How to make a handmade leather bag step by step?
There are lots of leather bags available to buy in the market, but most of them are mass produced in factories. Meryan´s bags, wallets and backpacks are quite the opposite to this. Today we are going to show you step the creation of handmade tanned leather bags and how we design them in our centenary workshop at the Juderia (Jewish quarter) in Cordoba. We use artisan techniques during the manufacturing process to make exclusive models for all our products.
- Leather Choice.
This is one of the most important steps, because it will determine the quality and durability of the product. At Meryan, we only select high quality leather cuts adapted to the type of bag we are going to create. One of the key factors to bear in mind is the origin and the thickness of the leather. We normally choose cowhide leather with vegetable tanning and 1,5 mm thick.
These features bring flexibility to the leather piece and make it easy to work with during clothing and decorating steps.
The design is the cornerstone to create a unique bag. Meryan’s designs are inspired in the essence of Caliphal art, which is the seed of the city’s architecture and leaves an exclusive imprint to our products.
In the design process of a bag there are two indispensable aspects to take into account: the concept and the final clients of the product.
- The concept comprises the inspiration ideas to create a bag or a complement
- The final audience of our products are the clients, and they will determine the bag's functionality.
Image. Inspiration in Mosque of Cordoba.
Then, the designer will draw some drafts and we will work with the one which is closest to the concept we are looking for, creating the patterns to make the bag. Afterwards, we will use these patterns to manufacture some prototypes until we reach the ideal result.
Image. Creating the pattern.
1. Leather Drawing & Cutting
We will use the patterns we have drawn to create cutting templates that will guide us to cut the leather. Then, we will select the best leather, draw the pieces we need to make the bag using the patterns, and cut them with a cutter or the scissors.
Image. Cutting the leather.
According to the bag design and the original idea, we will prepare the drawings we are going to transfer to the leather using the embossing technique. We will transfer the designs to the leather and we will use different tools to carve it and get the desired volume. This is the central part in the manufacturing process of our bags and products because its Meryan’s signature technique. We work hard to get the ideal result with tools like stylus, markers (stamps), bevellers and other specific embossing instruments at our workshop. You can find these tools available for sale at our shop. If you are interested, please contact us and we will give you further advice.
Image. Embossing leather bag.
3. Dyeing & Hand-Painting
First, we have to choose the colours to dye the leather. You can dye or paint the leather with a cotton cloth, a paintbrush or an airbrush. Then, we will apply a varnish to protect the colour and make it durable.
This step is usually made with a sewing machine for leather, but some models are sewed by hand due to a special design. The interior or inner side of the bags has a textile lining in parts which is sewed to the outer leather.
Image. Sewing Machine.
Finally, we set the accessories and closures of the bag. All the manufacturing processes of our bags are handmade.
This step begins when we have verified the success of our original idea in the bag we have just finished. It ends with the quality control and toughness tests to check the usefulness and durability of the bag.
If you want to see some examples of handmade bags following this craft process, you could take a look at our Mezquita Collection, created with the designer Granada Barrero and manufactured at Meryan workshop. These products are inspired by the arcade of the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.
image: Shoulder Bag. Mosque Collection.
Image: Shopper Bag. Mosque Collection.