Expertise - Recognize a saddle stitch hand stitch, a machine seam

Point Sellier - Sewing machine the big confusion

Point Sellier - Sewing machine the big confusion


Malle2luxe, defends French traditions and know-how.



Today we are going to share with you our experience and our knowledge on the "saddle stitch" this traditional sewing without machine, sewn by hand.



We read a lot of erroneous things about him:



Forums, blogs, books, youtube videos ... we read a little anything. And to make matters worse, many well-known experts and traders maintain some confusion perpetuating the legend of hand-stitching saddle stitching.



For example, how many times have you read and heard that a Hermes bag is entirely sewn by hand.



Urban myth and revelation about machine sewing versus hand sewing, and how to recognize saddle stitching?



What are the technical differences between hand sewing and machine sewing?

point sellier French technical differences machin sewing


It is important to understand what are the technical differences and the differences in use.



Hand stitching is not a whimsical choice or a whim. Traditionally it responds to a desire for strength, the leather will yield before sewing. The saddle stitch is an indestructible seam.



This sewing was conceived more than a century ago by saddlers, harnessers, saddlers to make hitch parts for the work of horses (saddle, arnach, equestrian, horse-drawn carriages ...) and parts leather heavily used to wear (handles, belts ...), or luxury leather goods.



The machine seam, more economical because faster to perform is not strong torsion or traction.



These diagrams will help you understand.

the machine seam consists of two separate threads, the one remaining on the top leather trunk

The saddle stitch (or laced point) is made with a thread and two needles. The thread then passes from above (face) to bottom (back) alternately to cross in the material forming a node at each point. It's the strongest seam.



On the other hand, the machine seam consists of two separate threads, the one remaining on the top, the other on the underside intersecting at mid material. It can therefore be of different color. The top yarn holds the bottom yarn, one holding the other.



This means that if the seam wears or cuts at one point the entire seam breaks, unlike the saddle stitch.

What type of seam?


So that there is no confusion. Here are the main seams that exist.

Leather sewing machine

Leather sewing machine Louis Vuitton trunk


A sewing called "machine" is not a sewing made by an automaton.



It is a machinist (operator) who is behind the machine, its function requires a real and valuable know-how . Each brand of leather goods trains its staff to respect the know-how and tradition of the house.



Today 99.99% of seams of the bags are machine-made, even among the big French luxury houses.

There are 2 types of needles most used old trunk Vuitton bag

For example at Louis Vuitton apart from the Steamer Bag which has some seams hands, all other bags are made by machine. Same thing at Moynat , Chanel, Dior, Goyard .



As for Hermes except a few bags like Kelly and Birkin where only 10 to 15% of seams are handmade, all seams are made by machine, even on models kin crocodile or exotic leather .



There are 2 types of needles most used

There are 2 types of needles most used

Losangique (LR) : Allows you to make inclined decorative stitching reminiscent of saddle stitch. Used for leather goods at Hermes.



Round (R) : Pointed conical tip

The normal round tip is the standard shape Allows sewing leather and fabric like joining a leather with a fabric lining. The LR needle could cut the weft of the fabric while the round needle slips between the fibers of the fabric without the risk of tearing. Used for leather goods at Vuitton.


Hand Leather Stitching

Hand Leather Stitching trunk Louis Vuitton hermes

The saddle stitch hand stitch (and saddle stitch) must be strong, flexible, waterproof and pretty because it is a decorative element in itself. The sewing is done by hand without mechanized means.

The tools are rudimentary and require perfect control:


  • Sewing forceps (to hold the room and leave your hands free)
Hand Leather Stitching hermes old French
  • A roulette or claw to hit (to mark the location of each point)
  • An awl (tool for perforating the leather)
  • A thread (linen)
  • beeswax
  • Two needles

The particularity of the saddle stitch is to sew with a thread and two needles. In order to use both hands holding both needles and its awl to pierce the leather, the piece is held in a wooden sewing pliers, wedged between the legs.


To respect the rules of the art, the sewing must be done with a certain method. And each gesture to its importance and meaning. It goes from the way of holding the needle, to the inclination of the arm when one pierces the leather with the awl ... In fact, it is necessary that the gesture becomes automatic, fluid and for that from the beginning, it does not must not question the technique to yield to ease. It comes from the know-how of the saddler who manufactures riding articles where the seams are very stressed and must be very resistant and of a high quality.


The knotted saddle stitch is used on Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat trunk handles as well as for the binding of leather pieces on rigid luggage (suitcase and trunk) in cowhide tanned vegetable leather, crocodile, pork.


Recognize a stitch hand stitch knotted stitch machine

Recognize a stitch hand stitch knotted stitch machine

There are several special cases, so we will deal with the most common (90% of the market)


It is very simple and very quick to recognize a hand stitch "saddle stitch knotted" of a machine seam.


The main aesthetic differences to recognize are:

  • on the back , which is less "beautiful" on a machine seam.
  • the regularity of the machine against the charm of a product made by hand.
  • the direction of inclination of the thread on the face and the reverse.
    • On the machine seam side: the inclination goes upwards
    • On the hand seam side: the incline is down


Decoding seams, Hermes Birkin bag:

Decoding seams, Hermes Birkin bag for sale

Do not confuse saddle stitching

Do not confuse saddle stitching bag hermes and trunk Louis Vuitton

Finally, to finish, do not confuse a saddle stitch with a lacing.



Many craftsmen and even luggage restorers make seams that they claim "saddle stitch" but which are obviously not. These points are reserved for the neophyte.



Here are some examples:



A: Rear point

B: Double point before

C: Unnamed



These seams are not seams, at best hand-made lacings made outside the rules of the art and without comparison with the saddle stitch. No holding in time.



trunk and suitecase Louis Vuitton old French

Malle2luxe perpetuates the manufacture of 100% hand-stitched leather items, saddle stitch.



To sew a piece of leather that is not very stressed and the seams not seen, there is no point in sewing a hand.



The hand seam is exposed.


This article is not intended to denigrate a sewing rather than another, but to inform, so that the knowledge does not get lost.

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