As seen on Ch 4's "I Made This" and BBC's "Countryfile".
Workshops sell out fast so please book early. See our website for workshop space availability and then contact us to book your place.
This course will introduce students to the basic skills used in leather work. Students with little or no experience will be taught basic skills by making two small items in leather. The projects will cover skills such as cutting and stitching leather.
The course is designed to equip you with the basic skills necessary for you to continue developing the craft of leather work. The course will be taught using a hands on approach with advice and guidance throughout using a variety of teaching methods including demonstration, instructions and one-to-one, hands on guidance. You will be guided through the techniques used in making two simple projects, a belt and a small leather pouch that will be yours to keep.
Students will gain the following skills:
- Learn about different types of leathers and what uses they can be put to.
- Learn how to cut simple patterns.
- Learn about the basic hand tools used in leather work and what jobs they are used for (e.g. Setting rivets and press studs, hole punching, edge finishing, strap cutting.)
- Learn how to fit a buckle.
- Learn to hand stitch leather with linen thread and 2 needles
- Learn how to personalise or pattern leather by stamping
- Learn simple techniques used in leather work.
Maximum of 3 students.
Please contact via the form above.
If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
Materials are provided within reasonable use limits. Tools are available for students to borrow on the course or feel free to bring your own.
Tea and coffee are provided but meals are not.
Please note that disabled access is limited at my Welsh Mill workshop. If you have trouble with manual dexterity/arthiritis in your hands please be aware that stitching leather can be quite demanding on hands and wrists... if in any doubt please contact me as I want you to get the most out of the course.
Bill Blaikie at Bespoke Leather
The Welsh Mill Park Hill Drive Frome Somerset BA11 2LE
Our leather craft course with the magnificent Bill was absolutely brilliant. In no time at all, we had skills to saddle stitch and make a product on the first day. The second day, albeit somewhat ambitious on my part, was even better. With his help, Bill taught me how to expertly make a design for a product I'd seen on the internet. He then coached me into making it, and we even stayed later than planned to finish it the same day. I am so proud of my creation. Bill has a modest workshop and a vast array of specialist tools. However, this is nothing in comparison with his incredible knowledge and huge quantities of tea and biscuits. I'm now tooled up and ready to make some of my own creations, and will be considering an advanced session with Bill in the future. A highly recommended course and worth every penny.
I can happily report that I too had an excellent two days undertaking one of Bill’s courses. He is a highly knowledgeable, experienced and effective teacher; has an easygoing manner and a great (and mischievous) sense of humour! As many others have reported, it is amazing the skills one can acquire over the course of a weekend when it is led by someone as enthusiastic and energetic as Bill. If, like me, you have always harboured a secret ambition to learn how to saddle-stitch leather and to have a go at making something from it then I unreservedly recommend you attend one of his courses.
An excellent course for anyone interested in learning how to work with leather. Bill is really experienced and has a wealth of knowledge which he generously shares.
Each step of the process is explained and instils the order in which work should be carried out.
I came away from the course with finished items that I am proud of and with a desire to learn more.
Thank you Bill!
If anybody is interested in learning leatherwork they would have to go a long way to find a better man than Bill to teach them.
Bill has a wealth of experience all of which he is happy to share with good humour and patience. I was really surprised how easy Bill made it for a man who had never sewn a button on to create a passable saddle stitch!
Just an amazing weekend. Bill is a wonderful teacher, informative, intuitive and extraordinarily talented. The weekend was a wonderful mix of lighthearted easygoing fun with lots of information and skill sharing from Bill. He was very generous with his equipment and time. We worked hard and I know he certainly did but it was immense fun. I would certainly recommend this course as, even though I knew absolutely nothing about leather craft, Bill helped us all to craft amazing works. I think this is a testament to a great teacher. Thank you Bill.
