Today is a round up of saddle stitching videos. Saddle stitching is one of the strongest stitches that you can do and is much stronger than a machine stitch. Unfortunately, it also has to be done by hand. Why is it stronger? Barrett Alley has a nice explanation and a nifty diagram
on their site* here:
When a machine lock stitch breaks, the thread on both sides on the material is loosened and the product becomes weak or falls apart. If a hand sewn saddle stitch breaks, the thread is only loosened on one side and the stitch running on the other side of the material continues to hold the materials together.
*looks like Barrett Alley’s site went down so we posted the image above.
There are many techniques to doing a saddle stitch but the basic principals are the same. Two needles, doing figure eights down a line at the edge of your material.
If you’re a complete beginner, I’d suggest Al Stolhman’s book on hand sewing. It has a nice, illustrated example how to stitch in the fastest and most efficient manner: two handed with an awl. Also the book is downloadable from Tandy so if you’re into immediate gratification, you can pick it up instantly. There’s also the paperback version of Hand Sewing Leather on Amazon if you’d rather have a hard copy.
Some of the videos below don’t follow this technique but I included them so you could see saddle stitching from different viewing angles and also to illustrate that there’s more than one way to do this. As I mentioned, I think that the two handed with awl method is fastest but you might find some of the other methods better suited to your dexterity/preferences.
Some things that these videos don’t cover: punching the stitching holes, waxing thread and threading the needles. Punching stitching holes will vary depending on what tools are available to you but I highly prefer pricking irons. They make smaller holes and straighter lines than punches, drills and stitching wheels. Stohlman’s book shows how to use a stitching wheel and then pre-punching with an awl but I think that using pricking irons is both faster and saves sharpening on your awl.
Waxing is pretty straightforward- you can get a feel for if you’re over or under waxing as you go. Same things goes for threading the needle. There are techniques for both, maybe worth separate postings on their own.
People say that he’s moving a little slow but i think it’s still good technique. If nothing else, this is how you should feel when saddle stitching, relaxed, not frantic and even pace.
2. MyLeather Saddle Stitching (Korea)
Doesn’t use an awl in this example but this video is a good view from the side. Like the previous example, the holes are pre-made.
3. Tandy Single and Saddle Stitching (George Hurst)
Saddle stitch starts at 2:50. A good example of how to keep the threads in the same order consistently. George sews back to front (opposite of what Stohlman and the Hermes way ) but the front to back way is similar. No awl here either and kinda bigger holes.
4. Arukus Saddle Stitching Lesson (Japan)
A much slower version but clearer than the previous video. Again the same principles apply but the technique is different. He uses both needles at the same time and only uses the awl in a few places. IMHO using both needles at once is slow goings but it might make more sense for you.
Do you have a video that you’d like to share on saddle stitching? Share below in comments.
bonjour, merci pour les vidéos !
mais le liens:
ne fonctionne pas… 🙁
Hello, thanks for the videos !
but the link:
doesn’t work 😛
have a nice day.
Thanks for letting us know.
It looks like their site went down. I pasted the image into the article.
I can’t seem to open the first tube video on Hermes. It’s marked private. Does anyone have the access code? Thanks!
I updated that link. Thanks for letting us know!
I know that this article is a little old but I would like to add a link to Armitage Leather’s Saddle stitch in detail video on You Tube.
It’s a very good video that goes over many different ways to saddle stitch, including left handed stitching.
I appreciate your contribution. Thanks, SDavis!
I think the Tandy one was for demonstration only…you could drive a truck through those holes. There is Leatherwork Academy ?? European, Alex Monreau, he does wonderful work but it just too damn quick to learn anything from.
The Hermes was the most inspiring.
Thanks for your feedback, CAT! I appreciate your input.
Walter R Davis
In the Tandy video it seems like the single needle stitching would be equally strong as the 2 needle saddle stitching. It is basically the same thing ,just a different way to get there. What is the opinion of other folks with more experience than myself ?
Hi Walter. Generally speaking, a saddle stitch will last longer since it’s made up of two independent stitches (instead of just one). Thanks for reading and commenting!