Hand Stitching: Box Stitch
The box stitch is similar to the saddle stitch, but it joins two pieces of leather at a 90-degree angle for three-dimensional shapes. The stitch can be difficult in its traditional form, but this is a simplified version for simple projects. Although this tutorial features a curved edge, the box stitch can be used for straight edges, too.
2 harness needles, #00
Adjustable stitching groover
Hand Stitching: Using a Stitching Groover
Hand Stitching: Using a Pricking Iron
Hand Stitching: Using an Awl
1 Prepare for Stitching. Using the stitching groover and pricking iron, pre-punch stitching holes on the finished surface edge of each piece of leather to be stitched together.
To make sure the stitch holes line up when one edge is curved, punch the stitch holes along the straight edge first, then make a small mark on the round edge corresponding to each stitch hole. Each mark on the round edge should align with a stitch hole on the straight edge.
2 Cut the thread. Cut a length of thread at least seven times the length of the span to be stitched.
3 Thread the needles. Insert one end of the thread through the eye of one needle. Insert the opposite end of the thread through the eye of the second needle, so that the thread has needles at each end.
4 Open each hole with the awl. On each piece of leather, insert the awl into the stitch holes to open them up. This will make it easier to pull the needles through.
5 Position the work. Hold the leather pieces against each other at a 90-degree angle, rough sides facing, so the stitching holes line up. Hold both pieces of leather together in one hand for the first few stitches.
6 Pull the thread evenly through the first holes. Pull the threaded needles through the first pair of holes. Adjust as needed to ensure each side has the same amount of slack.
7 Begin the first stitch. With your right hand, push one needle from the finished side to the rough side through the second stitch hole of one piece of leather and pull it through. Then push the same needle from the rough side to the finished side through the second stitch hole of the second piece of leather. This makes one half of the stitch.
8 Continue the first stitch. Repeat Step 7 in reverse, taking the second needle and stitching it from the second piece of leather to the first. Push the second needle from finished side to rough side through the second stitch hole of the second piece of leather and pull it through. Then push the same needle from rough to finished side through the second stitch hole of the first piece. This completes the first stitch.
9 Tighten the first stitch. Pull each needle gently to cinch down the first stitch.
10 Continue stitching pattern to the last hole. Continue stitching in this pattern, repeating steps 7 to 9 one hole at a time until you reach the end.
11 Tie off. When you reach the last hole, tie off with a standard knot tied twice.
12 Cut the thread. Pull the last threads tight and cut the thread as close to the leather as possible.
Don’t attempt the box stitch with thin or soft leather because it won’t keep its shape. Use leather with a thickness of at least 4–5 ounces (1.6–2mm).