Without doubt the best course I've been on. I have a little knowledge of leatherwork mainly obtained from books and the internet. I was very quickly shown that there is no substitute for an experienced teacher who has made and seen every mistake and can save you years of frustration by passing on his techniques and tips. Even when I messed up Bill managed to help me get back on track. I made two items I am really proud of and am determined to keep up my studies. An outstanding teacher, great venue and brilliant fun. Highly recommended whether just want a fun weekend or are looking to develop an indepth study of leatherwork. Thanks Bill!
Really great course. William was a fantastic teacher very patient and supportive Learnt a huge amount about leather and leathercraft and he gave us the confidence to make some nice pieces. We really enjoyed the course and the work we did. Cannot recommend too highly - a privilege to have William as a teacher.
Fantastic course, Bill has so much knowledge and experience and was so willing to share. A long with making a belt I made a laptop carry case that is an original one off design. I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn about leather. I will continue with the craft and will stay in tounch with Bill.
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I learned not only the basic techniques but also the pattern making. Bill was very generous sharing his knowledge and experience.
I highly recommend this course to anyone who loves art and craft.
A thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a weekend, I was disappointed not to be going back there on Monday morning!
Bill was friendly, patient and relaxing to be around with a good sense of humour and tea drinking ability that rivals my own! He was happy to answer all my questions and a fountain of knowledge about all things leather. I felt very privileged to have him to myself all weekend.
On day 1 I made a belt which incorporated basic cutting and hand stitching techniques, inserting a buckle and also allowed me to experiment with embossing a pattern and hand dyeing. On day 2 it was time to get a bit more creative with a bigger project. I chose to make a shoulder bag and once I had decided on the size and style (decision making is not my forte, Bill was VERY patient), he taught me how to make a pattern and then step by step assisted me with the making process. By the end of the day I had a finished bag to take home which I am extremely proud of and still can’t believe I made! I had run over time quite a bit in order to get it finished but Bill didn’t seem to mind at all.
For anyone interested in starting out in leather craft or if you just want to spend a fun and creative weekend trying something different I cannot recommend Bill and this course highly enough. I came away with lots of useful information about contacts and suppliers to help me get started on my own projects at home and can’t wait!
Thank you so much Bill.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course which was extremely informative, interesting and very well presented with lots of good humour thrown in. I was astonished at the number of amazing techniques and tricks of the craft that we were taught which all go towards the efficient and fault-free making of any item.
I have done a little leatherwork in the past but Bill raised me to a whole new level!! Keep up the good work, Bill.
Thanks Bill for a great weekend on Introduction to Leather Work. I learnt so much in the two days, cant belive what we achieved in that time. Bill is an excellent teacher, learning by practice, made a lovely belt on the first day. The knowledge and information on designing and making a pattern was very good which was transferred to creating, in my case, to a sleeve for tablet. Hope to go again!
Brilliant, fantastic teacher and an excellant course, I learnt so much in such a short time, Bill was such a good teacher, nothing was too much trouble, he did every thing he could to help, direct and encourage you, fantastic course would recommend it to any one.
And thank you Bill for all your help.
Bill is an experienced leather worker and I doubt there is anything about leather craft that he does not know. He is also a kind, patient, and able teacher, and generous with his time - I ended up staying way after the allotted time in order to finish my work. There were three of us on the course which was a great number as he was able to spend time with all of us on our individual projects. We learnt about the various types of leather, and how it is produced and the effects of the different tanning processes. He taught us how to design a pattern, how to cut, how to stitch, how to use tools safely and effectively, and he gave us a useful list of contacts and suppliers to take away. I made a belt on the first day and a leather ring-binder on the second and I am amazed not only at how much I learnt but also how much I achieved in just two days. I unreservedly recommend Bill and his courses to anyone interested in practical leatherwork.
I’ve just completed a two day course with Bill, and like many others on this page, I cannot fault it - a truly fantastic experience! I have taken many courses over the years, but none have felt so in depth - Bill’s knowledge and skill is just incredible. And whilst some courses can feel like a ‘paint by numbers’ in large groups, with our group of two, I’ve come away with applicable pattern making, bag making, and leather care skills, with tailored, individual advice to continue with my leather work. Bill is incredibly patient, and with his wealth of experience in the field, answered all my endless questions, as I’m very curious! He is also really encouraging and supportive. If you are considering taking this course, just do it, you won’t regret it - it’s worth every single penny and excellent value for money. I’m so proud of my beautiful bag that I came away with, and had a lot of fun too.
