How To Hand Stitch Leather and Make a Beautiful Belt

After owning my stitching pony for more than two months, it is time to show you how to use it by making a beautiful belt. I will show you in detail how to use a stitching pony for hand stitching leather, also known as saddle stitching. In order to demonstrate this I will quickly make a belt out of vegetable tanned leather and stitch all around the edges to make another beautiful handmade belt. This is now my third leather working project. Please let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

Video transcript:

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tony Needs Hobbies. My name is Tony and today I will show you in detail how to hand stitch leather and make a nice belt.

To help me with the hand stitching process I’m going to use this stitching pony that I made about two months ago. I posted a video about it as well so be sure to check that out and if you want to find out what I will be doing with this wrought iron, German, pre-World War 1, hand forged anvil be sure to subscribe to my channel. Hint: it will involve hot steel and hammers… And now, without further ado or more misplaced anvils, let’s prepare a belt and hand stitch all along the edge.

From making my previous and first belt I learned a lot. I used a book screw to fix the belt keeper but those are way too thick so I bought a few rivets and used one of those this time. I used this small hammer as an anvil to punch the rivet down. Then I mark the same dimensions using the other belt, cut it to size using a Stanley knife and punch the holes in the strap of leather. After that I shave off some of the leather at the end where the buckle will go. This makes the leather more flexible so that it will nicely bend over. I fix the buckle with some contact cement. From previous time I learned that it was tough to get the stitching punch out of the leather so this time I applied some beeswax on a heated punch. This helped greatly. Then I already stitched a bit to help secure the buckle. I did this part off-camera but don’t worry, I will show you a lot of hand stitching in a minute.

And now it’s finally time to show you how to hand stitch or saddle stitch. I am not that experienced but want to show you that it isn’t that hard at all. You use one piece of thread with on both and a needle. These needles can be locked by punching the needle through the threat after putting the thread through the needle. I am using waxed nylon thread. Normally you would start by back stitching a few stitches. I did not do that because I’m going all around the belt and will be ending at the position where I started and do two additional stitches to fix the thread. I am using one long piece of thread. It’s over 7 meters long so you see me struggling a bit in the beginning. Using this length was a mistake. It goes really slow because you have to  pull the thread through every time and it gets tangled up. Next time I will use more but smaller pieces to speed up the process a bit. Let’s speed this bit up to where everything goes a little bit more smoothly.

To get nice-looking stitches it’s very important to do the process the same every single stitch. In my case I do the following: using an awl I open up the hole so the needle can easily go through, the first needle goes through from the right-hand side, then the needle from the left-hand side goes through, and I make sure that the thread on the right hand side goes over the needle every single time. After that I pull the threads through the leather and fix it by pulling tightly. This gets repeated for every stitch. It’s slow but one of the advantages of hand stitching over machine stitching is that the result is very durable. If one of the stitches breaks machine sewn stitches will unravel, hand stitched stitches will not. If you cannot get the needle through the leather easily, there’s no shame in using some pliers to help with that. Okay, let’s speed up again to show you how to finish it all off.

To finish I will just continue the same process but instead of stopping at the end I will do two more stitches in holes that are already stitched. This makes sure nothing will unravel Then, in the last stitch, I will only pull the needle through from the right hand side so both threads are on the left hand side. Using the end of a very hot screwdriver I then melt the pieces of thread together to secure them tightly. This can only be done if you use synthetic thread like nylon thread because cotton will not melt together. This time I will not dye the leather belt. I really like the color of veg tan leather and in my experience it dried the leather out too much so I will only apply some neatsfoot oil this time.

I hope you learned a little bit about hand stitching and if you liked this video please hit the like button. Be sure to check out some of my other material as well and for now I would like to thank you for  watching. Bye, bye!

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.