Spotting Quality Leather
More and more often you are seeing leather accessories- either to wear them or carry them. How can you tell if its a well crafted fine leather piece and not a wanna be? Lucky for you, it's actually fairly easy.
"Lock" stitching and "hand" stitching. Lock is done with a machine where the needle penetrates the leather, makes a hole, and moves on repeatedly. The problem with this? When a stitch breaks, the whole piece is going to come undone. We have all had this happen, remember how pissed you were? Hand stitching is done with two large needles, every stitch is basically its own entity. If one stitch breaks, it isn't connected to all the others. In the process, both needles go into the hole which makes an individual knot each time, ensuring it wont be a problem if one fails. This hand stitched leather usually looks like a thick top stitch.
2. Look, Feel, Bend
Look closely at it, make sure it doesn't seem like vinyl (sometimes you can smell it) or that the color hasn't been painted on. If no one is watching you, pull it and bend it- it shouldn't have any tearing or cracking. Also, notice the weight of it. Leather is very heavy, cheap leather is very lightweight.
My older Grand Cherokee has "leather" seats, and has cracks in the driver seat just like this. That's because its a vinyl leather, not genuine leather- same thing happens with furniture, satchels, wallets or purses over time.
3. Burnished Edging
The edges needs to be fused together, the layers of leather all come together at the edges where moisture can seep in- it is crucial for the edges to have some sort of barrier for this. Burnishing and polishing should be visible. This is actually difficult to do and experienced craftsmen are the ones behind it. A cheap knock off can't recreate anything like this, they might paint the edges to look like its been done...just take a close look or give the salesperson a test (if they don't know, I would say in general you might not want to work with him/her).
Experienced leather shoppers can also look at the grain of the leather and the waxed linen threading. These are a little more difficult to decipher until you have seen it many times. For now, those top three are sure ways to help you next time you buy leather goods!