Friday, April 23, 2010

Making a Hood Step-by-Step Part 3

The next step on our hood project is to start joining the 2 halves together. We don't want to sew the front just yet, as it would make it difficult to sew the tongue into the back of the hood. But we need to sew the top of the hood at least partially before we can sew the tongue into place. Also, we need to put the d-ring in this seam as well. I didn't take a picture of the d-ring before sewing, but that's the little strap you see sticking out of the top between the bulldog clips.
The ends of the D-ring strap:
After sewing the tops together, it's time to glue the rear where the lacing grommets will be. Here you can see the glue applied:
And the seam folded up:
Here's a closeup of the seam showing the little cuts I make to allow the leather to follow the curve of the shape. You'll see more of these later, when we glue down the front center seam.
After folding over the seam by hand, a few whacks with the mallet to make the seam lie flat.
Finally I topstitch along this seam for a finishing touch and added strength.

Now we're on to the tongue. This keeps the hair out of the lacing and finishes up the rear of the hood. You have to make the tongue wide enough so the entire hood can fit over the wearer's head, but you don't want to add too much bulk. I try to keep it as small as possible.
This is one case where I use tape to hold a piece in place while it is being sewn.
Bulldog clips just wouldn't work here...
Here is the tongue taped in place. I will topstitch using the previous topstitch as a guide, and leaving room for the grommets.
Turn the hood right-side out carefully so you don't unstick your tongue. (That sounds funny.)
Topstitching the tongue:
Stitching finished, you now turn the hood inside out to remove the tape:
There we are: tongue complete! It is starting to look like a hood, no?

Now, with the tongue in place, it's time to tackle the front seam. Inside out, again. Bulldog clips. Sew along the seam.

Once sewn, time to apply the glue to the seam allowance:
Remember the little cuts for the seam at the rear of the hood? Here you need to make them as well, so that front seam allowance will conform to the coutour of the face. Straight snips for the outside curves, and little angled, pie-shaped cuts for the inner curves. The flexibility of the leather comes into play here. The stretchier the leather, the less you need to cut to make it conform.
Flatten the seam by hand, then use the mallet to pound the seam as well. It's harder to use the mallet now, as essentially you are working on a closed tube. But the mallet does help the contact cement adhere.
That's it for step 3 - we should be wrapping up next time... We're almost done!


  1. I wanted to say thanks for these plans and your blog, really enjoyed reading thru all of your work.
    Got a question for you, what type of sewing machine do you use or recommend for leather work?

    1. Thanks for the message. It's always nice to hear when someone gets something out of the blog! I use an Artisan 1797ab machine as my main flatbed stitcher, and would recommend it to others who want to do this type of work. Here is a link to a past post about the workshop:

      I always tell people to save up and get a good leather sewing machine if they're serious about getting a quality result. Juki, Consew, Adler and Pfaff all make great machines and can be found in the resale marketplace.