Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Let's Talk Leather...

If you sew with leather, here are some photos of my recent findings to whet your appetite...

Feels like magic in your hands.

Texturally exciting, and great color...

Rhythmic, erratic shapes that fuel the imagination, and create the illusion of depth and uneven terrain.


North American Tanning Corp., simply called "NAT" for short, is a quiet, cozy, welcoming leather shop that recently appeared on my radar, after a warm invitation from the proprietor, Nick Kamali to come and pay a visit.

And I'm glad I went!

While there is a company website, what you wouldn't know after visiting the site, is that they will serve anyone with a serious interest, whether purchasing small quantities or large ones.  Current trends suggest that most leather shoppers are likely to be doing more accessories, handbags, shoes, custom pieces, home decor, craft items or creations for the hospitality industry these days, nothing but your own imagination what you can create.


North American Tanning Corp.
248 East 35th Street
Suite 505
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212-643-1702
Fax: 516-808-4015


The quality of the goods is clear.  Simply touching many of the pieces in the showroom reveal their quality.  The pricing is reasonable, with many of the pieces being offered between $4 and $10 per square foot.  Allow yourself to explore the offerings, and don't be afraid to ask for pricing when you see something you love.  One of the great things about my conversation with Nick, is that he knows you need no convincing of the quality of his goods.  You can simply feel it.

The colors and dye quality of the leathers in the showroom is just fantastic.  Nick works with forecasters to establish a season's color palette, but, in my opinion, ask him to show you a color named "horizon", which defies any adjective I can give it.  You'll just have to see it for yourself.

Pay the company a visit.  Don't be shy.  You won't be disappointed. 

And yes... while this blog has explored the idea of sewing with leather before, you really need to know that not all leathers are equal, and it is great to know exactly what you are buying and how to evaluate it before you work with it.  Different places serve different  clientele, and the vendors are as unique as the audience each serves.

Leather does create fear in the hearts of many who have yet to explore, and for good reason.  If you've been dreaming, and have yet to commit, I have listed some classic objections, and links to the answers for your consideration below:

Can my machine handle leather? Well, maybe, maybe not.  Follow the link to understand the considerations you will need to take.  You can also sew leather by hand, if you follow the proper techniques. See the book links below. What does a leather mallet look like?  How/why do I use it, and what other things can I make the leather do?

Are there any books that can help me learn, improve, or evaluate my options on my own?  Where can I take classes?  What if I want to become an expert? (For future reference, (if you read this post months from now, the link takes you to Fashion Institute of Technology's leather program - their links tend to expire over time.)

Are there any special garment district businesses that will help me finish my project?  Sure!  Wanna add closures, studs, sculpt your leather into something amazing?

Where can I buy a leather needle for my machine? There are many choices, follow the link for one of them, but also feel free to visit may other stores mentioned on this blog... there are plenty of places! Where can I buy a leather needle for sewing by hand?  What kind of thread should I use?

Where can I buy leather glue?

You likely knew the answers to those questions already, but if you didn't, consider this post to be your virtual arrow to the businesses and services you need.

3 comments:

  1. The best source for leather making tools and supplies in NYC is: Henry Westphal, 115 West 25th St. 212-563-5990. They have all the knives, hammers, mallets, glue, needles, thread, etc. It is also the only place that I trust to sharpen my scissors. They sell every kind of scissor and shear and will sharpen any blade including your pinking shears. This is where the FIT students go for all their supplies. Another thing they will do is create custom presser feet and attachments for your industrial machine. For those of you who are fans of The City Quilter, the store is just up the block.
    For fantastic classes in footwear and handbag constuction. The JCC in Manhattan (76th & Amsterdam Ave) offers courses taught by former FIT instructors. The footwear classes are so popular that there is usually a waiting list.

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  2. thank you for visiting N.A.T. Leathers, it was great meeting you. fyi, in case you need to purchase online, we do have a website for skins to purchase http://natleathers.bigcartel.com/

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