Sewing awl is often known as stitching awl. Only about 8% people are familiar with an awl. You might be wondering what is a sewing awl used for? Well, they can be used for various purposes. Usually they are used to sew thick materials like rexine, leather and are mostly used in shoe or bag making.
Sewing awl is in use from old times and helps to penetrate those thick layers of leather or rexine with its pointed strong needle. As we all know leather and rexine are not easily sewed. A thin needle is not that strong to make a hole in those thick materials and pass the thread through it. For that reason, a sewing awl comes in handy to sew such materials that cannot be sewn with a small, thin, and weak needle.
What Is A Sewing Awl Used For?
Sewing awl is a tool used in sewing various materials that are thick in texture. Describing its structure generally, it looks more like a pen that has a thick handle and a sharp needle-like thing on its other end (either straight or slightly bent). It usually has a pointed lower end to pierce the fabric and help the thread get through it.
People have been using sewing awls from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Back then and now sewing awl is known to be a tool that is used to puncture holes in the fabric such as canvas, Rexine, and leather or is used to enlarge the already punctured holes.
Sewing awls are used in other different places too; as in the interior of a car, furniture, shoes, scrapbooking, sporting accessories, etc. Apart from this, you can make full use of a sewing awl by making rough registers or notebooks to work on at home by stacking up a few bundles of paper and then piercing them out with a sewing awl helping the thread to get through the holes. It would result in a solid paper binding of your book.
What is a sewing awl and who is more likely to use a sewing awl?
Let me explain the structure along with its features in detail to give you an idea about how to use it.
The wooden handle– This is the part you have your grip on and the part where you apply pressure to help get the needle through the material. Mostly, back in the day, the handle of the awls always had a storage compartment for bobbin size reel/spool of the thread which moves along the needle attached to the handle.
Needle– Second comes the needle that is attached to the handle of the awl. Some needles are straight and some needles are curved or bent down. These needles have a sharp tip which helps pierce the material; be it leather, Rexine, a stack of papers or anything,
The chuck– the chuck is the part of a sewing awl that is placed between the needle and the handle which is unscrewed to replace or place the needle solidly in the right spot.
Bobbin size reel– cotton or thick thread is wrapped around the bobbin manually so that it fits the storage compartment in the handle.
It is more of a manual sewing lockstitch type of sewing. You can use sewing awls for lock stitches; it is mostly used by cobblers and leatherworkers.
Can We Use A Normal Thread for The Sewing Awl?
Usually, the type of thread varies on the material. If the material is thick, then it is obvious that you should use a thick thread that would smoothly pierce through it. For example, you cannot use a normal cotton thread on leather or heavy-duty fabrics because it would result in being a flop idea! The most common thread used for sewing awls is known to be the nylon thread or waxed thread for leather and Rexine.
Now you might get confused with, ‘what is a wax thread?’ So let me explain it for you; a wax thread is a thread that is coated with wax (Not much of an explanation, but it is what it is. :P). This is beneficial as it glides through the material without knotting up.
What Are the Most Common Tricks and Tips for A Beginner to Begin Using A Sewing Awl?
Are you a beginner but you are not familiar with the sewing awl? Do not worry as most of us do not even know if this tool exists in the sewing kit or not. The most essential trick to use a sewing awl is to start off with a simple project and not a complex one (Captain obvious at work again! But it is actually a pretty handy tip). Get to know everything about the sewing awl, about how it works, and about how you get control over it.
While using the awl, do not panic. Mark the spot where you are planning to punch a hole so that it looks neat and tidy. Also, try changing the needle if you are not comfortable with its size. Mostly, having a needle with a sharp tip is really helpful and requires less effort as it would be very easy to punch holes into your material with a sharp pointed end.
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Sewing awls have always been in use even before the 18th century. It is a tool that is not usually found in home sewing kits. It’s a bit tricky to use in the start but once you get hold of it, then the path clears away. The sewing awl is, in short, used to punch holes in fabrics like leather, Rexine, etc.
So, the question ‘what is a sewing awl used for?’ has a simple answer. These are used to sew or stitch thick and strong materials like leather and is mostly used in making bags and shoes. Also, it can be used for furniture that has leather or Rexine material which is most common these days.
Beatrix Ainsley (Bea to her friends) is an abstract artist who was heavily inspired in her twenties by the abstract expressionist movement of the 1940s. Since then Bea has acquired three degrees in Science, Education and most importantly Fine Art. Her art works showcase exploring emotion and introspection of self. To achieve this – the use of bold, sweeping, intricate layers of color, and spontaneity of form is enhanced by reflecting on decades of life experiences. Bea has amassed a vast knowledge of art in all its forms, and hopes to pass it on with her contributions here.