It was obvious right from the start of the course that Bill has an exceptional knowledge and experience of leather and leather craft over many, many years! Bill covered a great deal of ground in 2 days, including types of leather and their uses, cutting, creasing, staining, bevelling, stitching, pattern making, and basic finishing. By the end of the course I had made a lovely belt for my wife, plus a custom leather journal that I'd been wanting to do for years. Bill's knowledge is outstanding, and his great sense of humour and anecdotes from the "world of leather" made the course all the more enjoyable.
I had such a lovely weekend on this course, learning something new and getting creative. Will is extremely knowledgeable and clearly a master of what he does. I finished the weekend with two lovely leather items and keen to make more. Would highly recommend.
Really great course. I learnt so much on my 2 days with Bill and came away with some beautiful leather items into the bargain! Bill is an extremely knowledgeable and supportive teacher and so kindly stayed on a little on my 2nd day to enable me to finish my project. Thoroughly recommend this course.
Brilliant weekend with a truly knowledgeable and passionate instructor. The subject is vast but Bill was able to impart a little of what he has learnt over his many years working leather in a succinct understandable way.
We came home with 2 finished bags of different designs using different skills, which we are very proud of, and a desire to carry on and try to develop our skills from the excellent starter course.
We would not hesitate to go on another course with Bill.
An excellent two day course. Bill is a very knowledgeable craftsman with hands on teaching approach. He was very patient and gave plenty of attention to all of us individually, making sure we understand what we are doing and explained everything in an easy to understand way. I left amazed by how much I had learned in such a short period of time. Couldn't have asked for a better teacher.
Bill is an incredibly knowledgable and talented craftsman. On the two day course he helped me understand many aspects of the leather crafts business, details about quality in products, all the while helping me to make a belt and a small clutch bag (which I am going to use a lot). If anyone is looking to develop your knowledge, craft skills or to just have a creative experience, I would thoroughly recommend this course to you.
Bill is a true craftsman whose skill and knowledge and ability is impressive and unique within his craft, allowing him to impart a wealth of knowledge to his students. The skills which Bill taught me ranged from learning about leather, the basic saddle stitch, designing and pattern cutting, making a belt, and producing a small nubuck leather bag!
Bill was happy to answer all my questions, was patient and very encouraging. I loved the whole weekend, I have returned home wanting to put all my new found skills into practice and am excited about future projects that I wish to make.
I feel privileged and grateful to have been able to spend a weekend with such a knowledgeable craftsman and would wholeheartedly recommend a course with Bill. Thank you Bill.
I had SO much fun on this course! Bill is extremely knowledgeable and he will tell you exactly what you shouldn't waste your money on when it comes to investing in tools!
I learnt a huge amount in this two day course and came away with a fantastic belt and bag which I was really proud of, as well as a great deal of knowledge about leather and the art of working with it.
Bill is extremely welcoming. He is very patient and has a great sense of humour. It was wonderful listening to all of his stories from over the years working in this industry.
A very relaxed and fun workshop environment. I would highly recommend.
This is a great introduction course to take if you have no, or a little, knowledge of the craft of working with leather. Bill is a wonderful teacher; extremely knowledgeable, patient, and humorous. The weekend passed very quickly but so much was learnt in the time frame. It was an all round great experience and I would most definitely recommend it to anymore wishing to learn about leather craft.
Bill was outstanding he had so much knowledge to give to us in two days, I learnt so much. He was also incredibly patient, generally it was a great course and i couldnt recommend it highly enough. I went knowing nothing and came away having made a belt and a dog collar.
