The first time we met Karel, the man behind Leatherlands, we featured his brand in the ‘5 leather brands you should know about’ article we posted last year. After this, we stayed in touch, and we respect his high level of handmade products.
Besides, Leatherlands’ cool, and handstitched collection, Karel is offering workshops in Amsterdam. During a 3-hour workshop, Karel will teach all the ins-and-outs of hand stitching leather craftsmanship to his ‘students.’ He will take you alongside all different stages, and, at the end of the workshop, you are the proud owner of a self-made wallet. We attended one of his workshops, and it was a great learning experience. Karel is very, patient, helpful and if even we can create our personal handstitched wallet, everybody can!
Because we enjoyed the workshop, we asked Karel to write down all different stages of the process. Head over to his web store to see his collection, and, if you are ever visiting Amsterdam, make sure to attend at one of his workshops yourself!
Every new product originates from the same starting point. I always try to think about what I miss in my personal life, or in Leatherlands’ collection. A new product should be something I haven’t yet in my collection, or it should be made of a different type of leather. In other words, it has to add something!
For example, when I created my leather watch strap, it was because I got a lovely watch as a birthday gift from my partner. I loved the watch, but I wasn’t a big fan of the rubber strap. So, I decided to craft a leather watch strap, which I enjoy every day, and I added it to the collection.
Inspiration & sketching
I visit many accessories shops in Amsterdam to get inspiration and to observe the latest trends. When I see a cool product, I start to think how I could add it to my style and collection. I love a classic, modern, clean, and simple style, which reflects in my collection. When I find a cool accessory and figure out a comparable product, I take my sketchbook and start transforming the idea into a picture.
Before I start creating the real deal, I start making a paper model with the same measurements to see if it works and if the sizes are okay. At the same time, I start deciding what type of leather, thickness, and color will fit most in the new design.
When the paper model is finished, I will use it to cut out the leather pieces. I will punch out the stitching holes, and glue the pieces together, to make the item more durable. Then, I have finally arrived at the stitching part of the process. For the stitching, I am using pre-waxed threads, because it is easier to work with and because they are more durable than regular threads. Once I finished stitching, I will polish the edges until they are all smooth and shining.
For all my products, I only do hand stitching, as it is much more durable than machine stitching and I fancy the traditions, the heritage, and the tools of leathercraft.
Once the product is finished, the next step is to take a few nice photos. Usually, I take some photos during daylight, because it makes the products look more lifelike and natural.
Looking for handstitched and high-quality leather goods, make sure to swing by Leatherlands’ web store.