Malle2luxe, defends French traditions and know-how . Today we are going to share with you our experience and our knowledge on the "saddle stitch" this traditional sewing without machine, sewn by hand.
We read a lot of wrong things about him:
Forums, blogs, books, youtube videos ... we read a bit of anything. And to make matters worse through ignorance, many renowned experts and dealers maintain a certain confusion perpetuating the legend of hand stitch saddle stitching.
For example, how many times have you read and heard that a Hermes bag is entirely hand-sewn . Urban myth and revelation about machine sewing versus hand sewing, and how do you recognize a saddle stitch seam ?
It is important to understand what are the technical differences and the differences in use. Hand sewing (saddle stitch) is not a fancy choice or a whim. Traditionally it responds to a desire for solidity, the leather will give way before sewing. The saddle stitch seam is an indestructible seam . This seam was designed more than a century ago by craftsmen saddlers, harnessers , saddlers to make coupling parts for working horses (saddle, arnachage, equestrian, horse-drawn carriages ...) as well as parts. of leather heavily subjected to wear (handles, belts, etc.), or in luxury leather goods.
The saddle stitch (or laced stitch) is done with a thread and two needles. The thread therefore passes from the top (face) to the bottom (reverse) alternately to cross in the material forming a tie-off at each point. It is the strongest seam.
These diagrams will help you understand.
On the other hand, machine stitching (the real term for which is “ machine stitching”), which is more economical because it is quicker to perform and is not solid when twisted or pulled. It consists of two separate threads, one remaining on the top, the other on the underside crossing at mid-material. They can therefore be of a different color. The top thread holds the bottom thread, one holding the other. This means that if the seam wears out or cuts in one place, the entire seam comes undone, unlike the saddle stitch.
The quality of machine stitching, or saddle stitch seams is a good way to unmask Goyard, Dior, Hermes, Chanel or Louis Vuitton fakes . So that there is no confusion . Here are the main seams that exist.
A so-called "machine" seam is not a seam made by an automatic machine. It is a machinist (operator) who is behind the machine, his function requires real and precious know-how . Each leather goods brand trains its staff to respect the know-how and tradition of the house. Today 99.99% of bag seams are machine-made, even at the big French luxury houses.
For example at Louis Vuitton apart from the Steamer Bag which has a few hand seams, all the other bags are machine-made. Same thing at Moynat , Chanel, Dior, Goyard . As for Hermes apart from a few bags like the Kelly and Birkin where only 10 to 15% of the seams are handmade, all the seams are machine-made, even on the crocodile or exotic leather models.
There are 2 types of needles most used
Losangique (LR) : Allows you to make inclined decorative stitching reminiscent of the saddle stitch. Used for leather goods at Hermes.
Round (R) : Pointed conical tip
The normal round point is the standard shape. Allows leather and fabric to be sewn together like the assembly of an Avece leather with a fabric lining. The LR needle could cut the weft of the fabric as the round needle slips between the fibers of the fabric without the risk of tearing. Used for leather goods at Vuitton.
Hand stitching saddle stitch (and tied saddle stitch) must be strong, flexible , waterproof and pretty because it is a decorative element in its own right. The sewing is done by hand without mechanized means. The tools are rudimentary and require perfect mastery :
The particularity of the saddle stitch is to sew with a thread and two needles. In order to be able to use both hands holding the two needles and its awl to pierce the leather, the piece is held in a wooden sewing clip, wedged between the legs.
To respect the rules of the art, the sewing must be carried out with a certain method . And each gesture has its importance and a meaning. This goes from the way you hold the needle, to the inclination of the arm when you pierce the leather with the awl ... In fact, the gesture must become automatic, fluid and for that from the start, it does not. the technique should not be questioned to give in to ease. It comes from the know-how of the saddler who manufactures riding articles where the seams are very stressed and must be very resistant and of high quality.
The knotted saddle stitch is used on the handles of cabin trunks , mail, Louis Vuitton, Goyard and Moynat wardrobe trunks as well as for binding leather parts on Louis Vuitton rigid luggage "full leather series " of vegetable tanned cowhide, crocodile, pork . Also the corner seam on luggage without a wooden structure .
There are several special cases, so we will deal with the most common (95% of the market). It is very easy and very quick to recognize a "lock stitch" hand seam of a machine seam.
The main aesthetic differences to recognize are:
Finally to finish, do not confuse a saddle seam with a lacing . Many craftsmen and even bad luggage restorers make seams which they claim to be "saddle point" but which are obviously not. These points are reserved for the neophyte .
Here are some examples:
A: Back stitch
B: Double front stitch
These seams are not seams, at best hand-made lacing done outside the rules of the art and without comparison with the saddle stitch. No holdover time.
Malle2luxe perpetuates the manufacture of 100% hand-sewn leather articles, saddle stitch. To sew a piece of leather with little stress and the seams not seen, there is no point in sewing by hand. Hand sewing is exposed.
This article is not intended to denigrate one seam rather than another, but to inform , so that the know-how is not lost.
French know-how in the service of French heritage.
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