Faux leather, also called fake leather or Skai, is a fabric that imitates leather. It is a canvas on which is glued mainly PVC.
A distinction is made between stiffer imitation leathers which are mainly used for creations intended for furnishing or softer imitation leathers which are intended for clothing. They usually contain extra elastane to gain flexibility. There is a wide choice and this fabric is particularly trendy. If at first glance, it may seem complicated to work, it is not once you know how to proceed.
Discover all our advice if you want to sew imitation leather and integrate this material into your sewing projects.
Its composition and maintenance
Faux leather is an economical fabric, which has the advantage of not coming from the animal sector. It is obvious that it is a somewhat specific material, which is intended to imitate leather, but which has neither the properties nor the smell. For its manufacture, synthetic materials based on plastic are used.
It is less resistant than leather and therefore has a shorter lifespan, but its price is also lower.
To make the distinction between imitation leather and leather, it is enough to turn them over. The first has a woven canvas on its back, while of course there is nothing on the back of the leather, but it is sometimes hidden by a lining.
The place of the imitation leather being coated, it is quite easy to maintain. It can be machine washed at low temperature. If the stain is localized, you can wash it with soapy water on a sponge or wipe. Never use bleach and be careful not to scrub too hard, you could damage your fabric. If you must iron it, do it inside out, making sure your iron is not too hot.
How to cut faux leather?
To proceed with the cutting of your imitation leather, nothing could be simpler. You can easily reproduce your pattern on the back thanks to the canvas side. You can trace it using tailor’s chalk or a pen. There are some that are erased by the heat of the iron.
Once the line has been drawn, you can proceed with the cut with your usual scissors or with a rotary cutter, if you have one, because you will gain in precision. In the latter case, be sure to use a cutting board.
What to know before sewing imitation leather?
imitation leather sample for sewing project
To get started in sewing a faux leather pattern, you will need to use the right material. Indeed, it is a material that cannot be worked like other more basic fabrics. Only then will sewing it be easy.
The necessary material for the sewing of the imitation leather
To be able to sew imitation leather, you will need:
Use pins. When preparing, preferably replace pins with fabric clips when combining two layers of fabric. Indeed, the pins will tend to mark the imitation leather. If you do not want to invest in additional equipment, you can replace the clips with paper clips or possibly clothespins, but these are more cumbersome and require more attention when stitching;
Use a Teflon presser foot. It is thanks to this foot that your material will be able to move forward. To recognize it, it is the white presser foot. You can also use a roller foot or a double feed foot. If you use a conventional presser foot, the material will stick to it and you will not be able to sew. If you only plan to sew faux leather very occasionally, you may not want to invest in an extra presser foot. It is then possible to slip between your fabric and the presser foot a sheet of silk, baking paper or to stick masking tape or tape under your presser foot to prevent adhesion between the two materials;
Choose a leather or jeans needle. The choice of needle is essential. For the size, it will be to choose according to the thickness of your fabric. If you want to work a very fine and stretchy imitation leather, then you will have to opt for a needle for stretchy or stretch fabric;
Use a suitable yarn. Preferably choose a polyester thread that will be more resistant.
How to sew faux leather with a sewing machine
sewing faux leather with a sewing machine
Rest assured, it is easier to sew imitation leather than to sew leather by machine.
Once your sewing machine is equipped with the Teflon presser foot, the needle is changed and adapted to your fabric. You can start sewing your imitation leather.
To do this, be sure to set your stitch to 3 or 4. This will be wide enough not to risk cutting your leatherette, but tight enough to allow you to obtain a solid seam.
You can then prepare your seam using the darts, then sew as you would with any fabric.
To open your seams, you can use your iron set to synthetic on the back of the fabric. If you have to iron the right side of your fabric, use a tea towel or any other piece of cotton between the iron and the imitation leather.
While the fabric cools, you can use a weight to hold the seam open permanently. It is always preferable to carry out an ironing test on a scrap of fabric, to make sure that it supports the heat of your iron and to allow you to adapt if necessary.
Very practical, the imitation leather does not fray, you will therefore be spared the realization of finishes for your borders.
Finally, you will not need to own a sophisticated sewing machine to work this material.
Using faux leather for your sewing projects
As we have seen, imitation leather allows a wide variety of creations. Especially since there are different thicknesses, different colors, different textures, etc. Thus, you can use imitation leather for making clothes such as a skirt, pants, etc..
You can also use it to make accessories, for example, a handbag, a purse, a kit, jewelry, etc.
The imitation leather does not fray, it can also be used to make small pieces representing shapes, for example a star, a cloud, etc., to sew or stick on a creation to personalize it.
Finally, imitation leather can be used for furnishing, for example to redo a chair seat, etc.