Leather Types

There are many different types of leather, all created for different purposes and aesthetic reasons.

Full grain leather is the sturdiest and one of the more expensive kinds of leather. The smooth surface layer of the leather has not been weakened through buffing or sanding. This kind of leather shows natural flaws and textures within a hide such as scars, bug bites and brands. Most of the leather used at Morrigan Wynter is full grain, infact many of our pieces use these distinctive marks as proud embellishments.

Brand marks in a tooled piece of full grain, vegetable tan leather

Full grain leather is available in thickness from 1mm to 10mm, full grain leather is thinned by removing the less densely packed cells on the underside of the hide, which is why it maintains its strength and integrity on the surface level.

Top grain leather is leather that has been sanded or buffed to a consistent finish on the surface of the leather. It may be patterned or stamped to replicate more exotic textures. While still a high quality leather, it is not as durable as a full grain leather. Top grain is largely used within the fashion industry. I use top grain sheep skin leathers to make gussets and small highly flexible items.

The use of “Genuine Leather” can be misleading. As a cut of leather Genuine leather is made from any layer of a hide and buffed and sanded to a consistent finish. Genuine leather is also a term used to distinguish leather made from animal hides as opposed to synthetic or vegan leathers. At Morrigan Wynter “Genuine Leather” refers to animal hide leathers, not leather that has been altered through buffing and sanding.

Split leather also known as Suede is made from the lower levels of the hide and requires specialty care.

Bonded leather is made from scraps and bonded with other products. It may have a leather content as low as 10% or as high as 90%. It is usually used as a filler.