The 7 Most Inspiring Books Every Leatherworker Should Own - knoweasy

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The 7 Most Inspiring Books Every Leatherworker Should Own

February 20, 2023

Author: Leb
Personal blog:


As many of us are well aware, there are a limited number of leather craft books that break down how to make leather products. There aren't many, so you probably already own most of them!

While straightforward information on how to construct specific leather goods is very useful for discovering new techniques and skills, other factors motivate many artisans to make their designs based on ideas.

I'm talking about inspiration here.

Inspiration is probably what initially brought you into the world of leather crafting, and it is often overlooked in your quest for direct actionable knowledge.

Every design you see or create with your own hands comes from inspiration. Either from yourself or from others you follow.

In this blog post, I want to share some of the rich sources of inspiration that come from outside of forums or social media.

I want to share some of my favorite books that have given me great inspiration. Books that allowed me to build solid ideas for craft projects, many of which ended up in the masterclass video courses I created!

Now, these books focus primarily on bags rather than accessories. However, I feel that the design, color combinations, craftsmanship and historical significance of bags can bring a whole new level of inspiration to other popular projects such as purses, belts and even watch straps.

Many famous bags have drawn inspiration from architecture, automobiles, pop culture and chance encounters!

Inspiration is everywhere, so the more you touch it, the more ideas will come to your mind so you can start creating and experimenting.

So, here are my seven recommended inspirational books for you.


Seven books for leather craft


Handbags: The Construction of a Museum-Judith Clark


The first book to start this list is a book about a Korean museum (with me).

This book documents the extensive handbag collection at the Simone Handbag Museum in Seoul. The building that houses the museum is itself a giant handbag!

In these pages, you'll find hundreds of handbags from the Middle Ages to today's history.

What struck me were the bags, boxes and jewelry boxes from the 1800s and 1900s. It was a time when intricate leather craftsmanship seemed to be at its zenith.

With incredible hardware (no doubt done by jewelry makers), extremely fine stitching and dazzling detail. Some of these pieces will make you question everything you've ever seen!


Vintage Luggage-Helen Kagolshan


If you can find this masterpiece and love vintage English luggage, buy this book. Spare no expense.

I received this as a birthday gift and it has been one of my favorite books ever since. Portfolios, briefcases, doctor's bags, suitcases and travel trunks, it's as English as Downton Abbey.

The extraordinary photography does each piece absolutely justice, and it's a wonderful reference for finding manufacturers that no longer exist (although some do!) It's a wonderful reference for finding manufacturers that no longer exist (although some do!).

If you enjoy making vintage-style leather goods or repairing and restoring leather goods, this is a worthwhile investment.


VOGUE Must Haves - Handbags-Carolyn Asom


This small but comprehensive book on the best handbags in fashion is a worthwhile purchase if you want inspiration for handbag design from a more fashion-forward perspective.

Showcasing the most iconic bags from the 1950s to recent times, your favorites are inside.

Even if you steer clear of fashionable handbags by famous designers, you'll get a good idea of which design types have been the most sought-after, best-selling and coveted bags. Is it worth thinking deeply if you sell your pieces?


BAG DESIGN-Fashionary


Many of you are probably already familiar with this book. Either you own a copy, or you've been thinking about it.

Most people mistakenly buy the book thinking it will contain designs and patterns that they can copy to make their bags. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

There are many main reasons why you should have a copy. Ever wondered how long your handles should be on a particular type of bag? How about a list of reinforcements, leathers and linings? Hardware? Type of handling? It's all there.

Even if it just adds to your bag-making vocabulary, it's worth every penny. It's still in mass production, readily available and inexpensive.


The Secret History of the Handbag-Meredith Etherington Smith / Carolyn Clifton-Mogg


This large book features not only the most iconic handbags in history but also the women who carried them. Each story details how some of these famous handbags came to be, and the stories they carry.

If you like large, full-color photographs and lots of close-ups of your favorite bags, this is a great addition to your library!


Hermès - Traveling Beauty-Michele Gazier / Jerome Guerrand-Hermès


This is by far the most epic coffee table book I own. But at this price, please don't put it anywhere near a coffee table!

The downside? It's in French, but if you like Hermès, you'll love this book from the first page. Most of it is pictures anyway.

The photography is second to none and the bags, boxes, trunks and suitcases inside are rarely seen anywhere.

The bags are from the Hermes archives and range from stunningly beautiful to downright bizarre.

Think of this book as a Rolex watch. It's expensive at first, but over time it only appreciates. Production has stopped and it is very difficult to get a copy in any condition or price.


Louis Vuitton. The birth of modern luxury-Paul Gerard Passoles


If you like to read books that also help with upper body strength, then this is the behemoth for you. Weight = content, and this epic "must have" book has it!

The book begins by highlighting the history of the great Louis Vuitton himself, his story and the birth of the brand.

This book is perfect if you want to find a quiet place, have a drink and set aside a few hours to absorb a truly great story.

On its pages, you will find various luggage, bags, cases and accessories related to the brand, as well as the stories associated with them.

So I hope you've been inspired to read this blog post about the books I've recommended for you!

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