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Handmade Leather Bags vs Machine-Made - The Top Differences You Need to Know 

September 28, 2022


As you begin to look at your wardrobe with a new eye - you start to have the mantra of quality over quantity. Or, you could say - fast fashion is out and sustainable, staple, investment pieces for clothing and accessories are in.

Of all the trends we’ve experienced, one material has stood the test of time - that being, leather.

For centuries, leather has been used as a highly durable, versatile, and fashionable material, especially for bags, backpacks, totes, and satchels. But of course, anything this popular is bound to be commercialized - and machine-made leather bags aren’t quite the same as those handcrafted. 

Why? That’s the question we’re here to answer. 

So, keep reading to learn more about handmade leather bags vs machine-made, the benefits of handmade, and the top differences you need to know. 


Handmade vs. Machine-made Leather Bags - The Top Differences

The first big difference you need to understand between handmade and machine-made leather bags is the quality of the material. In general, quality leather requires a certain level of care and attention to stitch correctly. This means that for many mass-produced leather bags made with a machine - it’s likely to be synthetic leather and not the real thing.

The intricate stitching used in handcrafted leather bags is partially to thank for the longevity and durability of the end product. So, if these are qualities you prioritize, handmade is the only way to go. Speaking of stitches, you can normally tell the difference between a handmade and machine-made leather bag by the type of stitch that’s used. Machine-made bags often are made with ‘locking stitch’ which appears as a straight line.

Handcrafted leather handbags, on the other hand (pun intended), use what’s known as a saddle stitch. This stitch is made with a unique figure-eight process and ends with the thread being stitched at even angles. The construction isn’t the only benefit of buying handmade leather totes, however. Let’s explore more next.

The Benefits of Buying Handmade Leather Bags 

Now that you know the major difference between handmade leather bags and those that are machine made - you might already have your mind made up. In case you don’t, check out just a few more advantages of leather handmade bags.


Leather material is naturally durable, and when taken care of with proper maintenance techniques - it can last a lifetime (or multiple lifetimes at that!). The material is also capable of withstanding tension, meaning it won’t deteriorate with frequent use or from carrying heavy items.

Long-lasting investment

As we already mentioned - leather is something that never goes out of style. So, with the durability we just spoke of, and the fact that you’ll always be ‘on trend’ - you’ll get more out of your leather handmade bag than any other accessory purchase.

Leather bags often have an ‘antique’ or ‘vintage’ look about them, which is another style that’s always ‘in’. But this look isn’t just a ‘look’ when, in actuality, many handcrafted leather bags are actually "vintage" and so long-lasting they get handed down from generation to generation.

Support small

Farmer’s markets and artisan pop-ups have never been more popular, showing that as a population - we love to support ‘small’. This includes prioritizing purchases from local artisans and mom-and-pop operations run by our very own neighbors. Whether you live in the same town or not, searching for handmade leather bags USA merchants is also highly recommended.

Not that we don’t love our international neighbors, but you can’t always guarantee quality, and it can be difficult to find trusted vendors online with language and shipment barriers.

Give back

Last but not least, and speaking of sustainability - handmade leather bags and accessories are highly eco-friendly. In fact, most leather is colored and tanned using only natural resources. Leather artisans are also well-known for repurposing and reusing leather scraps and strips that are leftover from the process of making handmade leather handbags.

Even more, many handmade leather bag shops and businesses share this ‘give back’ mantra in supporting their fellow neighbors. Including, In Blue Handmade where every bag purchase delivers 50 meals to folks in need through its partnership with Feeding America.

Where to Buy Handmade Leather Bags

Call us biased, but In Blue Handmade is the clear answer to the question - where to buy handmade leather bags. When you shop at In Blue, you’re supporting a small, tight-knit group of friends with a passion for leather crafting. That’s gone from one woman to an entire team (and a slew of dogs) and now a full-scale production facility and showroom.

Regardless of how ‘big’ we become, we’ll always be small at heart with our love for quality handcrafted leather bags. Not to mention - the more we grow, the more we can give back!

Make your feel-good purchase feel even better at In Blue - shop our collection of handmade leather bags and accessories now.

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About In Blue Handmade

We are group of friends who handcraft leather and waxed canvas goods in Asheville, NC. We started in 2008 in Southern Illinois and moved to Asheville in 2011. Since then, the team has changed from one person (founder Mary Lynn Schroeder) to a team of nine Asheville residents and five amazing loud dogs.

Utility meets style and feel-good purchasing power