Leather Back Quiver


By Sirilay, Pointed Heart
All project photos on Sirilay's Photobucket

1) Measure your arrows from tip of the knock to bottom of the head (some arrowshafts are shorter than the 28" max). Cut out a pattern based on this height. Estimate the top width by using a sewing measuring tape to get the general circumference of the heads, in number of however many you want to put in the quiver; the circumference will be at whatever distance from the knocks you chose for the height of the quiver. Do the same to get the base width by measuring the general circumference of the knock tips. The one in this example is 29" high, 18" wide at the top, 10" at the base.

NOTE: The pattern is cut from paper bags taped together. The bite cut out of the top isn't of consequence, meant for tooling design purposes.

2) I recommend taping the pattern together with masking tape before you cut it from the leather. Fill it with your arrows. Place it on your back. Make adjustments as needed to fit more arrows or be efficient with space.
3) Trace your pattern onto the leather. Add a little to the base and top to account for the leather's thickness. I have 3/16" leather and added 1/2". Cut out the pattern. After it's cut out, I'd recommend rubberbanding it together and putting your arrows in it just to test size; no use going through the other steps if it's too small.
NOTE: While I tooled before I made the holes for sewing, these instructions make the holes first, so you won't mess up any design.

4) MARK--don't make--the holes for sewing along the base and two long edges. I made them with an awl every 1/2". I strongly recommend against a hole punch because 1) it cuts the leather and thus weakens it, and 2) that type of sewing exposes the thread to the arrows (when they're taken out of and put into the quiver, they'll rub against the thread and wear it down faster).

5) To make the holes for this particular sewing technique, the awl punctures the top of the leather and comes out through the side. If you can imagine a cross section, the hole would look like an L or J.

NOTE: I wetted the leather before making the holes. I also tried leaving it dry. I had just as much success with either technique in making the holes successfully (ie not ripping the surface leather, coming out in the middle of the edge as opposed to closer to the top or underside).

5a) Making the holes was a challenge. I set the side of the leather against the board, and to hold it vertical, I held it curved (like so) with my feet. You may find another person to help you with this part; since I didn't try that method, I can't speak for or against it.
5b) Angle the awl closer to a perpendicular angle with the leather and give a few good taps to anchor it near the middle of the leather thickness.
5b) Angle the awl closer to a parallel with the leather. This will make the awl come out in the middle of the edge.
6) Rubberband it together again and find where you want to position your straps. This one I made with one strap that's a loop from left shoulder to right hip, and the others is another shoulder strap that connects to the loop right around the breastbone. To test positions, attach strapping to the quiver with big clips. You'll note the position of the straps when clipped and the width of what you want them to be in order to make holes for sewing them.
7) Make the holes for the straps. These will go directly through the leather. Yes, unfortunately they'll be subject to contact with your arrows moving in and out, but we have still minimized contact with the rest of the stitches-to-be with the technique I've shown.
8) Sew the quiver edges together, leaving about a handwidth's thread at the beginning to be tied off later. I sewed from top to base and had plenty of extra at the end which will be used for sewing on the bottom. Don't worry if you need to use pliers to pull the needle through. My thread was a thick waxed leather sewing thread on sale at Tandy. Beyond that, however, I cannot make recommendations for brand.

Since you're sewing two edges that meet (as opposed to overlap), leave the previous loop loose until you thread a second series of holes. That way, you'll be able to pull that one tight and not loosen it when you work directly next to it. Putting distance between the tightened loops and where you're currently sewing will help retain a tight stitch.

As you're sewing, you want the visible stitches to fall diagonally, making the thread that goes from one edge to the other will be straight. The diagonal stitches on top pull against more leather and will be sturdier than if they were reaching straight across to the opposite edge.
9) Go back to the top where you started and tie it off to the next stitch with a couple overhand knots. Use the needle to thread the end of the string back between the edges. Pull it to the insides of the quiver and clip it off ass close to the leather as you can.

Sew on the top of the shoulder loop and the extra strap (if you added it). When making the holes in the straps, do your best to space them using measurements from the holes you already made in the quiver.

10) Use the quiver as the pattern for cutting out a cap for the bottom. Once it's cut out, hold it in position and mark where you'll need to make the sewing holes (pencil, miscellaneous leather tool, what have you). Hammer these holes in with the awl, 1/8" or so from the edge.
11) Find your desired length for the shoulder loop by anchoring the leather strap to the quiver's base. Lay it over the appropriate position on the end cap for the quiver. Hammer sewing holes through the strap and cap with the awl.

You'll want to sew the strap to the cap before you sew the cap to the quiver's base (for hopefully obvious reasons). I did a simple over under stitch, then back, and tied a square knot with the loose end I left at the beginning. I used the needle to thread the ends back through the holes, then cut the end as close to the leather as possible. If the end is too short for the length of the needle, try putting the needle partway into the sewing hole first and then thread it with the loose end.

12) Sew the cap to the base of the quiver. If you didn't have any thread leftover from sewing the seams together and used a separate piece, you can tie the two ends together in a square knot. If you did have leftover thread from the seam like I did, I tied it off like I did in step 9.
13) Wet the quiver down and shape it to how you want it to look. I used the garden hose both inside and out until I saw all the leather had darkened. You want it wet enough to shape, but not sopping. My method made it pliable and yet stiff enough that I didn't have to hold it in place to keep it's shape.

At this point, it's your choice on how to attach the second shoulder strap to the loop, be it permanently or adjustable like a belt.

Ending Notes Here's the inside view--note the lack of seam stitching. If the strap stitching does break, it'll be a lot easier to replace than the entire seam.

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