Every product is saddle stitched by hand. I’m not against automation especially when it gets the job done efficiently, but I hand sew because a hand sewn saddle stitched piece is much more durable than a machine sewn lockstitch. Done right, a saddle stitched item can outlast its owner.
What is saddle stitching?
Saddle stitching is a sewing method; using 2 needles and 2 lines of thread to run a concurrent stitching line into the leather (it’s a little hard to explain, but there’s a picture later that should clear it up!) Each run requires anywhere upwards of 4 times the length of the stitch due to the greater distance of thread required.
What does this mean?
Let’s compare a lock stitch with a saddle stitch:
From the diagram you can see that once any link is broken in a lockstitch, the thread unravels on both sides for several stitches. The thread on both sides becomes loose as a result, and repairing the thread necessitates a removal of the entire line of thread. However, consider the saddle stitch. The broken thread loosens only on one side, and the material is still held together by the other thread. Repairing a broken saddle stitch merely starting a new stitch from the broken area, and stitching only as far as necessary to cover the gap.
An Aesthetic Choice
A telltale sign of the hand sewn saddle stitching is the subtle zig zag pattern formed by the thread on the topside of the leather. I love the process of making the product as much as the final product itself, so the small details matter a lot to me. At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like seeing a beautifully formed line of stitching balancing form and function perfectly.
Still, you don’t have to take my word for it. But I think there’s something to be said when Hermes does it too: