MES leather2


Over the past few months I’ve got to know Jonatan Staniec, a leather worker who produces his own, hand-sewn leather goods from a studio in London under the brand M.E.S.

Hand sewing is not that hard to do (despite my attempts to prove the contrary). It is not that slow either – the slow bit is hand inking the edges of a leather piece, if you want to finish it that way. But it is increasingly rare, because sewing by machine is that much quicker, and because a machine is relatively cheap. There are only a handful of places in the UK still doing hand-sewn leather work at scale, of which three are in London (Alfred Dunhill, Robert Simpson and Asprey).

But hand sewing is always stronger, because the thread is looped in and out of both sides of the hide. Having a sole operator like Jon on your doorstep to work with is therefore a rarity and a pleasure.

hand sewn leather goods


Most of the items Jon makes are for the workwear market. His pieces are stocked in a few places in Japan and Sweden, as well as Labour & Wait in London. Stylistically this means they tend not to have inked edges, are made of cowhide rather than calf, and use a relatively thick thread.

I really liked Jon’s designs, however, and the undyed veg-tanned leather he normally works in. This starts as a pale cream colour, and then darkens over weeks into a deep tan. The ageing is unique and depends on how the piece is used and stored.

hand sewn case

MES leather hand rolling
hand sewn leather


So we worked on tweaking one of his designs – an iPad case made of a single piece of leather – into something a little smarter. This involved a slightly thinner and stiffer piece of leather, and a thinner thread. You can see the resulting case being made in the images here.

First, a line is scored down the edge of the leather, to mark the line of stitching. Next, a wheel is rolled down that line, marking the points where the stitches will go. An awl is used to punch holes in the leather. And finally, the two sides of the case are lightly glued together before being sewn, with two needles weaving in and out. The edge is finished with a light wax before being vigorously polished to heat it up and create a seal. A little mink oil is also rubbed into the leather, to feed it and lend it some protection.

MES leather jon staniec


The result is an extremely versatile piece, just the right size to carry wallet, phone, keys, pen and a slim notepad. That’s what I need most of time when I leave the office and travel around town, and the case has served extremely well in the two weeks I have been using it. I will post pictures of it in use at some point in the next couple of weeks.

Jon’s products are available through his website, M.E.S Leather, and the case costs £130 (not including initialisation). If you request one that is a little smarter, like mine, Jon will be happy to oblige. He is also happy to take on bespoke projects and consider other leathers.

MES leather case

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Bradley

Simon
Look so forward to seeing your images of the iPad case in use.
You may recall many, many months ago i enquired about your Dunhill Box or Pochette and, having read about MES i hit on the idea of having one made for me as the Dunhill one’s are no longer available as you know.
Could i please trouble you for the dimensions of yours (height and length and thickness) and any feedback about the item (good or bad) so that i could incorporate those in to the design of mine?
Thanking you in advance
Bradley

Christoph

Out of interest I started my own fountain pen case project last summer and stumbled upon http://www.ianatkinson.net/leather/ on Youtube. If you have the time to wait you actually don’t need to spend much money, too. Plus: You support a really gifted and passionate guy.

Anonymous

Mans got a serious beard.

nick inkster

I was fortunate enough to have a private tour of the Aston Martin factory recently. Watching a small group of ladies hand stitching the various cuts of leather to make seat covers, dashboard covering etc was fascinating.

Nim

Having a lawyers case hand made by Simon baker, the casemaker, from scotland. One of 2-3 remaining British craftsmen who really know their leather. Really excited.

Do a review on him if you can Simon think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with his quality.

Bradley

Hi Simon
Am i right in thinking you suggested the size of your iPad case? If so, i was enquiring about the size of your Dunhill pochette which looks smaller and wider to me and, which is what i would like to replicate.
Thanks

Mark G

Just bought the Admiral briefcase from his website and I am very pleased with his work.