How To Thread a Needle for Sewing Leather

needles thread and scissors for sewing leather

In this short and practical tutorial I will show you how to properly thread a needle for sewing leather goods. Do it a few times and you’ll get the hang of it quickly. When sewing leather, 99% of the time you will be using a stitch called the saddle stitch. This requires one piece of thread with a needle on each end of it. The thread I am using for this example is Ritza Tiger Thread, 1.2mm in a natural tan color. I also have two John James Needles size 002 and a handy pair of Gingher serrated edge scissors that make cutting thread and leather a breeze. Below is a quick video demonstration as well as photos of each step:

cutting thread for sewing leather

First things first – to help get that thread through the tiny eye of the needle, I cut the tip at a sharp angle.feeding thread through eye of the needle before sewing through leather

Pinching the tip of the thread with my thumb and pointer finger, I ease it through the eye of the needle and give it a little push through while still pinching down on the thread. Once through I can pull it about 2 to 3 needle lengths through the other side.piercing thread on a leather sewing needle

To lock the thread onto the needle I then pierce the thread about 1.5 needle lengths down.locking the thread onto the needle for leather sewing

I slide the pierced side upward…how to thread a needle for sewing leather

and over the eye of the needle.

Next I straighten out the thread, but I do not pull it tight. You do not want the loop to close up back toward the eye. Leaving this large loop in place actually makes it easier to pull the thread through leather, especially when using thicker thread or sewing layers of thick leather. A common rookie mistake is to pull that loop tight up to the eye of the needle, trust me – don’t do it!threaded needles for leather sewing using the saddle stitch method

Repeat the process on the other end of the thread so that you have two needles ready to sew your leather. I the next tutorial I will show you How to Sew Leather Using the Basic Saddle Stitch. If you have any questions – please ask in the comment section below, I can usually respond within a day. Have a good one!

Next Tutorial - Saddle Stitch

3 thoughts on “How To Thread a Needle for Sewing Leather

  1. Dennis says:

    Hi! Thank you for your informative articles! Would you have any tips on how to estimate how much thread you need for a saddle stitch? I always end up cutting too long, which wastes thread or too short, which forces me to backstitch and continue midway …

    • Mr. Lentz says:

      Hi Dennis – sure, well it depends on three things: the overall thickness of the item sewn, the length of the stitching, and the amount of stitches per inch. Let’s say you have 10 inches to sew two pieces of 6/7 oz leather (so 14oz overall thickness) and 6 stitches per inch.I don’t have a formula for you but upon looking at that piece I would want a bit over 30 inches of thread for a saddle stitch. You’ll lose several inches just installing the needles and of course each pass through the leather eats up length within the leather. Over time you kind of gain an eye for what’s correct…ultimately it is better to have more thread than less since it takes longer to fix a sewn piece where you come up short. Thread is relatively cheap so don’t fret about wasting a bit on each end – that’s typical. Thanks!

      • Dennis says:

        Hi, thank you for your advice! It was a very helpful starting point and I’ve been able to better optimise my guestimates of the needed thread length. I’ve added your website to my favourites to pick up more of the valuable lessons you have in your tutorials!

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