Stirrup Bag

You may have already seen the Stirrup handbag for sale over in my online shop. Its design had been swimming around in my mind for a little while.

You should have gathered from the website, by now, that all my items are handmade using traditional saddler skills and techniques.

With this in mind, I thought it would be nice to show you how I made this bag.

The Design

Usually I get a design for a new product pop into my head when I am doing something totally unrelated to work.

In this case I had the stirrup handbag come to mind when I was cleaning my horse’s saddle.

I was removing the stirrup irons from their leathers ready to give them all a good clean, when whilst holding the irons in my hand.

The idea of being able to hold the irons through the stirrup leather’s hole came to me.

When I had a moment to myself, I quickly sketched out the design in my notebook, before putting it to one side for another day.

The idea evolved in my head and eventually I made a paper template to gauge measurements and practicality.

Cutting The Leather

Once happy with the template, I cut out just one of the side panels from a natural russet leather hide that I bought from Abbey England. This type of leather is known for it’s ability to be tooled and moulded into shape.

Carving and Tooling

The whole design was based on the style of an English stirrup iron. I wanted this to reflect on the bag, so, I decided to draw, carve and then tool the stirrup iron shape into the russet leather.

Carving and Tooling the Stirrup Handbag

This is one of the most time consuming jobs, other than actually hand stitching, but it is an artform in it’s own right. The making of a design depends on each cut and stamp of the tools totally dependent on the user.

Once I was happy with the first one I went on to cut, carve and tool a second side panel to match the first one.

I finished the panels off by branding them with my Lady Saddler horse head logo in the bottom right corners.

“It had to be more artistic!”

Adding Colour

In my mind the stirrup iron had to be silver but I didn’t want to glue a chrome coloured leather to the russet leather to give that effect. It had to be more artistic! So, I decided to acrylic the actual stirrup iron in a metallic silver acrylic paint specifically for leather.

Acrylic Painting the Stirrup Handbag

As you can see the result is amazing!

In addition to this I needed to make the stirrup iron ‘pop’ out from the side panel and this meant filling the centre of the design with a darker colour.

I chose to use a jet black leather stain which I thought would complimented a soft leather gusset connecting the two side panels together.

Putting It Together

Before stitching the whole project together, I added an element of luxury to the inside of the bag. This was achieved by adding a soft suede leather in a deep black colour.

Suede Lining on the Stirrup Keyring

I then cut a leather gusset out of soft leather which has a matt finish and stitched it all by hand using an alloy silver coloured waxed thread.

Looking For The Perfect Event

Now the Stirrup handbag is complete, all that is left to do is to find it a new home. A special someone who will take it to that perfect event where it will stand out from the crowd…like a Ladies Race Day maybe?


Did you enjoy reading about the making of this handbag? Would you like more of these types of posts? If so, it would be great to hear your suggestions by sending me an email or by leaving a comment below.

Take care and #staysafe

Clair x

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