If you’ve browsed through any handmade leather purse or tote, you’ve probably noticed that not all interiors are the same. Some have lining and others don’t. To line or not to line is really a matter of preference. There is a beauty in seeing the natural leather interior, but you can’t underestimate the power of functionality from lining pockets.
Lining handmade leather bags will take the form of either covering the natural leather with another leather or fabric or a duplicate bag made of fabric or thin leather that is loosely set into the bag.
The former is usually glued to the leather pieces before those pieces are sewn together.
The latter is a completely separate bag made from a light material. It called a “drop in” lining because that is how it is attached. It is dropped into the bag and stitched in usually around the top edge. Drop-in linings can be more complicated with multiple pockets, some zippered, and compartments.
Natural finish interiors can be left untouched. It looks the same as when the leather was purchased from the supplier. Or it can have a smooth finish that looks similar to (but not exactly) like the exterior leather.
There is no doubt that bags with lining are more time-consuming to plan and make. Every pocket has to be planned, designed and structured. It adds another complex layer to building the bag. On the other hand, linings can hide mistakes and flaws, where a natural finish cannot.
To line or not line is not a question of superior workmanship. It’s all about a person’s preference and the bag’s purpose. Sometimes those pockets and compartments have a high priority but other times, open roominess is more important.