by Willow Enright
I’ve never met a leather satchel that I couldn’t see having in my life for years to come. In fact, one of the most cherished heirloom items are leather bags. Messenger bags, backpacks, satchels, hip bags, duffle bags, suitcases, trunks, and purses have all been passed through the ages as family treasures. Leather has that ageless quality which speaks of a style beyond measure, and the holidays are the perfect time to give priceless gifts that will continue to give for years to come.
The classic messenger bag comes in many forms and sizes, varying in the amount of compartments and pockets available. Some are quite large and others reasonably smaller, but regardless of their size these types of bags are one of the most prized totes to own. They usually have a long strap which is slung over one shoulder and across the body, leaving the messenger tote bag to rest on your opposite hip. You can use varying thicknesses of leather to create different looks for a messenger bag. There are even types that have the ability to be used as backpacks as well.
Backpacks are basically a rucksack, usually worn on your back, and slung from either one or two shoulders depending on the design. Leather versions of the backpack have been carried for centuries, often with one strap securing the bundle in the middle of your back. It can be quite a crude bag barely more than a swaddled bundle, unsecured but capable of carrying out its intended purpose of hauling goods. Nowadays, backpacks have more happening than that. They are found with multiple pockets and pouches of varying size, and buckles for securing it steadfast.
The leather satchel bag has had many forms and uses over the last several hundred years. It was often used in tandem with farm animals, such as horses or mules. Leather satchels are rugged and durable, holding up with hard use outdoors. One could sling a shot gun, supplies, or tools easily over a trusted steed in a leather satchel and never think twice on it, but when the automoble rolled off the assembly line and into your drive way people didn't think to keep around such a handy shoulder bag. Especially since we now have to be our own pack mules and end up carrying laptops, cellphones, tablets, and various other devices.
Hip bags have deftly replaced the satchel bags we used to know and love. Few folks still have horses and the like, so now we haul stuff around on our own hips. Which is really a good way to carry things around if you think about it; your hips bare the majority of your center of gravity weight. So creating leather hip bags similar to satchels is actually a good alternate way of toting your daily items about. Some hang from your belt, others have their own belt attached, and sometimes there is a leg strap involved. Hip bags are definitely much more complicated than the simple duffle bag, for instance.
The duffle bag usually has one very large compartment for carrying more than your daily gear, and a long strap for over the shoulder slinging. These are designed for the weekend getaway or the minimalist’s ideal for traveling. There aren’t many pockets for your stuff to get misplaced in, and you can easily open them up wide for getting to your things. Plus, if you happen to be in a Zombie Apocalypse you can also shove guns into a duffle bag fairly well. Unlike the traditional suitcases which are impossible to run with.
Although they are not great in the Apocalypse, suitcases are extremely helpful for traveling on the leisure. Being rather hardy and compact they truly stand up to the rigger of journeying about endlessly. Usually suitcases are made with a flip lid, buckles or locks for enclosure, and a sturdy handle for toting them about. They can be made of several materials, and leather is one. They were originally designed as the mini trunk on the go, and for the most part retain that reputation today.
The traveling trunk may be one of the oldest forms of a closet that we know. There was a time when huge, heavy, overladen trunks stowed away ones beloved possessions and clothes in carefully designed drawers or pull out flats. It made rotating seasonal clothes more convenient, while at the same time making it impossible to easily haul around. Lavish leather trunks have been seen throughout the ages, some in combination with wood, others simply made of leather. However, the ingeniousness of such trunks is scarcely found today unless you take into consideration the basic modern purse.
The common place bag for trekking your daily goods about these days for ladies is the purse. It is preferred with a strap to go over the shoulder, but sometimes women like to carry them clutch style. Lately, wearing them slung around your hips is great, too. Leather purses are lovely, especially when they have a nice patina (where the leather is slightly lighter from being bent.) You can have slouchy leather purses, or more ridged thicker leather purses to maintain the shape. Regardless what type of leather bag is your favorite, if you take good care of it, then it will last you for ages.
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.