Bill is clearly highly experienced & extremely knowledgable about his craft, I have learnt such a lot in 2 days. I have come home with two wonderful pieces which I'm pretty proud of'! The course is very relaxed yet we still got so much done, it was really fun & insighful, I would recommend to anyone with an interest in working with leather. Thoroughly enjoyed it- thanks Bill!
Great 2 day course. We learnt so much in such a short time. We picked the course based on reviews and weren't disappointed. Bill has amazing knowledge and experience which he is so generous in sharing. A great practical course, we both managed to make a couple of items over the 2 days. Would love to do more in future.
I sooooo enjoyed the leather workshop, Bill is a wonderful, patient teacher who explains everything really clearly and answers all your questions really helpfully. We designed our own bag, made our pattern, chose the leather and cut and sewed it with just the right amount of guidance and help from Bill. I really learned a lot and am definitely going to do another course some time soon .... and try to work by myself at home once I have got a few of the essential tools! Thanks, Bill!
Bill is a great teacher, encouraging, patient, knowledgable and willing to share. I came away wanting to learn more and really enjoyed having free reign make something that pleased my eye. Even my mistakes were turned into lovely features... I gave my belt and bag as a gift and it went down extremely well.
I picked this course based on the reviews here and the drive from London was worth it.
Bill is a terrific teacher. Very knowledgeable and easy-going. I picked up lots of new skills and made a belt for myself and a handbag for my partner, which she could not have been more chuffed with. A very enjoyable two-day course. Thanks Bill
Such a fantastic course! Bill is a brilliant teacher and his knowledge and advice is absolutely priceless. The course is very thorough, teaching you all the skills you need to begin making beautiful leather goods and builds on these as the two days progress. Bill is so friendly and shares his skills and experiences willingly, making the course a lot of fun. I would highly recommend this course and Bill! Thank you so much for introducing me to such an amazing craft!
Bill is a GREAT teacher, he taught us loads in the short amount of time we were there. He was happy to answer all the random questions we shot at him, and it was really fun! And we came away with a gorgeous belt, bag and the skills we need to make many more goods in the future :) Thank you so much. I highly recommend this course and Bill!
I attended this course as a complete beginner to leather work, I had been interested in constructing items previously but didn't have the confidence or knowledge on where to start. This course gave me the basic knowledge and ability to progress. Having made two items on the course weekend, I've now completed two other smaller projects on my own and am planning others.
Bill is a very experienced, pragmatic tutor - we discussed a list of tools that were essential for leather work along with a list that were beneficial but not essential to start with. If there was a simple cost-effective alternative that you could use to begin with, Bill pointed us in the right direction.
The course took us through how to produce the basic design patterns, cutting out, assembly and finishing. With a small number of attendees, Bill is able to give one on one advice and guidance. I would unreservedly recommend attending this course to anyone wishing to learn the basics of leatherworking.
Really enjoyed my two days on the course.The course was informative and I learnt a lot from Bill,he has a wealth of knowledge that he is happy to share.
Bill has a very patient disposition and he brought a bar of chocolate to the class,always a good plan of action with me.
I would like to go back and do another weekend.
Excellent! Bill is a master craftsman and a great teacher but what marks this course apart from similar ones is the breadth of experience and knowledge of a lifetime spent in the leather production and fashion industry which Bill shares throughout the course. You will create an item or two of your own to take away after the course but what you will really learn are the skills to go on and design and make great leather products in the future.
Relaxed and informal class, Bill is an excellent teacher and willing to impart his wealth of knowledge.
I have learnt the basics of leather craft which I can now build on with practice and experience. Thank you Bill I really enjoyed the course.
I have just finished my leatherwork course with Bill (4 days in total) which was a very enjoyable time.
I had no experience at all in working with leather and now feel that I can effectively start my hobby in the right direction.
Bill has a great deal of knowledge on the subject from his training and years of working with leather, the products he makes are amazing.
Bill also has a very effective teaching method and ensures the course runs at a speed that suits your level of skill / knowledge.
After completing a belt Bill then allows you to complete a more complex item of your own design limited only by size and time to complete.
If you are thinking of attending a leatherwork course I fully recommend this one.
