How many times have you ordered leather for an interior project only to find out later that it isn’t enough?
It sucks. But it’s an understandable mistake. After all, we spend most of the day measuring fabric in yards — but ordering leather in square feet.
Thankfully, Hydes Leather showed us an easy hack to ensure we never under (or over) order again.
Simply decide how many yards of vinyl you need for a project, and use this formula to convert it to square feet of leather:
1 yard of 54″ wide fabric = 18 square feet of leather
Here’s an example: Say a project calls for 5 yards of vinyl, but you want to do the job in leather. Just multiply 5 x 18 to determine that you’ll need 90 square feet of leather.
Yup, it’s really that simple.
Keep in mind that most hides range in size from 40 to 60 square feet. And, because leather hides are irregular, no formula will render an exact figure. But pros believe this formula is the most reliable reference.
Hydes Leather is a leading supplier of premium leather hides and Alcantara. They also offer custom dyeing, color-matching, perforation, embossing, etching, computerized stitching, skiving and weaving.
To learn more about Hydes Leather’s products and services, visit HydesLeather.com. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
LEONARD DORNBUSH says
This “hack” of converting vinyls square footage is a “maybe” – and depends on a some very critical quality requirements of the trimmer, and the customer.
All hides are not created equal ! There are varying degrees of “correction” which will end up with more of a vinyl product than a leather – but the usage yield is greater when corrected.
Of course all hides have some scarring and bug bites – we try not to use these defects on high rent real estate of the seating and trim.
And a very big issue, often overlooked by trimmers who only do ‘occasional’ leather projects – “they think of leather like it is fabric or vinyl – which both have high yields of usage because the materials are consistent of strength throughout.
Not so with leather – simply – there are high strength desireable areas of “the animal” which are suited to high wear areas – like boltsters – and there are very weak areas of the hide which are only suitable for covering hard trim pieces.
It also matters what level of defects your customer will accept beyond the line; “It’s part of the natural beauty”
I find it always prudent to by more – of the dame dye-lot and extra may be skived for piping and carpet binding.
Thomas McNamara says
I am an old retired trimmer and I agree with Leornard all the way. Ypu always order a lot more leather hides from the same batch as possible to do the job. Charge appropriately!!
Cody Lunning says
Can you share what areas of the hide are beat suited for what parts of an interior? Doing my first auto interior with leather and would like to make sure I do it as correct as possible and for the best outcome.
LEONARD DORNBUSH says
Jumping into leather can be challenging, however, it you take your time and consider some of what I am adding below, you should be fine.
Here are a few things I learned along the way and I have been sewing leather for over 40 years now . . . “and I’m still learning” !
Get to know your hides – each will have some unique markings – I mark all scaring with a contrasting tailor’s crayon. I also use clear acrylic patterns so I can see through them as I mark out the panels.
As for strength and suitability of what part of the hide to use where. This space does not allow an in-depth detailed explanation – but here’s a few things to consider –
Remember, the flat hide “used to be a three dimensional animal – after tanning/dying/correction it comes to you rolled up and rolls out somewhat flat.. Roll out the hide – hopefully on a table which holds the entire hide with little falling over the sides – look carefully and start identifying where this hide was on the cow – towards the head – there will be a lot of stretch marks – this is the neck and shoulder – strong – but those markings do not go away. Behind the shoulder you will have the two “bends” – on either side of the central backbone – these are your; “USDA Prime” leather pieces – strong with minimal stretch – great for seat bolsters. At the side edges of the Bends are the belly panels and shanks – very stretchy – suitable for covering non-flexing pieces – –
If you flip the hide over, with the suede side up – you can get a good idea of the different grades of leather – the outer lateral strips appear rough and loose – as you move inward toward the backbone, the suede gets finer and tighter. My rule – “tight leather for flexible panels – stretchy leather for fixed panels”
And the best advice I can give to you in the way of having your work look great for a long time – not just as you deliver is to “think” where the sections of leather were on the animal and understand that the leather wants to go back to that original shape down the road – so – if you can anticipate how the leather will break-in with usage – you will have done the finest job possible – as opposed to have it turning into a bag of potatoes.
As with everything with our craft; experience of doing the work is the best teacher.
Good Luck !
Cody Lunning says
Thank you! I realize there is a lot to write and limited space. But this is a good starting off point and like you stated, experience comes with time and is always happening. I’ll use what you said here and have a go at it and try my best!
Joe Griffin says
Great information !
Peter O'Connell says
We use this formula then add 20percent to allow for defects and the variable size and yield of different hides like Leonard said this has served well over the years
Sue Bishop says
I’m getting ready to do two captains chairs in leather for a motor home. I’m thinking 5 yards for each. The skirts at the bottom, which area of the hide would be best for these?