How to Determine the Quality of a Leather Bag

How to Determine the Quality of a Leather Bag

The Art of Distinguishing Quality Leather Bags

Purchasing a leather bag can be challenging. There is an abundance of low-quality craftsmanship, inexpensive imitation cowhide. skin, and hardware that breaks down after a season or two on the market. We talked to a skilled cowhide skin craftsman to gain some understanding of what goes on under the hood in order to help distinguish the well-made from the overpriced garbage.

Frank Clegg is one of the few Americans who truly understands what it takes to create a high-quality ROYAL COLUMBUS GENUINE LEATHER BROWN DUFFLE BAG. For over forty years, he has been designing and crafting premium womens cowhide tote bag skin goods by hand in his Fall River, Massachusetts, workshop. With its worn-in chestnut womens cowhide tote bag skin patina, my nearly five-year-old Clegg duffle looks better than ever. Frank is a renowned American artisan who never skimps on quality and is constantly seeking out new ways to enhance his creations.


U.S. steerhides typically yield the best rawhide skin, which is why we only choose them. Our final  comes from Gold-rated tanneries that have been approved by the Leather Working Group (LWG), a global association that strives to guarantee environmentally responsible practises in the cowhide skin sector. Steer clear of goods originating from nations lacking environmental protection laws and with unregulated industries. 


The finest grades smell rich and sweet, while the lower grades are milder in scent. Indeed, cowhide skin tanned with vegetables often smells sweeter than cowhide skin tanned with chrome. The distinctive smell of WOMENS COWHIDE TOTE BAG-MILKY WAY skin is imparted by a mixture of chemicals, oils, perfumes, and waxes used by cowhide skin tanneries, not by the inherent qualities of a original hide, as many people may not be aware of. 


Analyse the grain thoroughly. Small flaws should not be interpreted as a sign of inferior quality because they could be veins, stretch marks, tiny insect bites, or other signs of "life" that validate the full-grain original hide. As an indication of a genuine full-grain hide, some calfskin enthusiasts actually favour and seek out calfskin scars. Warm and soft to the touch, quality hide has a very full grain; if it feels too regular or smooth, it's probably imitation or, at most, lower-quality split-grain hide.


The product's stitching tells you a lot about it. The stitching on a brown leather duffle bag product is usually the reason for failure. The stitching on even the finest and most resilient items determines how well they are made, and premium thread is the standard. Because they will run in very straight lines, machine and hand stitching may initially appear to be similar. However, machine stitching uses two separate threads that lock around each other, whereas hand stitching uses just one thread. We advise avoiding products that aren't well-stitched (have a loose thread line, tangled bottom threads, cotton thread used, etc.) or that don't use the finest nylon or polyester threads available. As German-spun marine-grade polyester thread has been shown to be the most resilient, weather- and UV-resistant thread available, we at Mission Mercantile exclusively use the best of it.


A calfskin product should have polished, smooth edges throughout. This can be accomplished in handcrafting by edge burnishing (with a tool or wheel made of wood, horsehair, etc.), edge dying, or even painting. You should also look at the edge colour; vegetable-tanned calfskin will not show a "wet blue" edge. If there is any blue to the edging (from a chrome-tanned "wet blue" hide), it indicates the calfskin was not properly finished and dyed throughout at the tannery. Sometimes these flaws are covered up with edge paint, so keep an eye out for indications of this. The best way to evaluate the finish's durability and smoothness is to run your thumbnail along the edges.

Water resistance

A small drop of water applied to the surface will help to confirm the quality, though not every retailer will be happy to let you try this. Since brown leather duffle bag is a natural material, liquids will naturally pass through its pores; however, if the calfskin is cheaply made, the chances are that the liquid will just run off.


The strongest grade of calfskin is full-grain, high-quality calfskin, but it can scratch easily. While most of our brown leather duffle bag is uncoated, it may occasionally be shielded from stains, small scratches, and other harm with a surface coating. Instead, you can use your finger to remove, blend, or minimise most scratches. The heat and oil from your body will work wonders, and you can even add a tiny bit of conditioner to help blend the scratches. To be safe, test the calfskin conditioner in a discrete area first to see if it darkens too much for your taste.


Recall those grades and the deceptive one that said "genuine". As long as a product is made of calfskin, even if it's not the best quality, the maker can call it genuine calfskin. They can also say that something is "made with full-grain calfskin," which may be accurate if full-grain brown leather duffle bag comprises very little of the item. Using full-grain hide skin is another way to cut corners because it hasn't undergone the correct finishing procedure, saving money. These blue edges are a dead giveaway that this shortcut produces subpar results every time.

Recall to search for the Country of Origin (CoO) label. Usually referred to as the "Made in" label, it should be fairly simple to locate, either inside the product or stitched onto it. The brand probably doesn't want you to know or, worse yet, be ashamed of it if you can't find it to save your life (or if it was on a little slip of paper that can be thrown away after purchase or "lost"). In our own store, which is situated in historic Leon, Mexico—founded in 1576 and known as the world's calfskin capital—we meticulously handcraft all of our calfskin goods.

