After all the pieces of the pattern have been cut and sealed, they are then transferred to our lovely ladies who assemble them. Our craftswomen have been assembling leather bags for their whole working lives, and have an acute understanding of every pattern we use. Reading these patterns are like reading blueprints, everything must be spot on for the bag’s functionality and overall quality.
The outside accoutrements of the bag are assembled first. The cut and sealed pieces are matched with proper labeling, rivets, and handles. The Toscanella label, for example, is an embossed strip of leather that is hand sown onto the corresponding piece of leather. According to the style of bag additional stitching and rivets are added as decoration. The rivets are inserted by puncturing small holes in the leather, then attaching both sides of the rivet through the hole. The handles are made with long strips of leather that are curved and sewn together with the attached metal connectors. Two slits are cut into both front and back pieces of the bag to allow for the leather handles to be sewn in. Once this has been done a thin foam padding is added to the rough unfinished inside parts of the pieces, and the zippers are sewn according to pattern.
Now here comes the tricky part. The zippers on both main pieces have to be exactly aligned. Once they have been aligned, one side of the bag can be sewn together. This is done by sewing one end of a main piece to the other. You might reasonably believe that the other corresponding sides could be sewn, thereby “closing” the bag with the nice finished sides showing. This is where the real deviation begins.
Instead of closing the bag with the finished sides out, we do the opposite. We sew the two main pieces together inside out. So the foam padding and zipper teeth are facing the outside, not the handles. Then the bottom of the bag is attached, again bottom side up to the two main pieces. Now once we have assembled the bag, it is time to assemble the lining.
The lining is assembled inside in, as one would expect. One side of the lining has the security pocket, while the other has the cell phone holder sown in. The sides are sown together at both ends, with bottom being added last. The lining is then turned inside out and inserted over the inside out bag. As you can imagine, this allows us to sew the lining in each bag in a much more easy and efficient way. Less of those horrible crooked stitches! Once the lining has been sewn in, we carefully proceed to turn the bag so the finished smooth outside is facing out, making the lining the inside. We also have a machine that gently blows hot air onto the leather to help erase any creases created from this process. And there you have it. The exact process told to me by the very artisans who have been crafting these bags for decades!
So the next time you are out shopping, be it browsing or intended, keep in mind that high quality handmade bags are a labor intensive item. The craftsmanship that goes into straight stitching, well attached rivets, and overall symmetry of the bag is an art form, and our experts here at Pierotucci tend to keep it that way!