Making Saddle Bags

Posted by mark larner on

A while ago I was looking around for a chap to design the new logo for New Utility. 

The very talented artist, James Nunn, is a friend of the family and I've always loved his work. We got chatting and somehow ended up talking about saddle bags.

Custom made saddle bags

James had always hankered after some since loosing an old set that he'd picked up in New York in the 90's.

I'm a biker anyway so had already been looking at patterns I could adapt to my bike. James needed a set that was big enough to hold his sketch pad, assorted bits and bobs and fit easily over his shoulder too.

I found the perfect pattern from Tandy Leather in the US. Well, I say perfect.. I switched out all that American leather lacing in favour of a traditional saddle stitch to hold it all together and added some grommet tabs so the bags could be more easily tied to a bike.

James supplied a chocolate brown chrome tanned leather. It was a bit too soft in temper so I sourced some pig skin suede to line it with. This stiffens the leather and in my view really lifts the bags aesthetically.

Saddle bags - suede lining

Doing this was immensely time consuming, but the result was so worth it. More importantly, James was thrilled with the result, saying,

"The quality is beyond wonderful - beautiful detailing and stitching. It fits perfectly on my shoulder and my bike. Will definitely be ordering more."

I really enjoy working on special commissions; it gives me the opportunity to try something that I perhaps would not have considered making. Doing that always pushes you as a maker, encouraging you to have a go at new techniques or evolve a design.

Is there something you've always yearned for but haven't seen in the high street? Be it a particular type of wallet or a bag, do get in touch.

And please do check out James's work:


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