Butt and Box Stitch. Part 3 – Problems with Butt Stitch

Written on 03 Sep 2016

Leather keepsake box/container

Problems with butt stitch can be overcome, resulting in beautiful leather items

Welcome to the third part of the series, ‘Butt and Box Stitch’.

If you’ve been following this series you may have already been practising ‘Butt Stitch’ as outlined in ‘Part 2 – Understanding Butt Stitch’. If so, you may also have come across one or two problems. Below, I have outlined the common problems with butt stitch and how to overcome them with further practise.

  • “I keep running out of thread before I reach the end of my row of stitches and I have measured it as I usually do for Saddle Stitch”.  Try allowing enough thread for five times the distance to be stitched, plus 30cms – 40cms extra.
  • “The Harness awl is tearing through the leather as I try piercing”. There could be a couple of reasons for this:  1) Check that the blade of your harness awl is very sharp.  2) Try tweaking the angle of the awl slightly until you find the most successful technique.
  • “I’m tearing through the stitches as I pull the thread”. There are two possible reasons:  1) The awl hasn’t penetrated the leather enough – maybe you just pushed through the tip – and so the hole isn’t big enough for the needle and thread to pass through easily;  2) Perhaps you are pulling the threads ‘outwards’ (as for Saddle Stitch) instead of ‘downwards’ ie in the direction of your row of stitches.
  • “I have finished the row of stitching but the raw edges are not as flush as I would have expected”. This could be because the harness awl  may not have exited the raw edge at the same point for every stitch – for example, if your leather was 3mm thick an
    Problems with butt stitch include torn stitches

    Torn stitches can be a problem with Butt stitch

    d the awl exited at (half way) 1.5mm in some places but at 1mm or 2mm in others, then you wouldn’t get as neat a finish.

Part 4 of this series can be found by following this link: Butt and Box Stitch. Part 4 – Preparing for Box Stitch

If you missed Part 2 of this series, the link is here: Butt and Box Stitch. Part 2 – Understanding Butt Stitch



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