How to Sew Cowhide

The fresh smell of leather and a soft, shiny texture that's pleasing to the touch is an assurance of quality cowhide. You can find cowhide in such home products as pillows, rugs and costumes. Each type of cowhide is unique, with its own spotted patterns, shades of browns or blacks, and shape. Sewing cowhide could prove to be a little tough, but there are tricks that will save you from calloused fingers.

Decide what you'll be making with your hide. Cut out cowhide pieces for your pattern. The hide pieces will often be too thick to even attempt to sew by hand. It would be safer to use a sewing machine, no matter how thick or thin the leather is, since you could easily poke yourself trying to do this.

Prepare a sewing machine for a fast and industrious tailoring job. An industrial sewing machine would be ideal, but you can use a basic home sewing machine, too. Buy a leather sewing needle for it, which is very sharp and will cut rather than punch holes.

Match up the pattern edges according to where they should be sewn. Refrain from pinning the edges together since that will create noticeable holes—bring out the rubber glue instead. Place your pieces onto a table in front of you and carefully line one of the edges with the glue. Wipe off any extra glue with a paper towel.

Press the outer pieces of the cowhide on top of each other to make about 1/2-inch puckered seams from the edge; make sure the edges are equally distanced and parallel. Wait for about an hour for the glue to dry. Be careful of handling it after that. You'll now have a glimpse of what your pattern will look like on the cowhide.

Thread your machine and bobbin with a thick thread. Drag out the bobbin thread about 6 inches. Set your machine to a high speed; straight-stitch and even alter the length of stitch that you prefer. Stick in a sample square of cowhide underneath the sewing machine and press the foot pedal slowly to start sewing.

Assess the correct application of foot pressure on the pedal. It's important to gain a feel for sewing the cowhide before sewing the real prepared pieces. Stop the pressure and gently pull out the material sample. Snip off the thread to free this piece from the machine.

Mount the cowhide you've planned to sew into the machine. Check all the settings one more time. Sit and begin pressing down your on the pedal with your sewing foot. Use your hands to firmly guide the cowhide.

Sew at a slow and gradual pace; increase your speed as you gain confidence. Pull the cowhide out when you're done; cut off the thread to free it from the machine.