The Making Of: The Cambridge Satchel

The Making Of: The Cambridge Satchel

The Making Of: The Cambridge Satchel

23rd March 2020


We’re leather fanatics. And that should come as little surprise – there are too many iconic makers and products to count.

Ever wondered, like us, how they’re made? Sometimes a peek behind the curtain makes us appreciate the things we love even more.

Take the Cambridge Satchel, for example – a lithe leather accompaniment in your style arsenal. We’ve been finding out all about the manufacturing process, seeing how it travels from the drawing board to you via the workshop floor…


Step 1 – Cutting and sizing

Work starts from the small, compact designs that have made Cambridge Satchels a wunderkind style item around the world. Each bag – unless stated otherwise – is cut from 100% real leather. It’s sustainable too. Base materials include croc-effect, printed, grain, saffiano and smooth leather.

Warehouse staff select the material and then measure, trim and lay down each element of the bag – from handle to flap and buckle – side by side. Metal stencils keep the dimensions in check with what will become the bag’s skeletal frame.


Step 2 – Prepping and embossing

A flawless, glossy finish is a guaranteed head-turner. That’s why Cambridge Satchels are treated with wax before they’re sent for stitching, while the leather straps are filed to the perfect proportions.

Holes are punched in all the right places, and then it’s time for an extra dose of class. The company became known for their bicycle logo, and it’s at this stage when it’s added to the bag, along with any personalised embossment chosen by you.


Step 3 – Stitching and sewing

At last, the really fine work can begin. The bag is taken to a holding template, then threaded to life by an industrial machine. Its movements are precise and very, very fast. You wouldn’t want to let your hand slip even for a second, let’s put it that way…

Afterwards, the bag receives metallic clasps made by hand. Craftspeople press sheet brass to fashion the roller and prong for the adjustable strap. Both buckles are branded too, with a special press of their own.


Step 4 – Ready for market!

The Cambridge Satchel is almost there. Some last touches of expertise are applied, such as weaving the strap through the buckle, giving it a final clean, and applying a gold finish to any lettering.

Finally, the string is tied on the dust bag that’ll keep it safe for delivery – and for your use later when it comes to storing the satchel away. It gets a box and a little card from the company too. What more could you ask for? Apart from a second Cambridge Satchel of course?

These bags are based on a super traditional style. They actually have roots in schoolbag designs, after founder Julie Deane wanted to create a satchel for her children and help pay for their tuition in the process.


Discover more fresh and legendary leather brands in our Choose Real Leather newsletter, which you can subscribe to on our homepage. It’s visionaries like Julie and her team that make leather still so exciting in 2020 – and far beyond.


Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash