I found I could apply some techniques I’ve used in shoemaking to craft a handmade handbag.
This bag is put together using five different kinds of full grain Italian calf. Visible from the outside is three of them: a smooth dark brown calf, a rice grain dark brown calf, and a veg tanned and hand dyed piece used for the logo, covering a magnet lock.
On the inside, the bag is lined with yellow calf:
The metal parts (D-rings, hooks, magnet lock and chain) are sourced from Panduro and Bauhaus.
The bag was presented as a gift in this cardboard box – spray painted black, lacquered, and decorated with a hand painted vegetable tanned sign. (I would have hand stitched the sign onto the box if I had more time – instead I just cemented it on and decorated the edges with a silver pen.)
I didn’t take many photos during production, but here are the cardboard patterns I made while designing the bag – the rest of the pieces I measured using a metal ruler straight on the leather:
The design of the bag is cryptically blueprinted on this side pattern below, if I ever want to make another:
Here is the core of the bag open, with the stiffeners still visible:
At the core of the bag, there are 12 pieces of vegetable tanned leather used as a stiffener – 7 in the body as depicted above, and 5 in the lid. (This leather is the same leather used as stiffener for shoes, for toe puffs and heel counters.)