I recently turned a pen from a wood and resin blank that I cast myself. I was so pleased with the pen I wanted to make a nice leather sleeve to protect it in my bag.
I love the way this turned out and I'm really pleased with my stitching on this project, take a look a the stitching step to see the tip I recently picked up.
What you will need :-
Sharp knife to cut out the leather
pencil or pen to make the pattern
pricking iron or punch and hammer to make the holes for stitching
calipers to mark out the stitching positions
metal rule to keep your cutting straight
lighter or matches to seal the end of the thread
Small piece of leather ( I used a very small piece of 2mm Veg Tan )
Paper for the pattern
Thread to stitch
Finishes (I used just neetsfoot oil)
Step 1: Create Your Template
To create the template, I laid out my pen on a sheet of paper and sketched the rough shape I wanted to make the final sleeve. I then drew out how it would look opened out using a ruler and the corner of a sheet of paper to keep the lines straight and corners square and to make sure the sizes were correct.
In my case, the template consisted of a rectangle that was 150mm tall and 100mm wide. I drew a line down the middle 50mm in from each side where the fold would be and in the top left corner, I rounded over the edge. I did this freehand but you could use a plate or a cup to get a nice smooth radius. I started at the centre line and had the curve come down to about 20mm down the right hand side.
Step 2: Cut Out Your Leather
To cut the leather, I carefully held my template over the piece of leather I was using and carefully cut round the shape. I used a metal rule to keep the knife straight on the straight lines and just cut carefully on the curve. Once agin though, you could use a plate or a cup or other round item to cut round to keep your radius smooth.
When cutting, take care not to cut yourself and keep the knife vertical so you don't get unwanted bevelled edges.
It's usually best not to try and cut the the leather in one go but to take a number of lighter passes with the knife
You can stick the template to the leather using masking tape if you find that easier.
Step 3: Fold and Glue
You don't have to glue but I find it can help with stitching. I used Copydex glue and carefully applied round the edge, taking care not to get any on the top edge or at the side beyond where the curve starts.
Let the glue go off for 10 minutes or so before joining the pieces together and if using contact cement make sure you join the leather in the right place as it can be difficult to unstick.
Step 4: Stitching
First you need to mark where your stitching will run. I use a pair of callipers set to about 3 or 4mm to create a nice neat line at a consistent distance from the edge.
You now need to punch the holes for the needles to go through. I use some pricking irons to do this, mine were in a cheap Chinese leather set from eBay and whilst the quality in some ways reflects the price paid, I have to say it it is perfectly serviceable set that has served me well for about a year now.
The trick I have learned most recently is to hold the pricking irons so that you are looking down the pricks with the stitching line running away from you, as you line up along the line you have made. This is a revelation to me as in the past, I have had the stitching line running parallel to me and I have struggled to keep my line straight and my pricking irons vertical.
I use a saddle type stitch, the way I do this is :-
- Cut a piece of thread about 4 times the length of the stitching you need to complete ( many people say 3 times but I ran out a couple of times so I use 4 times).
- Thread both ends of the thread, as you push the thread through the eye of the needle, pull some through and then push the needle through the thread to stop the thread coming out of the needle then pull it tight.
- Start by pushing both needles though adjacent holes at one end of your lie of stitching. Hold the thread coming out of the second hole with the leather in your left hand and take the needle coming out of the end hole in your right hand and pass it through the back of the hole the second needle came out of
- Keeping the same needle push it through the front of the next hole and then swap hands
- Repeat this until you get to the end of stitching, as you go along make sure for each stitch you do everything the same, the thread always going the same way round, always keeping the thread tight and pulling taught at the same point in each stitch etc.
- To finish, continue so that you go over the last stitch or 2 twice and then push the needle out so that it comes out between the 2 pieces of leather
- cut off the thread and seal with a lighter.
Step 5: Finishing
To finish, the world is your oyster, there are dyes, finishes, edge treatments etc. made for leather, but I wanted to keep this one very simple and natural so I opted just to rub some neatsfoot oil over the piece. The neatsfoot oil does darken the leather but it improves the condition and I like the colour it adds.
So there we are done, a sleeve fit for my nice new fountain pen.
I've created this instructable as an entry into the "1 hour challenge" so if you found it helpful, I'd love it if you would consider voting below.
Thanks for looking