Establishing a pattern

Establishing a pattern

Establishing a pattern

It’s all very well to follow your instincts, but once you start crafting leather at any serious level, you are going to have to learn to cut patterns uniformly and accurately. Here is how to get started.

If you are going to make more than one of a design, it makes sense to make templates and to make them out of a material that will last. We recommend strong cardboard, you can always make a new template if it shows signs of wearing out. This will avoid the use of non-recyclable plastic.

Templates don’t just determine size and shape, they can also guide where stitches need to be placed and where holes need to be punched.

How simple or complicated a template is obviously depends on what is being made.  A simple one will define just the shape of the leather to be used to make something like a wallet. A more complicated one will hold just about all the information needed to complete the project, including stitch guidance, hole marks and where pleats and folds need to be made.

To make a pattern, obviously you first need to decide what you want to make and how many pieces of leather you will need to make it.

Draw these shapes onto the card, making sure any pieces that need to be joined fit precisely and make sure you allow for the leather that will be used in the seams. When drawing the initial designs, measure and measure again to ensure all pieces match. Mistakes at this point could well result in wasted leather.

When you have added all the detail you need, including zip and stitch placement, you need to cut the template out.

This is as important as the initial drawing. It doesn’t matter how accurate the shape you have drawn is, if it is not cut out completely accurately. If a piece is symmetrical, fold it in half and cut through two layers to ensure complete accuracy. Use a sharp craft knife or scalpel, and make sure you use a steel rule as a guide when cutting straight lines.

Good template design can cut down on waste and will always make the crafting process easier. Once you’ve made you template, all you have to is mark up your leather and cut it. Good luck!