Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Botani Expands, Adds Leather Department

Botani Trimmings is wooing the handbag design market with a sophisticated new leather department.

[Apologies for going so long between posts. I've been on vacation in the antithesis of New York City—rural northern Maine.]

Botani Trimmings, known for its luxury trims and buttons, has expanded and added an extensive leather department to woo the handbag design market. The Garment District store is now an entire block wide, with entrances on W. 36th and W. 37th Streets. According to Botani's website, handbag sample making and production are available without minimums.

This new leather department is an attractive addition to the Garment District. If you're thinking about handbag design or sewing with leather, I'd add Botani to your list of must-visit suppliers.

Speaking of leather, I've been thinking about sewing with leather this fall and so am trying to make it around to the places that sell leather in the Garment District. I've been to Leather, Suede & Skins on W. 35th and to Mood's small leather nook, and I plan to visit Leather Impact on W. 38th soon. A complete write-up to follow here.

Readers, have you ever sewn leather before? Any tips you'd care to share here?

You can get leather overload at Botani—there's so much to see.
Reptile looks are hot for fall.


  1. use a leather needle, heavy duty thread, and make sure you have a machine that can handle it. I broke the faceplate on my Bernina after top stitching through 4 layers of leather repeatedly. Two thicknesses were OK, but not more- I should have trimmed back the inner seams, but I was going for strength.

  2. I disagree with the heavy duty thread, especially since I know that you are planning a top.
    I knew they were expanding, but this is really amazing. Are they open on Saturdays?

  3. Good tips! Sadly, Botani is not open on the weekends.

  4. Megs,

    1) Use a teflon or roller foot so you don't get marks on the skin/leather.
    2) I have used a 70/10 or 80/12 needle for light weight leather and 90/14 needle for mid to heavyweight leather.
    3) I recommend using nylon / polyester thread as cotton thread deteriorates over time.
    4) For topstitching, I tend to use buttonhole twist.
    5) My mallet and seam roll stick come in very handy as I pound the leather/skin at the seams to compress them.
    6) I use contact cement (applied to the leather with a Q-tip) or double sided Scotch tape in the seam allowances (as necessary).

  5. I have three old leather jackets of my husbands that I decided to save to repurpose in a sewing project I was possibly thinking of a wool vest with some leather trim. Thanks for the above great sewing tips I will keep them in mind.

  6. Hi, Lindsay,

    I'm considering sewing with leather for the first time in the fall, probably a simple skirt that I will line. So no tips, but Leather Impact was recommended. I will look forward to the review.

    I was in Mood a few weeks ago, and for the first time ventured into their leather department. The skins smelled so good. I could never be a vegan.

    Bonus Points: Ask what is recommended for use as a muslin material. I once read on the web about a plastic material that some people use and have the note somewhere, but am curious to see if there are other suggestions.

    I love it when bloggers don't post. :-) Less to read. I use an RSS reader so I never miss anything.

    Finally, Groupon is offering another Mood Fabrics deal: $15 for $30 worth of fabric, online only. This is a link through the Chicago site, but my understanding is that this is a national deal.

    New York Sewer

  7. I LOVE sewing with leather! Rosie's already said the best tips (though I use a walking foot instead), but I otice you missed Global Leathers off your list of shops. Ask Nancy K - I went positively *giddy* here buying leather last fall - they truly have every leather imaginable, and their remnants bins are VERY bargainous if you're only looking for accents (welt pockets?) or belts or small amounts of *whisper it* fur.

  8. Thanks for the news about the new Botani entrance on 37th -- will use it next trip. And thanks for the tips about the other leather and (shhh) fur places.

  9. I find leather very easy to cut and sew.

  10. So I went in last week to check this out and they don't have a leather section? It was a bit confusing but it seemed like they were going to have it at some point but didn't have it yet? The answer I got was not very clear. I did double check on the sample making/small production and that is true, which is wonderful. Hopefully there will be leather to come at some point!

  11. Kristen, do you mean they aren't ready to sell leather yet? Because the photos above ARE from their leather department, which is very real. I'll have to check this out...

  12. Just checking back here. I will say that my interaction with the sales associate was really confusing - I told them that I had heard they had a leather department and asked to be directed there. She pointed to the back and, if I understood correctly, said it used to be there, isn't anymore, but will be back soon (didn't make a whole lot of sense). I really am not sure what is true or not, but I didn't see it. I don't know - I may have just had a major miscommunication too. I'm interested though either way!


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