What Is Suede Leather?
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What Is Suede Leather?

Suede leather is a different kind of leather made from the middle layers of the hide, which then split into several small, thin layers. It is velvety-soft to the touch, textured feel, unique visual appearance, dyed in different colors, and durable. 

The layer from which suede leather is made is often called the flesh side or underside of the hide. It is widely used in jackets, gloves, shoes, and upholstery.

History of Suede leather

The term Suede is derived from 1859 when fine ladies' leather gloves were used to produce in Sweden. Those gloves were comfortable, luxurious, soft, and have a raised fiber nap.

The French called them “Gants de Suede,” which means “gloves of Sweden” in English. Due to the global popularity of this Swedish material among the nobility, and soft leather with a nap of raised fibers was specified as “Suede.”  

For a number of decades, Suede production remained limited to gloves. But with the passage of time, Suede production was prolonged into shoes, jackets, bags, and other products we know of today.

What makes Suede different?

The notable difference you will see is the surface, which is almost fuzzy and made up of small, raised leather fibers via the sanding process. These fibers are compacted together to make the surface feel smooth and soft. The sanding process can be applied to either one or both sides of the leather and is referred to as “double-sided suede” or “single-sided” suede.

Suede leather is built from the skin of lamb, deer, goat, and calf. Sometimes, the splits from cowhide are also used to make suede leather. 

It is usually thin and used in delicate textile applications because of its subtle allure.

This leather doesn’t have the original protective layer the animals naturally have, which makes the leather dirty and liquid stains easily. 

Professional cleaning is required to keep this leather in good condition. Machine washing the products made from suede can ruin them.

What is embossed Suede Leather?

A surface pattern applied or embossed on the leather for design preferences and aesthetics is called an embossed Suede leather. Usually, stimulated grain, geometric, or a random pattern is applied on the surface in a wide range of colors. The surface will remain velvety-soft on the touch. 

Is Suede leather water-resistant?

Suede leather is not water-resistant, but it does not lead to permanent damage once wet. The raised fibers can attract water easily and turn the color to dark once wet.

When the leather gets dried, it will return to its original color and state.

Sometimes, particular finishes can be applied on the surface to make Suede water-resistant. However, covering the desirable surface eliminates the feel that comes from the raised fibers and makes it more difficult to condition.

Does Suede leather scratch easily?

Yes, it scratches easily because it is natural leather, and the scratches will leave marks on the surface. But you can make the scratch less visible by brushing the fibers in a way that masks the scratches.

Rub your finger over the small scratches to buff them out. If the scratch is deeper, apply a leather conditioner to the scratch and surrounding area, then buff it out after a short while.

If the scratch is very deep, try a leather filler kit with color matching options. Pick a close visual look at the existing leather and follow the instructions mentioned on the kit.

Is Suede leather expensive?

Not really. It is a bit less expensive than high-quality vegetable tanned leather made from cowhide. 

Care and maintenance of Suede leather

Since suede leather is comprised of natural fibers, and if you keep its surface clean and conditioned, it will stay strong and look great.

Here are some tips for suede care and maintenance.

How to clean Suede leather?

Use a moist microfiber towel to clean the surface by rubbing it over the surface. Do this process in straight motions in changing directions. In this way, the raised fibers will help move dirt and debris away. Make sure not to grind deeper into the fibers.

If the leather has difficult stains, use a dedicated leather cleaner that is gentle enough to clean without damaging the leather.

How to condition Suede leather?

If there are no finishes applied on the surface of Suede leather, its fibers dry out quickly. So, it is imperative to frequently condition unfinished suede leather.

To condition, apply a wax, cream, or oil, onto the surface using an applicator, soft cloth, or brush and wait till the leather absorbs it in. 

The leather will become more flexible, supple, feels better in hand, flexible, and resistant to scratches when conditioned.

How to fix tears in Suede leather?

You can fix tears in suede leather by sewing. But it will never look as same and smooth as the original piece. Use a fine, strong thread to sew small holes, ripped or torn areas. You can also use leather glue for small tears to join two torn areas. Make sure to pick the color of glue near the original leather color to make it less noticeable. You can also use Acrylic paint onto a leather product to cover the glue. 

How to store Suede leather?

Store the products made from suede leather in a cool, dry, dust-free location. Allow the air to pass so that the natural fibers have some space to “breathe.”

Avoiding keeping it in a sealed environment will deteriorate the leather and mold it with the increased humidity. If suede shoes or boots are wet, ensure they have had ample time to fully dry out before storing. 

You can store them in a dressing room or closet with average livable temperature, humidity level, and frequent airflow. Some leather goods come with storage duffle bags. They’re usually a breathable fabric that helps keep cut off

Coin purses in the Middle Ages – Medieval money sack

During the early Middle Ages, coin purses were unisex- used by both men and women. In the 13th century, a medieval money sack was first used by the iceman Otzi. They were made with round pieces of recycled leather or heavy fabric and a drawstring at the top to seal the purse tight - often richly encrusted to emphasize the owners' social status.