Even though it can be confusing, if you use these pointers, you won't ever have to worry about getting subpar calfskin goods. Easy on yourself, please. Always buy from a company that offers a lifetime warranty and unwavering support through its Mythical Customer CareTM.

Difference between real cowhide skin and fake sheepskin

Avoid buying a PISTACHIO GREEN LEATHER TOTE BAG | STUDDED GREEN TOTE BAG if there is any doubt as to whether it is made of genuine hide skin or imitation hide skin. Good calfskin is a natural product; nothing manufactured will ever match its durability or quality. When shopping for calfskin, try to find "full grain" hide—that is, sheepskin whose surface hasn't been "coated" or altered to hide the hide's inherent markings, which are the animal's scars. When something is stamped "genuine calfskin" (as opposed to "full grain"), it usually refers to split hide from the back of the skins that has been painted to resemble full grain sheepskin and then stamped with an artificial grain pattern. 


A piece of leather's quality (and cost) are ultimately determined by two factors: the tanning process and the choice of hide.

The selection of hides pertains to the degree of cleanliness of the sheepskin in relation to the quantity of inherent markings on the hide. The cleanliness of the hide and the general health of the animal's skin are the main factors used to grade and price leathers.

The process of tanning animal skins to create sheepskin increases its durability and reduces its susceptibility to deterioration. Tannin, an acidic chemical compound obtained from the bark of oak or fir trees, was the method used for tanning traditionally. Mineral or vegetable tanning techniques are available. The skins undergo a 6- to 2-day period of unhairing, degreasing, desalting, and water immersion prior to tanning. The tanning process can also result in colouring.

At the end of the day, a high-quality sheepskin should feel inviting and naturally soft and supple to the touch. It shouldn't have any synthetic material or vinyl-like qualities. Steer clear of anything rubber or plastic-like as these "leathers" won't last as long or provide the same anti-aging effects.


Any linings inside green leather tote bag should be composed of a sturdy material and have a long-lasting feel to them. Anything that appears cheap or flimsy inside speaks volumes about the product's overall build quality and anticipated lifespan. Consider the big picture and keep in mind that you'll probably be tough on it.

Clean-finishing the edge surfaces of sheepskin goods is one of the most time-consuming processes. The edges of high-quality bags are typically hand-polished, not left unfinished. It's one way a craftsman can demonstrate the care and attention that goes into his creation.


A bag's zippers are a crucial part that should never be skimped on. If a zipper breaks, a bag may not be useful anymore. When choosing a high-quality zip, brass is typically plated in either nickel or copper. High-quality zippers also have a brass zipper slider (made of brass, not some lesser metal) and soft teeth. You want to look for a very sturdy zipper-tape fabric because most zippers break when the cloth around the teeth has worn through. Make sure the zipper glides smoothly and doesn't create extra friction by giving it a few trial runs. Zippers should also be properly positioned within the bag and function smoothly. Finally, since you will most likely eventually overstuff the bag, the weight and size of the zipper should match the size of the bag.

Hardware is arguably the second most common source of repair problems, after zippers. Solid brass should also be used to make hardware like d-rings, buckles, and rivets, though copper, bronze, nickel silver, and plated zinc can also be utilised. The hardware should have a clean finish with no cast lines, and their size and strength should seem suitable for the bag's weight and maximum capacity. Every piece of hardware needs to be fastened firmly, and additional stitching needs to be added to all stress points. Back-washers are crucial if rivets are used in order to stop pull-through. The tongue of a buckle should be heavy enough to prevent bending and breaking. To ensure that the hardware is made to last, don't be afraid to give it a good, hard test pull.


Your first point of contact with the bag will be the handle(s); they should be made of multiple layers of stacked sheepskin and feel sturdy and comfortable in the hand; they shouldn't feel cheap or "hollow." Additionally, carry handles shouldn't be so long that the bag wobbles while being carried; this will put more strain on the bag's main components.

It's also crucial to consider how the handles and carrying straps are fastened to the bag. If stitched, an additional layer of tack stitching and extra support should be added behind the point of contact to prevent pull-through where the handle meets the bag.


Using a conditioner will help a bag last longer by preventing the sheepskin from drying out. Never allow a bag to dry in the dark after it has gotten wet. It is possible for mould to grow and lead to weakness. Before storing sheepskin items, let them air dry. Regular application of conditioner will nourish the sheepskin and prevent drying out of the stitch areas. 

Never place sheepskin bags inside a plastic bag that is tightly sealed. Every container needs to have ventilation. Avoid dragging sheepskin bags across rough surfaces or onto damp floors. Unless a bag has only one handle, always pick it up using both. When travelling, make sure that any liquid-filled containers are in a second container to prevent spills into the bag.

Respecting a high-quality purchase, such as a handmade Frank Clegg , will probably pay off in the form of many, many years of happiness.



Genuine leather, such as top-grain or full-grain sheepskin, is created from genuine animal hides. Genuine leather is of a lower quality and frequently contains very little real leather.



The highest grades of leather are regarded as full grain and top grain sheepskin. As previously mentioned, you can determine these grades of leather by looking at how the leather feels, looks, and smells.


Indeed, genuine sheepskin can be scratched. But generally speaking, it won't scratch as easily as bonded or faux leather.

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