How To Upgrade A Folio

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Recently a customer asked me if it would be possible to attach a handle to one of his two folios.  Specifically the Sedgwick leather one.  My response was that it could be done and that I would prefer not to.  Mainly because I didn’t want to disturb the lovely goat kid suede lining.  It would have meant either stitching or riveting a handle onto the top of the front flap.  So I asked him to leave it with me to think about and the photographs below show the results.

The first thought was to use a strap system to attach the handle as a temporary fixture.  The issue then was to make the handle secure without causing damage to the folio.  It would not be enough to make two straps to vertically wrap around the folio and then attach a handle on top joining the two vertical straps horizontally.  There would be a need for horizontal straps going around the folio near the base to hold the vertical straps in line.  Finally I wanted the weight of the folio to be distributed over more than one area.  If I didn’t incorporate the vertical and horizontal base straps then the weight of the whole folio would have been on the front flap of the folio.  Both the handle would have not sat flush with the top of the folio and the upper corners of the front flap would have become raised over time.  

The design I ended up with (below) means that the weight is distributed between the top horizontal strap, the base horizontal strap and the vertical straps.  This makes it less likely for any part of the folio to bend out of shape.  It also means that it is less likely for the straps to cause damage to the surface of the leather over time.  The straps remain firmly in place, the handle sits flush with the top of the folio and the whole thing is quite secure.  An added bonus is that my customer can use the same set of straps on both of his folios which he is rather pleased about!  

Looking at the straps it may seem to the reader that there’s hardly any stitching and can’t have taken long.  Please allow me to inform you that straps and belts also take a lot of time and effort to make.  In fact I would say that leather straps and belts are a separate product in themselves.  All of the edges have to be finished to make them look neat and to prevent them from damage from moisture and abrasion.  The process of burnishing the edges to make them smooth is both physically demanding as well as time consuming.  Especially when done completely by hand.  In retrospect I will be offering the option to attach a permanent handle during the making process although the  removable strapped on handle option may be appealing to some.  

The straps completely change the appearance of the folio making it look a bit more like a satchel.  I am working on a satchel or briefcase design and for those wanting more carrying capacity that would be more suitable.  One thing that will remain is simplicity of design.  When making everything by hand one must keep the production time to a minimum while using the quality and characteristics of the materials to attract the senses.