My Cart


Designed and Handcrafted in Bisbee, Arizona


Posted on November 01 2017

  • Lay out a nice large sheet of white paper.
  • Carefully arrange one side of the chosen vest.    image1
  • Trace around it with a pencil, making sure you do it accurately, including the seam.
  • Extend the edges in your pattern for the sides and the shoulder. You will be turning over the edges and gluing them in order to make the seams strong. Leather holes often expand and loosen with wear. This will hold your seams and stitching in place for ever.
  • Repeat the process for the back of the vest   Image3 Image 3
  • Cut out the pattern.
  • Happy day, here is the skin you will be working with.  I know it looks enormous, but strangely enough, “Orthopedic Cowskin” is stretched in the process of production. It is supple and lovely.
  • It is preferable to use a pencil rather than a pen for marking the pattern onto the skin.
  • Cut out the pattern. Do not worry about the bottom edges, you will be making decisions about how you would like to finish them later.
  • Here comes the Barge Glue. You are going to have to work subtly with it, because the glue can come rushing out of the tube and really mess things up, so practice first in laying out a very thin line of glue before you work with the leather.
  • I sometimes take the edge I am going to glue, fold it and tap it with my hammer to give the fold a bit of memory before gluing.
  • Lay the glue in a fine skinny line. I often run my finger along it to thin it out.
  • Wait about a minute before folding, reducing the “wetness” of the glue. You want it tacky and giving it a little time helps.
  • Fold down your edge and hammer it tight.
  • Punch hole down one side of the vest. Use your pencil to match the holes for the other side and punch them too.
  • Always use much more length of leather thread than you think you are going to need. I've made a little film about how to cut this leather thong. It is on this website.   The choices about which kinds of leather are suitable for this work is another subject!
  • Plan where the stitching will begin and end. Sometimes you might want to finish with some small beads and otherwise you will be tucking the end of the leather stitching into an internal seam.
  • In using your pre-cut thong, do your best not to twist it as you sew. Simply keep checking it and turning the leather as you work. If you are working with tight holes, pull the needle through with pliers.
  • When the thong I am working with is particularly long, I often sew in a series of loops and pull each one tight when working with a running stitch on edges.
  • Now that you have understood this much, I can pretty well trust you to finish the vest! I will show you next how to work the pockets.


    Leave a comment

    All blog comments are checked prior to publishing