I never knew I could learn so much in one weekend! Bill has wealth of knowledge and clearly loves sharing it with others. The course was fast-moving and highly satisfying - I took pages of useful notes and have come away with the knowledge and confidence to continue. Everything was very well thought-out. We were given a list of suppliers, coupled with Bill's inside knowledge, to make it easy to source materials and tools to work and practice with in future. I can't recommend Bill enough.
The weekend leather workshop is brilliant. My daughter and I went together and we both really enjoyed it. Bill is such a good teacher and is so willing to share the knowledge he has acquired over the years. The small class size meant Bill could discuss with us individually what we each wanted to achieve from the course and then give us guidance when working on our different pieces. Although described as a beginners' course, the amount we learned in just two days has really given us the skills to produce some good small items. We will certainly be going back again for an advanced class to increase our skills even further.
Bill is not only deeply knowledgeable (there must only be a handful of leather craftsmen in the UK with his depth of knowledge) but also a brilliant teacher. He can literally make anything from leather to the highest standard and is great at communicating / demonstrating processes. I don't think that you could find a better instructor if this is your field of interest. The course was interesting and fun, no going through notes. Bill teaches on an ad hoc basis in order to keep relevant to individual interest. I will be back to try to try and absorb more of his skill - sadly I acknowledge it would take years to learn his level of craftmanship, this coming from a fellow ex-Cordwainer! How I would love to learn everything he knows!!
What a great teacher Bill is!
I really enjoyed making a belt and a handbag, both of which have been greatly admired.
I will certainly be returning for more instruction from Bill - possibly moccasins next time.
I highly recommend this course. For anyone wanting to learn about the basics of leatherworking, including knowledge of the industry, Bill is the guy to see. I joined a weekend course and his vast knowledge and experience of the craft combined with high quality of teaching would be hard to match. Very enthusiastic and helpful with everything, with great explanations of each process. I would advise anyone interested in leather to sign up - so worth it!
This course was such a great eye opener in to the leather working world. Bill went above and beyond to make us fill welcome and comfortable in his workshop. He had an abundance of knowledge and expertise and was so willing to share it. He also stayed back on the 2nd day to ensure myself and another student got our projects finished, which i appreciate a lot. Since the course he has also given me advice on a few things and i'm know starting to create my own leather pieces! All in all Bill is a legend and you won't regret booking a course with him.
The weekend leather workshop for beginners was excellent. So much information was packed into two days and really gave me a feel for how to go forward working with leather. Bill was patient and informative and was happy and willing to go over any questions you had or discuss his experience in the industry. The two days flew by and were really enjoyable.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in leather craft for business or fun!
The description of this course doesn't convey what an excellent tutor Bill is and how rewarding it is to walk away with a number of finished projects. I have had a wonderful weekend and feel confident to now work on my own. Bill is so committed to his craft its infectious - thank you so much, I will be going back to further my skills.
What a fantastic course! It was everything that I'd hoped for in as much as I learned a wealth of new skills under the expert tutorage of Bill. Everything was thorough and there were plenty of opportunities to practise new skills and techniques. Very pleased with the finished projects that I walked away with and now raring to go and put what I have learned into action. Great and knowledgeable company, a wonderful weekend. Thank you very much.
This course encompases practical hands on work with gaining an understanding of leather / tools / techniques. I would thouroughly recommend it to anyone. Bill is enthusiastic and patient and it was an honour to learn so much in such a short space of time from a true Master Craftsman. Thank-you so much Bill!
Spent a great two days with Bill. Amazed how much I learnt in such a small amount of time, testament to what a good instructor Bill is. He is keen to share the knowledge he has gained over the years and is patient, easy going and very good at what he does. I would recommend this course to any one looking to gain or develope skills in working with leather. Thanks.
