Friday, April 30, 2010

Kevlar is Kool! - Manly Sewing Project #2

Remember that half-finished leather project a few posts back?  It was a magazine ("clip") holster for my trusty Smith and Wesson .40 if you couldn't tell, and I finally finished it!

I wasn't happy with how it was turning out so I couldn't decide whether to toss it out or try and finish it.  One of the biggest problems was that I wasn't happy with the tread I used for stitching.  It was just size 69 bonded nylon upholstery thread and I really needed something bigger and (ideally) stronger.  As luck would have it I found some size 92 Kevlar thread on eBay last week and it arrived yesterday.  Kevlar thread is normally used for sewing fire retardant items, and is way too expensive for everyday sewing.  The usual price for a 1 lb cone of size 92 Kevlar thread is about $120.  I got mine for about $15!!!  I have no idea why such a low price, but it was cheaper than buying plain old nylon upholstery thread, so I got 4 spools of black and 2 of brown.  When it arrived, I realized just how much thread 6 lb is!  I flame tested the thread and sure enough it's Kevlar.  It sews and looks much nicer than the other stuff I was using and works great in the Juki walking foot.  My Necchi can handle the Kevlar thread as well but the bobbin side stitches just aren't as tight as they should be no matter what tension settings I use.  It's not really meant for use in home machines, but I figured it was worth a try.

Anyway, I finished sewing the holster, trimmed it to shape, added the belt loop holes, applied dye and top finish, and here it is:

I'm still not thrilled with the stitches.  I clearly need more practice doing tight turns with the machine, but I'm sure it will be perfectly functional even with wonky stitching.  In case you're wondering, I formed the leather over the magazines using a vacuum press.  I bought one of those vacuum presses they sell for making skateboards (no, I don't make skateboards) a while ago for leather work and possibly veneering.  It has a manual pump for now, but I scored a nearly-new free lab-grade vacuum pump awhile back (new cost is approximately $3000) that I think I'll adapt to use with the vacuum press bag.  Not sure when I'll get around to that, but watch for it in a future post I guess..


  1. Eric, that looks awesome! I like the finished look, the dye totally changes its appearance. You are inspiring me to get into manly sewing! There are a bunch of things that I could think of that I'd like to sew. Namely a holster! Since I don't (yet) have a trusty sidearm, but still love holsters, I'm thinking the old 70's cop-show type shoulder holster could also double nicely as a cell phone holder!

  2. Excellent work, even for a first attempt! I just started learning leatherworking myself.