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Kid leather application (goldwork) icon
Kid leather application (goldwork)

To apply kid leather, a small piece of leather is cut to shape, placed on the ground fabric and stab stitched in place. ​The application of kid leather is a good way to cover an area swiftly or to create a smooth effect. Kid leather is available in various colours and textures, including foiled which gives a metallic sheen; faux versions are also available.  It can be attached directly to the background fabric or raised by the use of felt or soft string padding.

The earliest documented references to applying kid leather seem to date from the mid-20th century.  Constance Howard refers to a 1932 exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London which featured a ‘leather patchwork three-fold screen’, and in the world of fashion by the late 30s “appliqué in contrasting textures was seen such as velvet or leather on tweed” were in vogue.  Certainly by the 1970s, embroiderers such as Beryl Dean were widely using kid leather applique in their work.

Kid leather application (goldwork) is generously sponsored by Marian Drum


The method for padding or applying kid directly to the fabric is the same.
If you are applying a large piece of kid, you may wish to baste it to the fabric prior to stitching to hold it in place.
A sewing machine thread in a self-colour is normally used for the stitching.


To transfer a shape to kid, lay your template face down on the back of the kid and draw round it using a fine-liner pen.


Snip around the shape.


To attach the kid, use a single thread and bring the needle up through the fabric at the edge of the kid and take it down through the kid to form a tiny stitch.


Continue securing the kid with several stitches to hold it in place whilst it is being applied.


Work the stitches in between the initial holding stitches, spacing them approximately 2–3mm apart.

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying Kid leather application (goldwork)

​A piece of shaped leather or faux-leather kid attached to the base fabric using tiny stitches at 90 degrees to the edge of the shape with thread that is the same or a similar colour to the kid, unless the colour difference is a design decision.


  • Helen McCook, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Goldwork (2012) , p.65
  • Constance Howard, Twentieth-century embroidery in Great Britain to 1939 (1981) , p.133, 142
  • Constance Howard, Twentieth-century embroidery in Great Britain, 1964-1977 (1984) , p.80-2