Buying garment leather

I had never bought garment leather before, so yesterday’s trip to D.S. Horne in Adelaide was something of a revelation.


It’s across town from where I live, so it has taken me a while to get over there. I’d heard it was a great place to buy leather, and wow it absolutely is!

It’s a pretty unassuming shop-front and in fact I drove past it twice before I could spot it, even though I knew the address.


But it gets pretty exciting once you walk through those doors.


There are several walls of shelving, filled with garment hides like you see above. There are leathers of all colours, types and finishes. Each roll you see on those shelves is a group of matching hides so you can buy more than one to match and make larger garments easily.

Pricing seemed very reasonable to me, and ranged from $4.25 to $8.95 per square foot for the hides I was looking at (Australian). Each hide is marked on the reverse with the number of square feet it contains, which makes the calculation easy.

In addition to the shelves full of matching hides, there were crates full of individual hides from European agents. These are basically the equivalent to end of roll specials for normal fabrics.

They were a cheaper than the others ($4.25 per square foot) but the quality was every bit as high. Some of these hides were divine. It is absolutely worth having a rummage through these bins, and pulling out some hides to sit side by side to each other. I got 2 not-quite-identical-but-so-similar-you’d-never-know hides from here for my black leather skirt, which together cost me $55. The quality is beautiful and I’m very happy with that.

There were some printed leathers, which I did not buy. Tartan suede? Really? I just don’t know. Is that aweseome or awful do you think? I can’t quite get there.


There is also a wide range of leather making bits and pieces in the shop, so it’s almost a one stop shop for leather goods for hobbyists.

Including these leather stamps that really took me back. My Mum had a set of these in the 70s and she really enjoyed making leather things back then. Lots of stamped wallets etc. I hadn’t thought of those for such a long time…

The textured leather was particularly nice and I was quite taken with this perforated leather. I had been admiring it for a while before I realised it was an almost identical match to the bag I’ve been using for the past year or so. I bought a single, largish hide to use for sleeves in a jacket I’m planning for this year, as part of the #makenine2017 instagram challenge I’m joining in with. It is premium lamb nappa and cost me $91.74, so that will be a special one-off jacket when its time comes. Wool for the body, I think.

After leaving here, I went to the nearby Melann’s Fabric and Sewing Centre to pick up some bits and pieces for the leather sewing itself. Another great shop that I don’t get to very often. I was given fantastic advice here. Among other things, they run leather sewing classes – and while it’s not easy for me to get to those, it did mean that the woman behind the counter was able to give me excellent advice on sewing leather, and all the bits and pieces I needed.

Including these, which I’ll talk more about in my next post. Because I didn’t exactly come home and ponder my sewing options. Oh noooooo, no no no no! I came home and got stuck straight into it so I have a lovely leather skirt to show off to you very soon.

The visit to Melann’s was a huge confidence boost for me, as I haven’t sewn leather before. I am so grateful I stopped there. Thank you Melann’s!

So, yet again, my sweet little city of Adelaide comes through with the sewing goods. We are so well served by the shops here, for a city of just over a million people.

Are we just lucky? Or are there amazing leather shops like this in every city? Have you sewn with leather before? How did you find it? I’d love to hear more about this because I feel like I’ve just walked into an Aladdin’s Cave.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. That’s pretty awesome !! We’ll soon be in Adelaide, if you’re up for it we could meet for tea and fabric shopping. Otherwise thanks for the fabric shop recommendations. I didn’t know I would be able to to find anything other than the Spotlight !


    1. Sounds great let’s catch up. Send me a facebook message and let me know when you’re coming over (Fiona Jenkins). I’m away a bit over the next few months but hopefully not when you’re in town.

      Liked by 1 person

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