Ever since around the age of six, I’ve had an interest in bags. The first ones might have been pink, fluffy and printed with princesses but with the years the appearance might have changed but the love never diminished. Every time I search for the inspiration for a new bag I become interested in the applied techniques, the textures, the designers but also the history of certain bags. As you can read in the post ‘the history of the bucket bag’ there is more to such bags than what meets the eye. Years of history, culture and innovation will always influence the fashion and the bags we use. This time we won’t dig into the history of a certain bag but I’ve been looking into classic leather & fabric combinations. Let’s start!
We’ve discussed the difference between the fashion or functional use of leather in a previous post. Though this still is an item we can’t ignore in the development and usage of leather in bags. The properties of leather, strong and a little water resistant, have been used to our advantages in the past and present.
The function of the leather in combination with fabric.
First of all, leather is often used as reinforcement of the bottom of bags, not in combination with a specific type of fabric but with most kinds of the fabrics mentioned below. Just in case, whenever you put your bag down on a damp floor or when it becomes dirty you can clean it quite well, protect your belongings and won’t break down easily.
Secondly, the “strength” property of the leather is also used for the handles. It often will not or little stretch, won’t raffle and feels more comfortable to the hand compared to the fabric, which might cut a little.
Before we continue into the classic combinations, it is time to mention my latest Pinterest board with a lot of inspiration with these combinations:
Don’t forget to check it out! After you’ve read the rest of the post, I’m sure you won’t.
- Canvas is already a very strong fabric historically made of hemp (but nowadays of cotton or linen). You might know it from paintings or when it is used for sailing equipment etc.. Though to make a bag just as strong but a little bit more good looking you can combine it with leather. Reinforce the bottom or the handles with leather and you will have a very robust bag! When you use it often outdoors, you could also think of waxing everything and make it totally waterproof!!
- Cotton is a very common fabric. Lately, you can see cotton bags’ everywhere. Also as a more environment-friendly alternative to the plastic bags. Cotton is a fluffy fibre growing on cotton plants. You can pick the bolls once they burst and process it into threads. Using cotton in your product has its advantages and disadvantages such as; its lack of strength, especially when we compare it to the previous mentions canvas. Though the big advantage of cotton is the ease of processing. You can colour it, you can weave it, knit it etc. however when you would like to achieve a stronger product you might want consider the combination of leather.
- Now the days are shorter and it becomes colder and colder it might be time to combine our leather with some wool. We wouldn’t be the first ones since wool and leather are both pure natural and ancient materials to work with. Some of my personal favourite combinations are the fluffy tartan plaid held together with leather straps! Perfect for those sunny fall days, with some hot choco and pumpkin spice cake and leaves in golden colours.
- Wool felt: whenever you wash your wool and press all the fibre together you eventually will end up with felt. Just like I used in the DIY leather and wool felt file-folder-laptop sleeve, it’s here if you missed it. Also, a very classic combination used for many and many years.
- Another personal favourite is the combination with tapestry or Kalims. Ever since Mary Poppins opened her magic tapestry doctor’s bag I’m in love with it. In combination with even more middle eastern influences, the kilim, a perfect bag and fabric combination is born. Kilims are historically a rug made of a very strong often wool, cotton or hemp, woven fabric. They are made with many colours and motifs.
The possible combinations with leather will probably be endless though these four are the most historical and even ancient combinations. Years will pass but these combinations will never be out of fashion! What is your favourite fabric & leather combination? And is there one particular fabric I should work with, in the future?