The Modus Operandi: Turning and Burning

By Lotuff Leather

Turning and burning has already been mentioned in a previous post--but what is this process, really? Essentially, it’s the most important and precise step on the way to a Lotuff bag’s completion. Every bag has at least 41 hand-tied knots, which may sound fairly simple if not time-consuming to carry out, but we take this very simple act and do it in a way that makes a huge difference both in strength and visual appeal.

For each one, a square knot--one of the strongest kinds--is tied over the hole it originated from, its end is heated to the point of melting, and a hammer and tweezers are used to push, pull, and nestle it back into the hole, where it seals itself in for good. There’s no room for mistakes here, and since each turn and burn can be different depending upon which part of the bag the knot falls on, memorization and consistency are imperative at all times.

The procedure can involve one of two types of turn and burn, the first being a structural one whose purpose is solely to add strength and reinforcement to one part of the bag that will be fused with another. The second is a finishing turn and burn, which exist on a bag’s outer pieces but is integrated into the stitching in a way that makes it nearly impossible to tell where it begins or ends. We test this by running a finger over the burned and tucked end: if we can’t feel it, we’ve done our job correctly.  

After this, other hand-stitched components besides knots come in, helping to wrap and seal edges or reinforce doubled-back corners. Without this stage, our bags wouldn’t have the structural integrity that they do, and so we choose to take the time to unite the form and function of each one to create a product that is at once seamless and stunning. 

- Liz Silvia