Elliptical image og leather guitar strap end
Library articles

Saddle Stitch 1

Hand-crafted - without sewing machines

This article is about saddle stitch. What it is and why it is used.

I am not talking about the method of binding books together with staples or thread that also gets called 'saddle stitch'.

I am not talking about the neat rows of decorative stitching that tailors refer to as 'saddle stitch'.

I am talking here exclusively about the age-old method of joining pieces of leather together by hand-stitching, using two needles on each length of thread, known as Saddle Stitch.

You might wonder why I'm being so pedantic.

I've seen many leather goods described as being 'hand made' when they have been sewn using a hand-controlled machine - they're not lying - most of us take technology for granted - but the result in the finished craftwork is different.

But I have also seen some leatherwork described as 'saddle-stitched' when it appears to mean the machine-made pattern produced, not the construction. I do take issue with that.
(Click on my drawing, left, to enlarge image).

Joining leather using saddle-stitch produces a more durable result than a leather seam created by a machine, which is why it's still used on good saddles, even though it's slower and saddles require a lot of stitches.

It might take six hundred or so stitches to complete one of my lined guitar straps.

I've put a couple of pages together to describe the method. ... NEXT

Updated June 26th 2015
My drawing contrasts saddle stitch with machine stitching
Stitch-Compare close-up
Saddle Stitch 1 Saddle Stitch 2 Saddle Stitch 3
Saddle stitch is the classic hand-sewn leatherworking skill, used where both sides of the seam are exposed - traditional saddle-making being the typical example, of course.

I use it for the lining on my straps and to hold the buckles.

Each stitch is individually hand formed, producing the familiar saw-tooth pattern.

But it is not how it LOOKS that makes it real saddle-stitch...
Saddle-stitch around front of a hand-sewn strap
Click IMAGE to enlarge