A decorative technique that adds layers of leather on top of a boot top. Overlay can be quite delicate, like filagree or scrolling, and is often combined with inlay.
Sometimes a bootmaker will place cotton batting or additional leather behind a piece of overlay in order to give it a raised or “puffed” quality. Overlay can be stitched using large or tiny pieces of leather.
Here… see how the thorny black leather is stitched onto the the red leather boot top? See how the petal of the yellow rose is stitched layer upon layer? Overlay can give a cowboy boot a wonderful carved or sculpted texture.
Photo by Marty Snortum. Boot top by Dave Little’s Boot Company (San Antonio, TX.)