A very big thank you to Bill for sharing his skill, knowledge and experience with me. I love the way that Bill showed me the steps and techniques I needed in the crafting of leather. His excellent teaching style allowed me to learn the techniques without losing focus. I have gained new skills, knowledge and leather-craft vocabulary. Bill is very patient and has a wealth of knowledge, which he generously shared with me. As a result I came away with a few leather goods that I had hand crafted which, he taught me from design to production all within two days. Words cannot express how grateful i am to Bill. I highly recommend this workshop to anybody who wants to learn leather craft with a very passionate, fun and enthusiastic tutor.
If you are considering doing a course with Bill Blaikie, book it now! He is a fabulous craftsman with the added benefit of also being a superb teacher and a really nice person. I have been inspired by the 2 days I spent learning leather craft and am eager to get busy putting all of my new "skills" into practise.
I recently spent two days on a course with Bill. I (some time ago), served an apprenticeship as a joiner so I knew I had some skill working with my hands. What Bill did was to renew my appreciation for the skill required to produce a quality product using traditional skills. His knowledge is supreme, his manner so affable, and at the end of the course I felt privileged to have learnt new skills, and a few trade secrets from someone who obviously loves his trade and is a master of it. highly recommended.
The two days that i spent with Bill were great. he is extreamly helful and encouraging to all abilities in the class and was happy to answer any questions regarding leatherwork and about working in the industry. i would recomend this coures to boyh people looking at leather as a hobby or to thoses hoping to start a buisness.
A Superb introduction to leatherworking by a great instructor. Bill has a wealth of knowledge and experience and the enthusiasm to get it across. The course gives you all the basic skills you can absorb and the confidence to put it into practise. Well worth the course fee and leaves you wanting to do more.
An excellent 2 x days, I'm amazed at how much was achieved in such a short period of time. Bill's teaching style is natural and his enthusiasm for the art comes across within minutes of meeting him. His patience with a "senior novice" was remarkable and all helped by a sense of humour. Apart from Bill the other three members of the course were really good company and added to the overall enjoyment.
Bill is a brilliant teacher. I have had three one-to-one lessons with him and not a second is wasted. In that time Bill taught me every detail from pattern making right through to producing a professional looking product. Bill's depth of experience and knowledge gained from a lifetime in the trade is obvious and he imparts this with openess and generosity. I'm longing to have some more lessons!
A brilliant time spent with Bill. I wanted to learn more about leatherworking in order to make small items for charity. I couldn't have had a better teacher! 4 days were spent with Bill, a patient & understanding instructor, who had designed
a course to cover my needs. Starting with the basics, we progressed until by the end of the course I had made several items, covered stiching, staining & dying and pattern making. Including the design & pattern for a special item for myself to cutout & finish at a later date.
I would heartily encourage ANYONE thinking of taking up leatherwork, or wishing to improve their skills, to contact Bill. You will not be disappointed.
Bill is an excellent teacher. I recently spent a week on a bespoke leather working course and learnt an amazing amount in my tailor made course. Bill has great attention to detail, is very experienced and knowledgable. I really enjoyed learning from Bill and highly recommend his courses, whether it's just for pleasure or to develop your skills with a view to starting a business. Five + stars!
Fantastic! I spent three days with Bill. He tailored a bespoke course to my needs which gave me the confidence to start my own business. Bill is a very talented man with lots of history and experience in the trade which he generously shares. I highly recommend contacting Bill and experiencing one or more of his workshop sessions; whether it is to get started with a project for a hobby or to gain experience, which like me will give you the confidence to start your own business in the beautiful world of leather.
There’s nothing Bill doesn’t know or can’t teach you about leather and leather craft. I saw Bill’s beautiful workmanship on the web and decided he was the man to learn from. I’ve never been more right. Bill is not just a brilliant craftsman and expert in his field but a wonderful teacher with an eye for design. Passionate about his craft and teaching others I left this workshop with too many skills to apply, an appreciation for the craft and an appetite to learn more. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested to learn for fun or as an introduction to starting their own business (but remember it takes years to become a master like Bill). I could not have asked for a more enthusiastic or patient teacher. Sign up now or at the very least buy one of his beautifully crafted leather goods!5