Monday, October 22, 2012

I love working with leather.  I love the smell of it.  I love the varying textures of it.  I love its durability as well as its rich, luxe quality.  Leather just says LUXE. 

 Leather has been used since the dawn of man.  Leather is the skin from birds, reptiles or animals with the hair or fiber removed. It must be treated first to not rot over the course of time.  Leather is often the byproduct from the food industry, so where there is prime rib, there is leather.

Before the skins, known as hides, become leather they must be processed.  First they are cured to prevent the skins from rotting.  During the curing process the hair and flesh is removed from the skins and they are dried.  After the skins are cured they are tanned.  The main reason for the hides to be tanned is to prevent them from rotting, and keep them from becoming hard and eventually cracking.  The tanning process can take anywhere from a few hours to up to a year depending on the process and thickness of the hide.

Splitting, coloring, and finishing follow the tanning process, AND this my friend is the point of this blog post.  PATENT leather.

 Patent leather goes through the same treatment above but is then finished with successive coats of polyurethane, the end result being a high shine, high luster finish that is very durable.  I just nabbed me some high-shine, high-gloss patent leather.  It is so glass like, I just want to put it in my mouth.  Perhaps I will make something from it instead!  My inclination for this shiny ass hide is to turn it into jewelry.  Or a bag.

Sewing with patent leather can be a bitch.  I recommend using a machine with a walking foot and a Teflon foot.  Always use polyester thread.  Use scraps first to set correct tension, and go SLOW.  Once you perforate the hide with the needle, you are forever left with a hole.

Off to play in patent leather land… I hope I see a patent unicorn there!

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