how to hand stitch frieze leather

Step 1: Gluing leather pieces

Gluing the slice in place helps with your sewing because you won’t have to concern about the leather not lining up. Use any leather glue you can find.

Step 2: Stitching Groove (Volitional)

If you have a stitching groover, use it to create the groove along which you’ll sew. If you don’t have one, you could mark a line with a ruler and any tool you can find that can leave a slight mark on the leather. You will need a guide to sew along if you want it to look even!

Step 3: Mark Stitch Spacing (optional)

If you have a stitching wheel, mark the spacing. Without one, you could use the awl to lightly mark the leather at even distances. Again, this is important preparation to get an even and professional look.

Step 4: Prepare Thread & Needles

Prepare your 1 thread with 2 needles (one on each end).

Step 5: Pierce the leather with the awl

The leather is very thick and you’ll have to pierce the holes using an awl. When doing so, make sure you always hold it straight and don’t pierce the leather at an angle. You can use your left hand to support the leather on the other side if it moves too much.

Step 6: Pull first needle through

Pull the needle through the hole until you are at the center of the thread (each side should have the same amount of thread). Note: I’m going to refer to the needle in your right hand as needle 2 and the one in your left hand as needle 1.

Step 7: At the second hole

Pierce another hole next to the previous one with your awl and push the left needle (needle 1) through while holding the needle 2 behind it. Once you pulled needle 1 through the hole, twist your right hand (holding both needles) towards you and push needle 2 through the same hole as the thread. Be careful not to pierce the thread! Make sure to always pierce the needle next to the thread (closer towards you) to make the stitches more even. The rotation creates a knot that can now be pulled through the leather.

Step 9: At the end of the stitch

When you’re finished, make sure to backstitch 2 holes into the direction where you started to secure the thread. You can use your awl to enlarge the existing holes.

Step 10: Finishing

Cut the threads close to the leather.

If you’re using polyester thread or unwaxed thread that might start fraying, you can burn the ends of the thread to melt them. That will keep them from fraying. Be careful not to mark or burn the leather!


If you have a stitching wheel, you can run over the stitch again to even them out even more. It helps to give your project a better look and feel! Here’s a closeup of a piece of hand-sewn leather scrap.