
  5. Tandy Leather Black 1227-01
  6. SIMPIZA 8 Pcs sewing stitching thread
  7. NYKKOLA Waxed 150D stitching sewing thread
  8. Threadart Heavy Duty Thread #69 T70
  9. SGT KNOTS #69 Milspec Sewing Thread
  10. Lineco Waxed Genuine Thread
  11. Tandy Leather Factory Waxed Thread
  12. FEPITO 21pcs Leather Waxed Thread
  13. VERTICAL ACTIVEWEAR 12 pcs Leather Craft Tool
  14. BAGERLA Store Leather Sewing Upholstery Repair Kit

Comparison Chart Of Best Thread For Hand Stitching Leather

Thread NameTHREAD TYPELENGTHWEIGHT
Selric high strength #69 T70 thread  Polyester1500 Yards4.6 ounces
COATS & CLARJ Extra Strong Upholstery  Nylon150 Yards0.64 ounces
Mandel Crafts Heavy-duty thread  Bonded Nylon1500 Yards2.4 ounces
Desirable Life Store #69 T70 210D/3  Bonded Nylon1500 Yards 6.4 ounces
Tandy Leather Black 1227-01  Waxed Nylon25 Yards0.32 ounces
SIMPIZA 8 Pcs sewing stitching thread  Waxed Nylon262 Yards7.4 ounces
NYKKOLA Waxed 150D stitching sewing thread  Polyester284 Yards3.2 ounces
Threadart Heavy Duty Thread #69 T70  Bonded Nylon  1650 Yards5 ounces
SGT KNOTS #69 Milspec Sewing Thread  Bonded Nylon3000 yards8.5 ounces
Lineco Waxed Genuine Thread  Linen20 Yards1.58 ounces
Tandy Leather Factory Waxed ThreadWaxed Linen25 Yards0.32 ounces
FEPITO 21pcs Leather Waxed Thread  Waxed Cord264 Yards8.1 ounces
VERTICAL ACTIVEWEAR 12 pcs Leather Craft Tool  Waxed Polyester13 yards1.58 ounces
BAGERLA Store Leather Sewing Upholstery Repair Kit  Cord50 meters per rollNot Stated

What Kind Of Threads To Use For Leather?

Waxed and non-waxed threads are both suitable for hand sewing leather, although, as expected, waxed options are safer.

A waxed thread is more resistant to weather conditions like water, heat, and damages caused due to UV rays; they are also resistant to mildew and rot, which increases your product’s longevity.

A pre-waxed thread can also be more easily pulled through holes as the smooth texture will resist friction, making every leather crafter’s work easier.

If your thread is not waxed, you can choose to make it so by dipping the thread into the wax and drying it properly before using it for sewing.

Polyester threads, bonded nylon threads, and linen threads of different thicknesses are some of the best options to choose from when it comes to hand sewing leather; compared to other threads, they are comparatively stronger and more durable, assisting you in making a long-lasting product.

Weak threads like cotton are more likely to rot due to all the organic chemicals in your leather.

Polyester Threads

Polyester threads are widely used to hand sew leather, all thanks to their incredible strength, which allows them to withstand force. When pulled or stretched, it is resistant to tears. The tensile strength allows it to be used for hand stitching, while the smooth build makes the job easier since friction between the leather and thread is at a minimum. It is resistant to water, making sure the colored ones never stain your leather surface. A good polyester thread doesn’t require waxing to extend its life span; it is naturally resistant to mildew, water, and UV rays.

Pros

  1. Resistant to rot as they are made of synthetic fibers.
  2. It can be elongated without causing any tears.
  3. Has the ability not to be affected by extremely high temperatures (melting temperature is 260 degrees Celsius).
  4. It makes the sewing process easier.
  5. Resistant to UV rays and different types of chemicals allowing it to be washed easily.
  6. The surface is very smooth, providing a neat appearance.
  7. It is resistant to abrasion.

Cons:

  • Requires a protective coating so that it doesn’t absorb other fluids.
  • Doesn’t react well with alkaline chemicals.

Linen Thread

Another suitable option for hand-stitching leather is linen threads. Coming in different colors and thicknesses, they allow you to sew leathers of differing thicknesses.

Linen threads are made of the flax plant’s textile fiber, consisting of natural cellulose that provides amazing quality.

When sewn with linen threads, you can expect the bond to be flexible yet strong, allowing leather workers to make some of the most perfect products. They can thus, be used to make handbags, shoes, luggage, briefcases, saddles, etc., and are also commonly used for precise works.

Linen threads are best when waxed, as it makes them stronger and easier to stitch with.

