5 Steps to Designing Leather Goods

 I should note this is not the way to design leather goods, merely the way I have found I enjoy designing leather goods with the most ease. 


I'm constantly working on or mentally processing new leather goods.  When I'm trying to think about a new leather item, I first and foremost try to envision the practicality of the leather item.  What purpose does this leather wallet have?  How does a leather valet tray make someone's life better?  Secondly, I try to envision how it would be crafted together in my mind.  Once I have a firm grasp on those things I will start putting it on paper.  I'm not going to get into the specifics of how to craft each step.  That's for another day.  Here's how I normally come up with the design:


1. Pen & Paper

Once I think of an idea, I put it on paper and start to give some shape to the item in my head.  This is extremely helpful when trying to make sense of whether something would work well or is just a mess that can't be reconstructed.


2. Dimensions

I will then think of the practicality of the item.  What will fit in it or what will it's use be for?  Getting proper dimensions are essential.  I don't know of anyone that's just done it by eye, but for me I need some dimensions in order to break down the drawn shape.


3. Adobe Illustrator

Not every time, but I often go into Adobe Illustrator to construct all of the pieces into a vector based format that I can create templates from, but also revise if necessary.  If you do not have Illustrator, just use pen and paper.  This step is merely to connect the sketch to the dimensions in a 1:1 scale.


4. Templates

I print out these templates on thick card stock paper and cut the shapes out.  The thick paper allows for a strong and clean edge that I can then transfer the traced shape onto leather. 


5. Construction

From there it's just the focusing on the build.  I often will find errors with my template and run back to my computer, make some tweaks, print and re-cut the template.  Once the leather item is done, I'll either make some larger design changes or put it into production as a stock item.

Well that's it for my personal process.  I hope you've enjoyed it.  You can forego templates if you want, but personally I like having all the template pieces to lay out onto my leather at once so I avoid as little scrap as possible.  Cheers!

If you would like to purchase this wallet, here's the link below:

Bifold - Russet Harness Leather
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