Sewing leather clothing items can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you’re looking for an easy way to hem a leather skirt or pair of pants, it’ll be easy to find. The bottom line is, there are several methods you can use to hem anything made out of leather, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are essentially three ways to hem clothing made out of leather. They include sewing it, using fabric tape, and gluing it, and they are all much easier than you think.
Getting Started with Hemming a Leather Skirt:
To hem a leather skirt, you have to first decide what length you want the skirt to be. Measure the length you want and leave 1 to 1.5 inches for the hem allowance, then cut out any extra material. You have to figure out the exact length because you don’t want the skirt to be either too long or too short. Now let’s take a closer look at the three main ways for hemming a skirt made out of leather.
#1: Sewing the Leather Skirt Hem with a Sewing Machine
First of all, you should get together the following items before you get started:
- Piece of cloth (thin)
- Sewing machine
You’ll want to try on the skirt first so you can measure how big you want the hem to be. For this step, you should use chalk instead of straight pins, which can leave ugly marks on leather. You can sew a leather skirt hem in one of two ways: by hand or with a sewing machine.
Try to use nylon thread, which is much better for leather because it tends to be thicker and more durable. Also, a size 14 or 16 needle usually works best on leather. Once you cut off the extra material on your skirt, take the edges and fold them up to the spot that you marked with chalk.
Next, place the thin cloth on the hem and iron it with a high-quality iron. This will hold the hem in place until you get to the next step, which is sewing the hem.
Sew the hem on your skirt either by hand or with a sewing machine. Use the method you feel most comfortable with, but using either a zigzag stitch or a straight stitch generally works best for this type of job because these stitches have a much cleaner look.
#2: Hem a Leather Skirt Using Fabric Tape
For this method, you’ll need the following items:
- Piece of cloth (thin)
- Two-sided fabric tape
Once you determine where the hem will be and you mark the skirt’s length with your chalk, go ahead and fold up the edges of the skirt to the mark you’ve made. Place the thin cloth on the skirt, then iron the folded area by using the dry heat setting on the iron.
Once again, cut off the extra material, but make sure you leave 1 to 1.5 inches of fabric from the length you marked with your chalk. Next, take the fabric tape and place it in the right spot where it will be invisible from the outside of the skirt.
Then, iron the skirt again and make sure that the tape sticks properly on both sides of the fabric. For the best results, choose a tape that is durable and can hold the leather in place at all times, regardless of all of the movement you’ll experience while wearing the skirt from now on.
#3: Using Glue to Hem a Leather Skirt
This is often considered the lazy way to hem a leather skirt, but it works! It’s a super-easy process and won’t cost you much money, either, so it’s a great option for people who don’t like to sew and who don’t want to bring the job to a professional. Here are the materials you’ll need to complete the project:
- Fabric glue
- Fabric clip
Once again, you’ll be preparing the skirt like you did for the previous two methods, including leaving 1 to 1.5 inches of fabric from the mark you made with chalk, then cutting out the extra fabric.
When you apply the glue, apply it directly on the leather. If you like, you can even put some of the adhesive on a plate and spread it on the hem allowance. To do this, use a brush and make sure the adhesive is spread thinly and very evenly.
Next, fold up the hem then press it firmly with your hand. Make sure the leather is nice and smoothed out, then take a fabric clip and use that to hold up the hem.
Now all you have to do is let the adhesive dry and you’re all set to enjoy your leather skirt.
Some Sewing Tips to Keep In Mind
There are some things you can do to make it easier to hem a leather skirt, or any other leather clothing item, and these include the following:
- Always iron on a dry heat setting. Otherwise, the moisture from the iron might ruin the leather.
- Remember that you have several options for hemming the skirt: a straight stitch or zigzag stitch when using a machine; a straight stitch, a back stitch, or another hemming stitch if you sew by hand; and even the use of a serger if you prefer.
- Try to iron a good crease on the skirt, or apply fusible web for holding the hem in place. You cannot sew the hem unless you use something to keep it in place first.
- Keep in mind that some leather can actually be left unfinished and cut. This is because leather doesn’t split or fray like so many other materials do.
- Once you’re finished hemming the skirt, give it one last ironing so that it looks crisp and fresh the first time you wear it.
- Never iron a leather item without the piece of cloth over the fabric. Otherwise, it can ruin the leather.
Materials You’ll Need for Hemming Leather Skirts
If you’re wondering about the specific materials you’ll need, one of the things you’ll want to do is find materials specifically made to work with leather items. This includes your glue, the thread, the needle, and even the sewing foot you use. Here are some suggestions:
- Thin cloth: cotton or organza fabric works best.
- Glue: in addition to specialized leather glue, you can also use rubber cement, a glue stick, or go ahead and get the double-sided tape made for leather.
- Sewing foot: the best suggestion is a roller foot that is ultraglide or made out of Teflon.
- Clips: these do not have to be made specifically for fabric. They can include binder clips or plain paper clips. You’re just using it to hold the fabric together for a time.
- Needles: getting needles made for leather or denim works best. Suggested sizes include 70/10, 90/14, 80/12, 110/18, or 100/16.
- Thread: thread for thick fabrics such as leather work best, but you can use an all-purpose polyester thread for thinner leather and a good upholstery thread for thicker leather.
If you need to hem a leather skirt, you’ll find it isn’t always as different as working with other fabrics. Like any other sewing projects, it just takes a little time, patience, and practice.