I think when I tell people what I do I should say “leatherworker/educator” since I spend a fair portion of my work time helping people understand what vegetable tanned leather is, what to expect from it, and why it’s so far superior to the chemically treated chromium tanned leather that is the alternative.
One of my favorite aspects of it is that it softens up with use. The two pictures above are my bag – the Alabama Travel Bag – which was modeled after my favorite vintage stewardess bag. The top image is the bag when I first made it. It was boxy and looked a heck of a lot like luggage. My husband even tried to pack our cat (and yes, she fit).
The lower photo is my bag today – just about a year later – it has that soft, old glove feeling, and I use it a lot more like a tote. My husband zips up the zipper, I always leave it open so I can easily access all my stuff. It doubles ad a diaper bag, too, with the help of a wet bag.
I think it looks better all broken in, and it started to happen pretty fast. Within the first few days of using it as a purse it started to fold in at the top like a tote. I haven’t done anything to it to encourage the softening process, which is what I recommend. Just use and love your handmade leather goods. I’m sure you’ll get tons of compliments on them, just as I do!