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How To Design and Produce Functional Items in Leather: Briefcase, Belt and Leather Suspended Chair

One of the interesting aspect in the field of Leatherwork is creatively manipulating the leather material to come out with aesthetically pleasing and functional products that can be used in playing various roles in our everyday life. This includes enhancing our personal outlook through the use of items for personal grooming like belts, briefcases for storage purposes and chairs for seating. The steps in producing these functional items have been discussed in this article.

a. Designing and production of a Briefcase

Tools; Lacing needle, knife, steel rule, rivet setter, and edge creaser.
Materials: Leather, lining, thread, cardboard, and rivet.


1. Make preliminary sketches of the briefcase.

2. Select the most suitable design and prepare the templates.

3. Use the templates to cut out the various parts of the briefcase.

4. Sew the various parts together to form the briefcase.

5. Finish the briefcase to enhance its outlook.

b. Designing and production of a Belt

Tools: Steel rule, square point knife, rivet setter, leather punch, edge beveller, and brush.
Materials: Leather, rivet, and shoe cream.


1. Use the draw gauge or any appropriate stripping tool to strip the entire length of the belt OR measure and cut out the length of the belt by the use of a square point knife and a steel rule.

2. Use the tooling, decorative technique to create some decorative patterns such as zig-zag patterns etc.

3. A revolving punch is used to punch the buckle tongue holes at the tail end of the leather after creating equally spaced holes with a marking tool.

4. Create a trimmed edge border around the circumference of the belt by the use of the edge beveller/creaser. Wet the belt and run the tool hard enough along the edge of the belt. When it is dried, the trimmed lines will be permanent on the belt.

5. Cut two small straps and fix them on the leather using the rivets.

6. The buckle is now riveted in place with the rivet setter.

7. The leather is finished by applying a shoe cream and polishing it gently with brush. Adding flexibility of the belt is achieved by working it back and forth across a wooden staircase rung or any suitable item.

c. Making and production of a Leather Furniture- Leather suspended chair

Tools: A pair of shears, a jig/band saw, edge creaser, revolving leather punch, a single sit lacing hole nipper, and mallet.
Materials: 8-cord polyester Dacron thread, heavy-duty rivets, leather contact cement, finishes, 8-14 ounce saddle leather/ smooth grained leather, and round solid brass rods.


1. Make preliminary sketches of the hanging or suspended chair.

2. Prepare a template for the base seat as well as the supporting strips.

3. Cut the round leather base seat after marking round the template.

4. Wrap and secure it around one of the round solid brass rods to be used as the base using the heavy duty rivets.

5. Cut the individual strips of leather and work on them, especially their edges as you would make a belt. The measurement for the strips must be uniform and straight.

6. Fix them on the two round solid brass rods at the top and bottom with the heavy duty rivets. Remember to leave a wide area to conveniently accommodate the butts of the sitter.

7. Suspend the chair on two arch-like solid brass rods tied at the centre with a metal wire. The leather suspended chair is ready for use.

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