As I’ve always said cold months is that period of the year when leather flowers outshine fabric ones. Amongst other reasons I would mention at least the following two:
❀ leather is a more durable material and flowers made of leather are more weather-resistant than silk ones
❀ leather and suede flowers nicely complement winter wardrobe pieces made of thick warm fabrics and wool, accentuate hats, bags and boots.
At the moment I am working on a new tutorial which will be released later this week. As the tutorial is on a leather flower, I thought I’d share some useful tips on how to choose leather for making flowers the way I do it for mine.
In order to create leather blooms (the way I show in my tutorials) we use only genuine leather or suede. No synthetic substitutes can withstand the heat of a flower iron when flowers are being shaped. Moreover, faux leather does not possess the level of flexibility and suppleness needed for making our gorgeous blooms.
It is best to work with good quality materials. This way you will enjoy the process of creation and the final piece will show class. However, good quality does not have to cost the earth.
Leather comes in grades. There are several grades of leather, sometimes marked as Grade 1 or Grade A etc. the smaller the number the higher the quality (Grade A is higher quality than Grade C). Because petals and leaves are relatively small compared to, say, garment parts, we do not necessarily have to use leather skins of higher grades. Lower grades as as well as smaller pieces of leather will work just fine.
For leather or suede flowers only thin and soft skins are recommended. The best thickness is 0.5-0.8 mm (1-2 oz in weight), but you can use skins up to 1 mm thick (for certain flowers). Ideally look for lambskins and goat skins that are suitable foe clothing or glove making (gloving leather).
Sometimes I use pig suede. Although it is a bit on a thicker side and can be uneven, the wide range of rich colours it comes in makes it difficult to resist.
Leather and suede have different finishes. This variety of finishes is used to enhance the natural beauty of leather. The most common ones are aniline, pigmented, patent, metallic, oily, waxy, suede and nubuck. Leathers with different finishes will behave differently when stiffened and shaped to be turned into a flower piece.
Unlike silk leather is much less predictable. That is why it is virtually impossible to recreate a leather flower again. It will be different and for me that is the advantage of working with leather. Creating leather flowers is always a journey into the unknown. No need to worry, the outcome is always uniquely beautiful.
I hope this information will help you choose the right leather for your flowers and enjoy the process of creation even more.
PHOTO TUTORIALS on LEATHER FLOWERS THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
We also offer individual workshops on leather flowers, so if you are interested please click through for more information.
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I hope this will be of help,
You just answered all my questions. Thank you. I NEED to make leather flowers NOW.
Would Chrome tanned skins work? I’ve made a rose with 2 oz veg tanned and painted myself. This rose called for no gluing. I bought your sunflower and not sure the best leather to use.
I work with aniline dyed skins mainly. Thin chrome tanned skins will also work here, they might be a little less pliable in my experience, but for the leather sunflower it does not matter as much.