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How Can I Make My Own Leather Sofa? What Skills and Tools Do I Need?

By Jeff Frank

Making a leather sofa is not a project to be undertaken without substantial training and skills. If you have to ask how to make a leather sofa, this is not a project you are ready to attempt.

  • Finding a leather supplier is not difficult. Be prepared to pay $1000 (or much more) just for the leather needed to make a sofa.
  • Cutting and sewing leather requires completely different tools and techniques than are needed for fabrics. Double needle stitching is extremely time consuming and requires a special sewing machine.
  • Leather is much thicker than fabric.
  • Normal sewing machines will not work on leather. Thick full grain leather may require different sewing machines than top grain leathers.
  • Sewing takes far more time. Hides are often too small to cover large (or long) areas of the sofa. This requires stitching smaller pieces of hide together. That is not easy to do correctly so that everything lines up and appears straight.

Hides have an irregular shape and will have imperfections which must be cut around. These imperfections could include holes, brands, insect bites, barbed wire scratches, etc. Sewing leather requires completely different techniques and machinery.

  • Leather cutting is an art. A skilled leather cutter may waste 20% of the hide. An inexperienced cutter can easily waste more than 50%.
  • From a cost stand point this means that if a skilled leather cutter needs $1000 worth of leather you may need $2000 or more for the same piece.

Both sewing and upholstering leather require far more time and skill than when working with fabrics.

Even if you are a highly skilled upholsterer for fabric furniture you will not be able to translate those skills to leather furniture without extensive additional training.

Leather is far more difficult to work with. Fixing mistakes is far more difficult. It is also extremely expensive.

If you are still determined to make your own leather couch, check out this 15 minute video from Hart and Hive.

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