Saturday, February 25, 2017

My love affair with cork leather

If you follow me on Instagram, you will already know of my new found love for everything cork (also known as cork leather, vegan leather, or cork fabric).  So, I thought I'd explain why I'm so enamoured with this stuff.

Some of you may be asking what is she talking about so here are some pictures of cork leather to help you out:

Some facts about cork:
  • Sustainable product.  Cork is harvested from a cork tree once every 9 years.  This process does no damage to the tree. There are cork tree forests in Portugal that are over 2000 years old!  Although, from the information that I have, I believe most trees are harvested for up to 300 years.  That's still one heck of a long time though. 
  • It is 100% natural product. I'm always looking for alternatives to synthetics.
  • It is strong. Cork leather is as strong as its leather counterparts.  There have been some discussions on pre-mature wear in the corners, but I believe this has to do with heat (iron) being applied to the cork and other mitigating factors (quality of the cork leather - I buy only the best). Leather and vinyl both show wear in the same fashion.
  • It is water resistent. Bags and wallets made from cork are protected.  As much as I love fabric bags, water protection is nice to have.
  • Natural anti-mildew and anti-bacterial properties.  Synthetics such as vinyl definitely can't boast of this feature. Again, this is a benefit from an all natural product.
  • It can be wiped clean. I hate it when my leather wallets starts looking dingy due to every day handling or my bag starts looking like it's older than the stars because it's gotten dirty. Cork has a smooth, surface that can usually be wiped clean with plain water.  I read one story where dark jean dye rubbed off on a white cork handbag and the dye washed off completely with a damp cloth.  Most bags would be ruined.  That's a definite bonus in my books!
  • Cork leather is PETA CERTIFIED.  Cork is an ecofriendly vegan alternative to leather or vinyl. Remember that bit about trees being harvested for approximately 300 years?  
  • Cork is STITCHABLE.  Cork leather is quite pliable and has a different type of density. So, being stitching obsessed, I had to test it for myself to see if it could be used in hand-stitching. 
The hardest part for me was figuring out how to transfer the design.  You can't exactly see through cork, so Prick and Pounce is pretty much the only way to transfer the design unless your good with free-handing it.  

There is enough stiffness in the cork to hold it in your hand and stitch. 


I finished it off as an open-mouthed cork bag. I decided to list this for sale on Instagram and couldn't believe how quickly it sold. 😊

I'll end this post with some pictures below of a couple of things that I've made with the cork.

This is the Slimline wallet designed by Carla's Creations. Pattern can be found on

So, that's it my friends.  What's not to love about this stuff, eh?  😊

Wishing all of you a happy weekend!


1 comment:

Aurelia Eglantine said...

These are so beautiful Karen!!! I hadn't heard of cork leather, but it looks so much nicer than DMC's stitchable cork (which I have heard about but have not yet seen in person) and has the bonus of so many pretty colours! Your butterfly turned out wonderful, and so did the wallets (the sleepy fox is so cute). Thanks so much for the great information :)