What’s the Difference a Handmade Leather Bag from a Machine-Made One?

There’s nothing like a beautiful handmade leather bag to add to your collection. After all, leather bags are perhaps one of the best types of bags to invest your money in.

But let’s face it: handcrafted leather bags don’t come cheap. In fact, you can easily buy several machine-made leather bags for the price that you’ll pay for one handmade bag. Besides, no one can really tell the difference, right?

Well, not exactly. In fact, there are a lot of tell-tale signs that will let you know if the bag you have is handcrafted or machine-made.

But before we get into that…

Why should you invest in a handmade leather bag?

The point of investing is so that you can get your money’s worth and more. So when you choose a handmade leather bag over a machine-sewn one, you’re not just paying for the quality but also its longevity. In fact, it’s not uncommon for handmade leather bags to be passed down from one generation to another.

On top of that, you also get unparalleled artistry and craftsmanship. Handmade leather items are made by artisans who are incredibly passionate about their work. Sure, the money they’ll make matters. But more than that, they see each handmade leather bag or a pair of shoes as a work of art attached to their name. That’s why the quality you get is unmatched by machine-made leather items.

4 ways to tell the difference between a handcrafted leather bag and a machine-sewn bag

1. Quality of materials used.

The first difference between a handmade leather bag and machine-sewn one is the quality of the leather used to create the item. Handcrafted leather bags are almost always made out of high-quality and genuine leather. Machine-sewn bags tend to use synthetic leather because they’re much cheaper. That’s the reason why they are able to command lower prices.

2. The stitches used on the leather bag.

This is perhaps the most obvious difference between a handmade leather bag and a machine-sewn one.

Machine-sewn leather bags have what’s called a Locking Stitch. This stitch is created when the two threads from the sewing machine (one coming from the needle and the other from the bobbin underneath the sewing bed) loop and lock together in a single stitch. If you look closely, the stitches go through the leather bag in a perfect 90-degree angle.

, What’s the Difference a Handmade Leather Bag from a Machine-Made One?, Wish Fresh
Saddle Stitch (top) and Locking Stitch (bottom). Image Credits: Esquire Magazine

On the other hand, handmade leather bags makers use what’s called a Saddle Stitch. This particular stitch only uses one thread, with its end tied to a needle. The stitches are created when the end of the thread meets the needle through a single hole, crossing each other. The completed stitches form a chain that resembles several figure eights. Because of this, the thread enters through the holes made by the needles slightly at an angle.

3. The overall construction of the leather bag.

Another way to tell the difference between a handmade leather bag and a machine-made one is their overall appearance.

Since machines are used to cut and sew machine-made leather bags, the edges look so pristine and the stitches remarkably uniform. Handmade leather bags aren’t as perfect. If you look very carefully, you’ll notice some areas where the length of the stitches is shorter than others. There are also little waves as well on the edges. These imperfections are those that give the overall look of the bag that rustic look. It’s also the reason why no two handmade leather bags are exactly alike, even if they’re made by the same artisan.

4. A lingering smell of leather.

Leather has a distinct smell. While both handmade leather and machine-sewn leather have that unique leather smell on them when they’re still at the store, the scent on machine-sewn leather tends to fade away after some time. That’s not the case with handmade leather bags.

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