How to Sew a Leather Mini Tank Cover

Written by jody hanson
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How to Sew a Leather Mini Tank Cover
Customise your motorcycle with a tank cover. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A leather cover for the tank of your motorcycle -- also known as a bra -- adds a personal touch to your machine. It also helps protect against scrapes and scratches. No matter if you want to cover the tank on your scooter or your 1500cc touring bike, it will make a statement. You need to do some research to come up with a pattern for a leather mini tank cover, but that can be done by following some straightforward steps.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Visit your local motorcycle shop and get some ideas of the types of leather mini tank covers by studying the commercial ones. Take note of how the fabric fits the frame of the motorcycle.

  2. 2

    Make a pattern. Measure the dimensions of your motorcycle tank and calculate how much leather you will need. Remember to add 2 inches to allow room for the stitching. Tape a large piece of paper over the motorcycle tank. Trace around the edge with a marker. Also fill in the space where the gas cap will go. Cut out the pattern.

  3. 3

    Select the leather that best suits your purpose. Some stores use buffalo hide, as it is particularly strong and able to handle rough outdoor conditions that long-touring rides may present. Add a lining of deer skin if you want extra protection.

  4. 4

    Lay the pattern you designed on top of the leather and then pin it to the fabric. If the leather is too thick to pin, trace the pattern with dress maker's chalk. Cut very carefully around the edge of your pattern. If you want to add a pocket to your mini-tank cover, also cut that now.

  5. 5

    Use rot-proof stitching . Unless you have an industrial sewing machine, hand-punched stitches are the most viable option. Select a 1/8-inch full-grain lacing to use on the outside edge of the tank cover. If you want a smooth leather cover, stitch on the inside. If you want a more rugged look, stitch on the outside and make it part of the design.

  6. 6

    Treat your mini tank cover with an advanced leather protection conditioner, such as buffalo butter. After all the work and expense, you want to give your mini tank cover a longer life expectancy.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are hesitant about your pattern, do a trial run with inexpensive canvas to get an idea of how well it will fit before you start cutting into your leather.
  • Pick some added extras for your leather motorcycle cover. You might want to attach studs or horsehair tassels.

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