My first hand stitched leather bag – Leather Craft Workshop Days – review

Hello my crafty friends!

I am so excited today to introduce you to my first ever hand stitched leather bag!!! I think this is my most proudest make to date, but let me start from the beginning.

I’ve spent most of last year obsessing about learning a leather craft. I’ve watched a countless number of videos, read blogs and signed up for Skillshare to get the knowledge and understanding as much about the process as I could. After awhile I’ve hit a brick wall….I won’t be able to make a simplest bag at home without a specialist tools. Tools that I clearly do not have! Errrrr tools that are not the cheapest either! But I really wanted to touch and do something with leather, so at that point I’ve decided to look for some kind of workshop or a class.

In my mind not only this was the most practical way of learning the skills but also the easiest way of finding out if it is something that I will continue to be engaged with in a long run. I started browsing the internet with an idea that I want to make a bag and be able to take it home. There were few classes that I was considering taking, but either the price was to high, it was too far to travel or you had to bring your own materials that in the end I did not sign up for.

After a while I came across Leather craft workshop days website and found a class that I really wanted to take called ‘Make your own crossbody bag’. Sadly there were no available dates, so I emailed Richard, who is running the workshops and asked if there will be any dates added in November. He promptly replied saying that he is free to do a workshop in mid November and added a date to the calendar just for me. He also confirmed that there are no hidden cost and what I make during the class I can take it home. I was sold at this stage! The price of a full day workshop is £210, which in my opinion is quite reasonable if you take into account what you get by attending, not only a beautiful product, but also a newly learned skill.

Leather Craft Workshop Day

On my arrival to the class Richard offered me a hot tea and we sat in his workshop to start the lesson. Richard began the class by showing me and talking about different types of leather, their origin, weight, usage etc. I’ve listened to every word he said and took some notes for the future reference.

The rest of the workshop consisted of me doing a various tasks to complete my crossbody bag. I had chosen to make my bag out of this loud blue/purple color veg tanned leather with brown straps.

Richard prepared the pattern for me and gave me a scraps of leather to practice cutting. Once I was confident enough I cut out the bag ( with his help) and followed the instruction on what to do next.

Throughout the day I was introduced to a various tools that are essential to produce a high quality leather product like stitch line groover, scratch awl, chisel punch, burnisher and others. I’ve learned how to clean and prep the leather, burnish the edges, punched holes and attach various rivets and closures.

The most nerve wracking part for me was when I had to use a stitch line groover ( which I called shaver hihihi), because it shaves of a thin line close to the leather egde. This has to be done very precisely otherwise the stitching line would look wonky and of a poor quality. I practiced a lot on a scraps before I was brave to do it on my bag….sweating from nerves at this point!

The most fun part for me was punching stitching holes with a chisel punch, which in turn reminded me of a fork. It took awhile to make all those tiny holes, but practice makes perfect as they say and near to the end my speed improved. You need some muscles to do this craft 🙂

What took me by surprise was when Richard told me to count the number of holes on either sides of the bag…as a sewist I never do that. But it made sense at the end to ensure the stitching is even on both sides.

Next, I picked the color of the thread, run it through the bees wax and was shown how to do a saddle stitch using two needles. I thought it would take me forever, but I was wrong. It was quicker than punching all those stitching holes.

Lastly I’ve attached the strap and my bag was finished!

Final thoughts

It probably won’t surprise you when I say that I highly recommend this workshop! If like me you are a complete beginner this is the best class out there that will get you started!

Richard is such a passionate and knowledgeable teacher and I took away a lot of that knowledge with me. Throughout the day he made me feel comfortable and was very patient when I was asking many questions …some of which not even related to the leather craft at all. His class gave me confidence and boosted my love of leather craft even more, so don’t be surprise if you see me doing more bags in the future!!!

Hope you enjoyed this little review. See you next time!!!

Monika xxx