Pros

  1. They don’t elongate much and thus, hold the pieces in the intended position.
  2. Linen threads are resistant to wear, making them long-lasting.
  3. It can be used to make small precise stitches.
  4. The threads have high strength and so are unlikely to tear.
  5. Resistant to most environmental conditions like light, heat, and climate.

Cons

  • It needs to be waxed to allow you to sew easily.
  • Not suitable for use when stitching using a sewing machine.

Nylon Threads

Available in a huge range of thicknesses, the nylon or bonded nylon threads are compatible with leathers of varying thickness. All leather workers appreciate bonded nylon threads due to their durability and strength.

When stitched with nylon threads, leather goods tend to get amazing bonds that are resistant to wear and tear. Stitching used bonded nylon threads is the easiest due to the smooth bonding, which greatly reduces friction, allowing smooth workflow.

Pros

  1. It is very affordable.
  2. It can be stretched without causing any damage.
  3. Resistant to abrasion and UV rays.

Cons

  • It does not perform well when in contact with sunlight.
  • Deteriorates after long-term exposure to sunlight.

Guide For Choosing Threads For Hand-Stitching Leather

Thread Composition

What is the thread made of? Is it made artificially, or is it made out of plant fibers? These are some questions that you need to ask before making a purchase.

You can check the product’s label, box, or website to seek information about its composition.

Threads made out of plant fiber, like linen threads (which are made of flax), are less resistant to tear and tend to wear with time and use. Instead, man-made thread-like polyester is better suitable for stitching leather due to its incredible durability and strength. 

Wax Content

As we have mentioned before, a waxed thread holds more advantages than non-waxed ones. It has a firmer structure that increases overall strength and a smooth texture that allows it to be easily inserted and easily gripped onto while hand stitching.

Some threads will come already waxed, while others need to be run through a block of beeswax to make working easier.

Man-made threads tend to be pre-waxed, whereas threads like linen need to be coated with beeswax before usage.

How It Is Made 

The manufacturing process makes a big impact on the usage of threads when it comes to hand stitching leather. Some threads are made by twisting thinner threads, while in others, the thinner threads are braided together.

Twisted ones are more likely to untwist during the hand-stitching process, which can be rough. Instead, you can choose to buy braided ones which are durable and unlikely to open.

How Easy It Is To Use

When buying threads for hand stitching, we always want them to be easy to use. Although your skills contribute a lot to your stitching process, the thread plays an important role too.

Threads that maintain their structure and are less likely to get twisted tend to be better suitable for hand stitching; polyester is a good example.

Soft threads like linen or cotton lack the firm structure that tends to flop around, making your working process messier.

How Easy It Is To Thread

These days, leather goods are widely used, meaning that leatherworkers often tend to have their handful due to all the orders they get. So, manufacturers are always looking for ways to increase their working speed. A good thread can be easily threaded onto a needle.

Your working speed is likely to increase, meaning it will benefit your workflow gravely. Threads with smooth surfaces are more appreciated as friction is cut down, making them easier to thread. As you can guess, the wax content affects this factor. 

Sizes

Leathers come in different thicknesses, and weights meaning threads of varying diameters are needed to hold them together.

You need to check the diameter of the thread (usually written on the box or label) before purchasing to make sure it will be suitable for making the perfect seams on the thickness of leather that you often use.

Appearance And Color

To give your products a chic and neat look, you need the threads to look good. Hence, threads that remain twisted without becoming furry with time are usually ideal choices.

What colors the thread is available in is another important factor. Usually, different shades of browns, greys, whites, and blacks are the most used colors, although some clothes and bags will use colorful threads to add a fun touch.

You also need to make sure that the color doesn’t bleed off of the thread when it comes in contact with water. 

Price

As usual, price plays a big role in your purchases. Naturally-made threads are more expensive as they are longer lasting. Comparatively, man-made options like polyester are cheaper; however, they provide all the required facilities.

Leather Hand Sewing Thread Size Chart

Thread SizeDiameterBreak strength
33.0050 inches1.8 lbs.
46.0094 inches7.5 lbs.
69.0115 inches11 lbs.
92.0133 inches14.5 lbs.
138.0163 inches22 lbs.
207.0200 inches32 lbs.
277.0231 inches45 lbs.
346.0258 inches53 lbs.
415.0283 inches72 lbs.
554.0326 inches83 lbs.

