A leather sewing needle is a narrow, cylindrical piece of steel with a sharp point on one end and a small opening, or “eye” on the other. Thread is secured through the eye, and the sharp point of the needle is pushed through material. As the needle goes through the material it pulls the thread. As this is repeated along the edge of leather pieces, resulting in a line of “stitches”, the thread binds the leather pieces together.
Sewing needles have been used for over 40,000 years. Today, they come in a wide assortment of options. There are leather-specific needles that have wider points to help pierce thick leathers. There are curved needles (they have a semi-circular, half-moon shape) that make it easier to push through thicker materials such as leather and canvas. Very small needles make it easier to sew smaller, thinners leathers while leaving a smaller hole.
There are also needles for powered sewing machines, each with unique sizes and performance characteristics based on the intended use. A sewing needed, either hand-needle or one used in a sewing machine, will likely be something a leather worker comes across during their leather craft experience.