Leather Bag Craft

Handbags have been an understated intricate part of our everyday wardrobe for longer than you suspect. Hieroglyphs show leather pouches around the waist of the Egyptians but the first written mention of handbags comes from the 14th century. Originally called 'girdles', these leather handbags were sown with different embroidery and jewels to specifically show different status levels. As time went on, handbags changed from practicality to more versatile fashionable items of clothing. High class men and women would carry or 'clutch' small purses of different shapes, sizes and materials. Many young women used to sew and decorate their bags to show off their embroidery skills which helped to illustrate that they were of a certain marital status and a worldly woman.

The term 'handbag' however first started to appear at the start of the 20th century when many men began to hand carry bags or 'briefcases' to and from work. Bags have always naturally been crafted from leather as it is a water proof natural material. Durable and flexible, leather can be sculptured and easily worked with. Through the process of tanning hides and furs, leather handbags can be any colour or shape. Over the years, advancements in production has meant that different types of leather can be produced from one hide. Suede, Nubuck and Aniline are to name a few. Today, handbags are more about exclusivity rather than functionality. 'It bags' has become a term that is thrown around from season to season. At the moment, handbags are heading into a 'minimalism is best' trend. Simple colours and shapes which are easily transitional from season to season, from day to night with a strong focus on high quality materials.

At Thomas Lyte, we have crafted beautiful, timeless pieces that represent elegance and minimalism. Taking 5 to 10 hours to craft depending on the size and shape of the bag, we take pride in our ability to master every step in production that our bags go through. Traditional, authentic and original pieces with a modern, easy to wear couture styling, our bags will bring out the best in you and help you complete your look.

How to craft a Thomas Lyte Luxury Bag featuring the Eliza Grained Leather Mustard Bag:

 Thomas Lyte Tools

From the rawhide mallet to the scalpel knife, the traditional tools to create a leather handbag have hardly changed.  Tools like the awl allows the past to meet the present and ensures that your handbag becomes part of story that goes back centuries.

Cutting of the leather

Using weights to hold the pattern pieces in place, the exquisite Vegetable Tanned Calf Leather is layed out on the back side of the leather.  Using a scalpel knife and pattern cutter, the leather is very carefully cut to a precised size and shape.  This smooth cut edge will be the edging along the outside of the bag.


Staining the leather

Our Eliza bag has a classic yet contemporary feel to it.  With a contrasting tonal leather, the visible raw edging of the handbag is painted to ensure that it has an uncompromisingly style.

Punching the holes

The correct pattern is placed on the leather and an awl and rawide mallet is used to pre-punch the stitching line.

Stitching the handles on

Each stitch is thoughtfully considered and quality ensured.  Working with rich materials that have such a exclusive look and feel adds to the luxurious feel of these bags.  We are passionate about creating pieces that look visually stunning.

Adding the metal

Our signature loop lock adds another dimension to our bags and of sets the leather beautifully.  Elegant yet practical, this handbag is ideal to be worn season after season.

Final Polish

The softest natural suede lining is added to this bag and a final polish and check is given to the bag.  This contemporary reworking of a classic item allows the wearer to stand out in its simplicity.

View the full crafting of the Eliza bag here:

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