Leather Hand-Stitching Techniques

  1. Check the strength of the thread by wrapping it around two of your fingers and trying to tear it. A good thread is unlikely to tear despite applying a large amount of tension.
  2. Prep your thread; if it is not waxed, run it through a block of beeswax. This will make it easier for you to sew with the thread. Cut off a piece of thread that is 2.5 times longer than the length of your seam.
  3. To pass the waxed piece of thread through the needle’s eye, you can wet or pinch the tip.
  4. Make marks on your leather, and then make pricks to sew through easily. This will make it easier to sew through.
  5. Start stitching from the end away from you to the end that is close to you to get better output results.
  6. When stitching on leather, making a knot doesn’t work as it is likely to pass through the holes made by the needle. Instead, you can backstitch to lock the thread onto your leather.
  7. While working on thick leather, it is best to start your stitches 4 mm from the edge, and when using thin leather pieces, you should make stitches 3 mm from the edge.
  8. Saddle stitches are the best choice as they allow complete stitches on both sides instead of the commonly used stitch that looks like a broken line. You can make saddle stitches using two needles or one.
  9. Make a backstitch at the end, too, to make sure your thread is locked in properly. When using nylon threads, burning the ends curls it and prevents it from slipping out.
  10. Press down the stitches after placing a paper on the top to attain a neat look.
  11. When stitching glued pieces of leather, they need to be skived beforehand to achieve good results.
  12. If the thread tears, after threading a new piece of thread onto the needle, start stitching from one step back to make sure the stitch doesn’t come loose.
  13. It is best to use colored threads instead of dying them later on. Remember that only nylon threads can be dyed.

What Tools And Materials Are Needed To Hand- Stitching Leather?

Needle

Needles are an essential part of all stitching projects. The most common stitching method used to stitch leather is the saddle stitching method due to the result’s appearance and durability. While saddle stitching, harness needles are commonly used.

Harness needles are available in different sizes; you need to shop carefully depending on the thickness of leather that you commonly use. A blade that isn’t strong enough for penetrating your leather is more likely to break.

Stitching Pony

A stitching pony has teeth that are capable of gripping your leather piece for you. The bolts can be adjusted so that they can clamp onto leathers of varying thickness tightly, and then, both your hands are free to focus on making the perfect stitches. This allows you to make saddle stitches that require two needles.

A leather stitching pony needs to be placed between your legs and sat on to hold it straight. You can also adjust the neck to let it stand in whichever direction you wish. Ponies with the adjustable neck are said to have a swivel function.

Scissors

As you could have guessed, a commonly used tool while stitching is the scissor. It needs to be used to cut threads whenever necessary.

Beeswax

Due to leather’s texture, stitching is already a hard process. An unwaxed thread is likely to make the job harder, so having a block of beeswax around will allow you to wax your threads (all you need to do is run the thread through the block) whenever needed, making your sewing task easier. Candles are suitable alternatives for beeswax.

Pricking Iron

It would be best if you pricked holes onto the edge when it comes to leather, unlike most other materials where you make holes as you stitch. A pricking iron helps in making these holes, allowing you to sew through them later on easily.

Stitching Awl

A stitching awl is used after making holes with a pricking iron to ensure the hole is completely punched through. Stitching awls require frequent sharpening by stropping to make sure that the diamond-shaped tip can properly create holes for you.

Marble Slab And Rubber Board

One needs to strike the pricking iron on a mallet to make an impact on the piece of leather they are working on. This process creates unpleasant sounds but mounting your rubber boards on a marble slab before pricking helps cut down the noisiness.

Lighter

As we mentioned before, the edges of some threads need to be burned to make them curl and prevent them from slipping off of the holes. This is why a lighter will come in handy while working.

Mallet

When making holes on leather using an iron prick, what you need is a mallet. A wooden or rawhide mallet is a good option that will prevent your pricking tool from being damaged.

FAQ

What weight thread should I use for leather?

For leather pieces whose weight ranges between 3 to oz. you can choose to use bonded nylon #92 or a #138 thread.  #92 is also suitable for use on 6 to 8 oz. of leather, although some might not prefer it.

Anything 12 oz. or thicker needs #207 or #277 threads to hold the leather pieces strongly. The weight of the thread needs to be changed with the thickness of leather as it affects the thread’s breaking strength.

Do you need a waxed thread for leather?

Waxing makes your thread stronger, increasing its longevity, helps in creating tight seams, and also increases the smoothness of your thread’s surface.

A waxed thread cuts down on friction, allowing it to easily pass through without untwisting any of the thread’s fibers; it also prevents your thread from twisting. Thus, a waxed thread is a must for hand stitching leather.

What is the strongest Gutermann thread?

The Guttermann Extra Strong 100% Polyester thread is one of the strongest threads out there, allowing you to make stitches on denim, leather, tents, furniture, etc.

It doesn’t wear easily and has a high breaking point, allowing it to stitch seams that can be stretched without causing tears.

Final Word

Which is the best thread for hand stitching leather?

There is no exact answer. Nylon threads, polyester threads, and linen threads are all worthy choices, each with its own pros and cons. Which you use will depend on personal preference, the type of work you do, and the leather you use. We hope that our guide and comparison chart will help you invest in a thread that will serve you and your customers well!

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