You can find the historical evidence of medieval coin bags in the manuscript "Book of Hours" from Poitiers, 1415, still kept in The Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

Medieval coin bags had convenient leather closing at the front with a flap or leather thong to keep coins safe and quick mounting to belts.

Coin purses during the Renaissance (16th and 17th centuries)

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Coin purse fashion changed significantly during the Renaissance era. During that time, women started wearing wide dresses that had a lot of fabric so that they couldn't wear their purses on the outside of their clothing. They wore coin pouches hanging on the inhttp://www.larsdatter.com/pouches.htmside of their attire.

Men's fashion also changed with the invention of pockets around 1670. They no longer had to carry the small pouch strapped to a girdle as they evolved to become wallets

However, some men and women who couldn't afford the fashion still carry wallets and coin purses to hold their money and coins. 

Coin purses during the industrial revolution – Relicules, Miser purse, Tam’O Shanter coin purse

The discovery of the ancient city of Pompeii in the 18th century led to the evolution of fashion- sleek and slender designs. Women were wearing more slim dresses and the coin purses had to be re-invented. Reticules were introduced during this time and were more slender purses with a wrist strap. Those women's leather coin purses were made of leather, suede, or attractive hinged shells. Many had vibrant mother-of-pearl type finishes and hand-painted with lovely florals or engraved with sentimental wishes like "My heart is Yours." These coin purses were used as premium souvenirs throughout the Victorian era to carry English gold coins.

The miser purse (stocking purse) also came into fashion by 1800. It was knit, crocheted, or netted with silk thread and decorated with fringe, tassels, and beads and was worn over the belt for safer traveling. 

The opening of the miser is in the middle of two larger sections of the purse; two metal rings would push down on each of the sides to secure the purse after coins were deposited. Miser bags were also designed with one round end and one square end to help the owner identify what would be carried on each side.

The Tam O' Shanter coin purse was a novelty of the early 1900s. It had a rounded and beaded (knit into a star or spiral pattern) bottom section attached to a round metal top. The top was typically made of sterling or nickel silver over brass with repousse/embossed designs of coins, portraits, and Art Nouveau florals.

Modern day coin purses

During the Twentieth Century, as new technologies came along, the designs of coin purses evolved significantly to meet the needs of modern-day usage. Once the coin purse (leather pouch) that was used primarily for the carrying of coins are now used to carry cards and other essentials - they contain a coin pouch inside.  Many of the designs we see today in women's leather purses are handbags, satchels, and clutch. Today, security is an essential feature of a purse, and therefore contemporary purses have double fastening mechanisms and hardware, such as zippers, a popper, and a clasp. In contrast, men's coin pouches have evolved into smart leather coin wallets with coin pouches and RFID protectionor leather coin case with a coin sorter

1. Zip around wallet

A zip-around wallet is the best small leather coin purse for women travellers. This subtle zip-around wallet is the unsung hero that will keep your cards, photos, cash, and bills at hand. It has a separate small zip pocket at the back to stow your coins. You can easily glide this into your luggage or big bags and quickly access it - its vibrant red or green colour will pop up whenever you unzip your bag.

2. Minimalist coin pouch trifold wallet

The simple and sleek leather trifold wallet with a coin pocketis a perfect everyday carry accessory that has plenty of space to hold your cards, bills, or receipts. It has an interior snap-button coin slot to stow your coins safely and securely without affecting the wallet's longevity. Moreover, it features an elegant, polished appearance and slim profile that will keep the wallet compact and light even after stowing your essentials.           

3. Coin purse wallet with coin sorter

A leather coin sorter wallet can hold all your change and serve it on cue with metal rods. You can just slide, sort, and serve. This handy coin holder wallet can stow your coins, including quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies, and is small enough to fit in the palm and can be carried anywhere in your pocket or purse. Whether you are a commuter, server, or man on the move, you need this contemporary change sorter coin purse to give the change in a Jiff. It will also be an indispensable companion in your car's console.

How to make a leather coin purse?

Apart from all these designer wallets, you can also DIY a leather coin purse as per your choice. With proper tools and creativity, you can make your own leather coin pouch. Here is the step-by-step guide in the picture.

This leather coin purse requires some simple crafting and sewing skills to seam up the sides and a leather chisel tool to punch the stitching holes for sewing.

Step 1: 

Make a leather coin pouch template on a card and write down the back, front, and flap on each side.

Step 2:

Trace out the template on the leather and cut it out using the paper cutter.

Step 3:

Now mark each side on the leather and fold accordingly by using the leather glue to the front and back side stick properly.

Step 4:

Now you can either put double cap rivets on the sides or hand stitch the sides (use Leather Chisel tool to punch the stitching holes for sewing.)

Step 5:

Cut the flap edges as round and punch the button in the centerline to add a button closure.

Step 6:

Clasp the button, and you are done.

Parting thoughts

Nowadays, we carry less cash and more cards but we still need coins. A coin wallet organizes your cards, grocery bill receipts, business cards, and change in a compact format, despite its versatility.

For short trips, casual commutes, or during shopping, coin purses can be handy. You can quickly bring out the coin purse when it is time to dispense change at the counter or feeding the meter.

With leather coin wallets and purses, there will be no more overflowing of coins.