Sunday, November 20, 2011

So, can you sew?

{Old guy}Back when I was in junior high school, everyone took Home Economics classes, including cooking and sewing. Nowadays you're lucky if a kid can tie his shoes.{/Old guy}

Every so often I'll read a comment by some he-man type to the effect that sewing is women's work. Horse crap. Sewing is an important survival skill. If you know how to sew, you can make, repair, or modify clothing and gear.

For example, I recently bought a puukko from Cloudberry Trading via It's a great knife and came with a high quality, handmade sheath. Unfortunately, the sheath is right handed and as anyone who's read this blog has seen, I am a southpaw. I first tried to come up with a mod to the sheath to enable lefty use, but it came out looking bad. So, I decided to make a new, left handed sheath.

It's nothing fancy but it's sturdy and works well. 

First, I made a pattern from cardboard. The sheath is made from three layers of leather about 1/8" thick each: the front and back, and then a middle layer which covers the stitching so that the knife cannot cut through it. After laying out the pieces I secured them together with rubber cement.

Since you can't easily poke a needle through 3/8" of leather, I used my cordless drill and a 1/64" bit to drill the holes for the thread. The thread is artificial sinew, basically the same as waxed dental floss but colored brown. It's strong and being made of polyester won't rot.

Once I finished sewing the sheath together I used Fiebling's #121 Medium Brown leather dye to color it, then gave it a good coating of Sno-Seal after the dye dried.

I now have a unique piece of equipment which suits my needs and which cost me under $20.


Timbo said...

Dave, I just read this, and I could not agree with you more: Sewing is an important, overlooked skill. I never go anywhere without the sewing kit I cobbled up in an old altoids tin, and it has come in handy surprisingly often. Good article

Dave Markowitz said...

Thanks Timbo!