The subtle art of making leather bags

Leather for bag making

The subtle art of making leather bags

Making a leather bag is regarded as art, in some cases. It is, in fact, a very interesting form of arts and crafts. You have your ingredients, such as leather, scissors, hardware details and then you have your artistic drive that shows you the way. Of course, not everything is easy. 

In order to start making a leather bag, not only do you need the final design structured in your mind, but also the patrons for cutting the leather according to your likings for the final result. You will need to know a bit about patron design, Indeed, there are a ton of easy ways to find these patterns for leather bags online and more specifically on Pinterest.

Vegetable tanned leather

In the video below you will get a very artistic idea of how to make a leather bag. We are also going to pinpoint every step for you to have some guidelines to start with. 

To start creating leather bags or purses you will have to get acquainted with the following vocabulary and practically be able to use these:

  • Swivel knife
  • Leather stamping tools and mallets
  • Saddle stitching techniques and double loop lacing.

Of course, pinterest and youtube always have the answers to your queries. Just google any of these words above and start learning how to use them. You can also learn these techniques from a variety of sources such as books, online tutorials and mentors. 

What you will need to create your very own leather bag?

Snake prints
  • Some 2mm (veg-tan) leather
  • Swivel knife
  • Stamp Tools
  • Quality 2mm Lacing
  • Linen or other waxed thread
  • Lacing and Stitching needles
  • Hardware (rivets, buckles, keepers & a closure, bulldog clips)
  • Leather glue

Choosing the perfect leather

Choosing the right leather is an art. Our  genuine Italian leather comes in many different forms. In fact, it can be croco print, embosses, veg tan, patterned etc. However, what we hear most often is that our customers prefer vegetable tanned leather for making a bag. Vegetable tanning uses organic materials and natural tannins derived from the barks, leaves and branches of trees and plants. This makes colors rich and deep in natural earthy tones such as browns, beiges, yellows and reds. The fibers of the animal hide used for the leather are visible in the finished product, lending an authenticity and personality to the leather that makes it more unique. The lack of consistency in color and tone is not a defect. Instead, it’s a characteristic of natural tanning processes, that makes the hide more beautiful.

Drawing the leather pattern

Look up on the internet and use your favourite leather pattern to create cutting template patterns. Draw with a soft chalk on the leather all the pieces you need to make the bag. Then, cut them with a cutter or scissors. 

Creating the model of the leather bag

Have you ever heard of the embossing technique? According to the bag pattern, you will prepare the drawings and transfer them to the leather using the so called “embossing technique”. What you will do is, transfer the patterns to the leather by using the tools mentioned above. Then, carve the leather and get the desired volume. For a fact, this is the central part in the manufacturing process of your own bag. So, pay extra attention to this step. The art of making a leather bag is very interesting and fun, yet not as hard as your would expect. The more you practice the better you will become at your DIY leather project.

Assembling a leather bag

When the pieces of the bag are all set, you should glue them using a specific glue for leather, held in place by bulldog clips. Though, if you want to give a firmer bond to your bag, you will need to smooth the edges with sand paper before the glue is applied.

Bag Lining

In fact, there are many artists that prefer to stitch their bags. We would suggest that a very good material for lining and stitching is Suede Leather. Using stitches for your leather bag creates the perfect finish to show how experienced you are at crafting such details. 

Finishing your bag

After the stitching part, you may want to burnish your leather bag. According to “Burnishing leather edges is a great way to make a leather project look AMAZING. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, burnishing is basically polishing the rough edges of the leather. Burnishing can be a pretty time consuming technique, but the way it finishes a project is well worth it.

Leather Bag making
Credits – Bag created by @wewearyoung

Et Voilà! 

Your very own leather bag is now a finished product and you can wear it on any occasion you desire!

Many thanks to Karras Leather for this wonderful video that shows the subtle art of the birth of a bag.

Extraordinary details come to life with just a few touches of art.

The Birth of A Bag

We would also like to thank We Wear Young for our background bag image. Check out her work on Instagram @wewearyoung.

If you want to learn more, do not hesitate to drop us an email.

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