This is not an article that takes a harsh look at machine-sewn leather products. Sewing machines have a very clear position and this is completely up to the customer’s ultimate will. Maybe that is little passive positivity. But let’s dive in to see the differences.
Machine sewing is not bad. In fact, machine sewing has one huge advantage over hand-sewing, which is the advantage of speed hundreds of times. Hence sewing machines are used by default in leather production, especially in large volume production workshops. Choosing machine sewing is choosing to sacrifice some factors of quality for the sake of speed. Sewing machines often use thinner and cheaper threads, which results in the product being less durable. Even when high-quality thread is used, machine sewing depends on the latch point. Latch point is also known as repeating the last 2-3 stitches at the end of an outline. When the lifted needle moves to a different seam, the thread is left somewhere between the layers of skin.
Sewing machines are very widely used. Machine sewing is often used on large models such as handbags, but sometimes even small patterns like purses. The machine can do the same thing hundreds of times faster than any mechanic. If quality is foremost concern, it is not how fast the machine can be sewn but how to do it.
Sewing machine excels in speed hundreds of times but without the ingenuity of the craftsman with sewing needles in hand.
What is saddle stitching?
Saddle stitching is a form of hand stitch in which both ends of one length of thread are threaded through each stitch, crossed back and forth along the entire length of the stitch. The term saddle stitching comes from saddle stitching manufacturers who use this technique, even though the stitching method dates back even more. Saddlers need a way to stitch thick leather pieces together. The saddle has to endure bearing, the frequency of use is very large. For much of saddle saddle manufacturing did not have a sewing machine. To this day, the best saddle is still hand sewn.
Difference in durability
Hand stitching provides the strongest and safest durability when connecting pieces of skin together. When 1 of the 2 threads is broken, the remaining stitches will not come out.
Machine sewing is different. Instead of 2 colors only alternating on both sides in hand stitch, you see 1 face orange and 1 side blue. Looks safe until 1 of the 2 thread breaks. The small loops next to the broken point will start to peel off and the whole stitch will slip out it is only a matter of time.
Machine seams are straight stitches. Whereas hand stitching has a pleasant loop that creates diagonal lines along the stitching edge stemming from subtle swirls when one thread overlaps the other to switch stitches.
The size, shape and angle of hand stitches vary widely. The most traditional tool for hand stitching leather is an awl, which creates diamond-shaped holes. There is a stick that can punch several holes at the same time. Both come in different sizes and designs for each product and the size thread will be used but both create stitches that are narrow in the leather.