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How to sew leather appliques to any t-shirt

How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt

One of the extras i love adding to the Mini Briar sewing pattern, is leather appliques and slogans. A lot of people have mentioned to me that they find this really intimidating, but i’m here today to share with you my failsafe trick for sewing leather to almost any fabric, stretch or woven.

This technique obviously lends itself beautifully to my Mini Briar sewing pattern, but you can give this a try with any garment that you’d like to add leather patches to.

How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirtHow to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt

The first step is to cut out your design or stencil. A large heart and two slogan appliques (AWE-SOME // LIKE YEAH) are included with the Mini Briar pattern, but you can easily create your own by hand or computer.

Important! When tracing your design on to the back of the leather make sure that you reverse it, otherwise everything will be backwards when you flip it the right way round

How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt

AND NOW for my special trick: GLUE! Find yourself a stick of regular old water-soluble glue. If you have kids, raid their craft supplies – if you don’t, you can find regular glue sticks in basically any store. Super market, target, craft hubs – everywhere.

Apply glue to the back of your leather and stick it in place on your t-shirt. For this tutorial I put the leather on after I had made the whole t-shirt, but in general it’s easiest to do your applique before you construct your tee.

Leave it to dry. I know that’s gonna take some patience, but it’s worth it.

How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt How to sew leather appliques to a t-shirt

Once the glue is dry, topstitch around the edge, directly through the leather and the tee. I use regular thread, and a medium to long stitch length. Do not use a short stitch length as you will essentially cut through the leather. You want to puncture and attached, not cut a line.

A walking foot will help, but in all honestly, i didn’t use one for any of these appliques. Just go slowly, and if you are able to adjust the foot pressure on your machine, then reduce the pressure a bit. Above you can see three tees i made – two i used a single needle and a straight stitch, and for the third i used a twin needle just for something different. You could also use a zig zag stitch, or decorative stitch!

I’m usually a backstitcher – but for this i find it best to use a needle to bring your threads to the inside of the garment and tie a knot – it results in a nicer clean finish.

When your tee is washed all the glue will wash away leaving your perfectly attached applique!

Important! If you decide to apply leather to any tees please treat it with a bit of care. Do not tumble dry, and wash in a cool delicate wash. It’s completely fine to use leather patches on kids clothing (i do it for my kids all the time) just make sure you wash it nicely, and afterwards, reshape the leather and let it dry flat. Don’t tumble dry (i know i said it already, but it bears repeating). For more tips on how to wash clothing with leather patches/appliques, please check out this post!

This technique obviously lends itself beautifully to my Mini Briar sewing pattern, but you can give this a try with any garment that you’d like to add leather patches to.

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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nicole
nicole
6 years ago

très joli, j’adore