To make a football, cut out the leather pieces, punch out the lace holes, sew the pieces together, insert a rubber bladder, inflate the ball partially, lace the football, and finish inflating the bladder. Choose your leather carefully to make sure the ball is easy to grip.
- Lay out the pattern pieces
Lay the leather on a workbench with a cutting mat underneath. Place four pattern pieces for the panels on the leather, keeping them close but not overlapping.
- Cut out the panels
Use a sharp utility knife to cut around each pattern piece, keeping as close to the template as possible. Use the same templates to cut out four leather linings. Cut out the two lace hole reinforcement pieces as well.
- Sew on the liner
Use a heavy-duty needle and polyester thread to sew a liner to the back of each leather panel.
- Punch out the lace holes
Use either a die press or an awl to punch out seven lace holes on one of the leather panels. Place the panel over another, and mark the placement of the holes. Punch out the holes on the other panel. Punch out a single hole for the air valve.
- Sew the panels together
Sew the bottom panels together with a narrow seam. Sew the lace hole reinforcement pieces into place, stitching as close to the edge of each piece as possible. Also, stitch the bladder guard into place. Sew the top panels together from the edge of the reinforcement piece to the point.
- Stitch the two halves together
Place the two halves of the football right sides together. Stitch them together, using the same narrow seam as before.
- Insert the rubber bladder
Use a blunt stick to push the football right side out. Insert the rubber bladder, inflating it part of the way.
- Finish the football
Lace the football overhand, pulling the two sides of the football together. At the end, trim the excess lacing, and tuck the tail into the opening. Finish inflating the football.