Don Ayres

Best stitches per inch and thread size for wallet makeing

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Ive always been jealous of some of my wallet making conterparts on how neat there saddle stitching looks, (

Like the wallet pictured below)

Was wondering if anyone can recomend a good pricking iron or chisel, including how many stitches per inch would look best, a good quality thread including thread size, and a good harness needle including the size that would best match that thread.

Thank you very much, any advice is greatly appreciated

20180610_102533.jpg

Edited by Don Ayres

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John James needles are the best needles I've used. I don't know what they do differently in making them but they rarely break and are ridiculously smooth to sew with.

I think the rest is all up to you and what you want to achieve. If you want a nice tight look with full stitches, go with a close spacing and a thick thread, if you want a gappy look to your piece, go with a wider spacing, bigger hole, and thinner thread. A lot of it is just aesthetics and most times, a saddle stitch will hold the work together just fine no matter the spacing given you are using a good thread of adequate size.

I have the Chinese pricking irons and the Chinese knockoff tiger thread and they are working just fine. I'm not trying to pass off any of my work as ultra premium. Vergez Blanchard has really good tools but you pay for them. It all depends on your level and what you are willing to put into it as well. Me, I'm waiting until my skill can catch up to meet the quality of the tools.

I know this doesn't answer you directly but it isn't really a simple question to answer since taste goes into it.

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Thank you battlemunkey

Edited by Don Ayres

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Tandy tools are often dismissed by experienced leatherworkers, but I think their Craftool Pro chisel with 3mm spacing would be good for wallets, especially if you polish the prongs; and they are easy to obtain

Synthetic thread such as Tiger/Ritza is popular, but I prefer linen. Fil au Chinois is not so easy to get hold of, but try some size 432 or 532 if you can, and see what you think of it

But before you buy, let's see what anyone else thinks

Yes to John James needles, size 2. But be careful; make sure you get British size 2. American size 2 is too big

See this video on YouTube by Nigel Armitage - 'Saddle Stitch in Detail' from about 3-40 to 4-25

Edited by zuludog

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3 hours ago, battlemunky said:

John James needles are the best needles I've used. I don't know what they do differently in making them but they rarely break and are ridiculously smooth to sew with.

JJ Glover's needles have the edges of the triangular part sharp, they are also highly polished. I have some needles from another maker, a reputable one, the edges are dull and I can actually feel the difference in the surface of the metal - and the eye of one of those broke on me just last week, pulling 0.8mm thread thru a pre-made hole

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I use JJ harness needles all over the place. I tried many different needles and as has been said before, these are the best by far. I use No.4 for wallets and No.3 for anything bigger like bags. Threading is easy and I never broke one.In terms of thread you should use what you like and try a lot. Thread can be really really expensive and the discussions about thread can be really esoteric. I tried many different threads, from Linen, including Amy Roke and Fil au Chinois over Nylon to Polyester thread. It really depends on what look you want to achieve, what colors you use and how strong the sewing needs to be. You'd need a stronger thread for a saddle than for a wallet for sure. I make a lot of wallets and I prefer artificial thread over linen. My current favourite is some Chinese Polyester thread, but that changes over time. In terms of SPI - again - that's totally dependent of what look you want to achieve. From what I see in the picture you posted I'd say that's a 6.5 SPI iron with 0.6mm thread, a good choice for wallets like that. For that look I use Craft Sha 4mm irons from Goods Japan ,they ship free but delivery takes time. The mentioned Craftool will do the same trick. You can also go to 3mm, which equals 8.5 SPI and looks finer but is much more stitching. That's a matter of taste,  use 4mm on biker wallets and 3mm on bifolds. But if you want it to look like your picture 4mm and 0.6mm thread (432/532 if you go for linen) should be fine.

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Nigel Armitage's website gives details on virtually all of the popular stitching irons or chisels out there along with SPI, recommended thread size, etc.  For a wallet like that, I'd be in the 3mm range on the chisel along with 0.6mm thread.

A good start would be the Craft Sha irons with 0.6mm Tiger thread.  I would order a 2 prong and a 6 prong for starters.  The 2 prong will help going around curves.  If you have square corners, review Mr. Armitage's "hinge" technique in his stitching videos.

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