From the time I saw Michael’s jacket, I was scared of this project. Leather is totally unforgiving.
When I’d finished stitching the patch, including adding stitches here and there to clarify the design, I stitched some small samples for testing the fusible, HeatnBond, which its packaging says works on leather.
But first I held the fabric in place with the collar so that I could test how it would look if I proceeded to attach it. It looked great.
After fusing the HeatnBond to the samples, I cut around them, and searched for a place to test applying them to the leather.
Thank goodness, I found an inside pocket that is partially leather-lined. There I tried fusing them to the leather. They would adhere, but no matter how long I applied heat or increased the heat, after cooling, the patches could be peeled off. Maybe it’s because they are so thick with threads. Next I tried stitching three fused samples in different ways, with unsatisfactory results. Fusing didn’t work, and cutting close to the stitching made the samples unfit for attaching with stitches. They looked ragged after I’d put needle and thread through the edges.
Oh, dear. What to do? I concluded that I would have to hem the patch before stitching it to the jacket, which I proceeded to do. Then, another test: I stitched a part of the patch inside a sleeve, where there wouldn’t be any visible damage left. Here’s the hemmed patch stitched to the leather inside a sleeve, and the iron I used for the fusing test.
Stitched with invisible nylon thread and a beading needle, this worked well, though very, very difficult to do. Here’s the patch, stitched to the jacket. As I did this stitching, I was literally sweating with fear… and effort!
(You can see good close-ups at Flickr.)
My middle finger is wounded from pushing the needle through leather. Yes, I have a thimble which I tried to use from time to time, but it didn’t allow me enough dexterity to make tiny stitches with fine wiry thread through leather and the thick patch.
Had it not worked, the back of Michael’s jacket would have looked like this, the test sleeve. See the 90 degree angle of needle holes?
Fortunately, it did work. It looks terrific. In actuality, the colors match perfectly. It’s just the difference in texture that makes them look slightly different in the photograph.
Finally, I wanted to sign my work. Spent most of yesterday trying to find a way to make a small label stitched with my name to put under the Pendleton label. Couldn’t make it happen.
Instead, here’s what I did today.
And close up. All the embroidery on this jacket is done in chain stitch.
Notice that my label echoes the Pendleton label.
I’m pleased with the results. I sure hope Michael will be.
As I write he is about 50 miles from Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. The boat on which he is crewing, Windborn, is first in class in the Newport Bermuda Race.