Christmas is just around the corner, and at Abbey England we are working as hard as Santa’s elves to make sure you will have everything you need to make this Christmas one to remember.

So, with all that in mind, we have roped in the help from Jo Heard from  JH Leather, to share her top picks and best practices for making Christmas Gifts. If you are looking for gifts for you, them, her, him or even the dogs, Jo has you covered.


Leatherworker skiving with the Abbey skiving iron.
Image provide by JH Leather

In the first of her Top Picks, Jo shares what products she would recommend using for making the perfect stocking filler – a hand-made leather key ring.

My favourite leather for keyrings is a vegetable tanned shoulder, between 1.5-2.5mm thick. The Sedgwick's 1900 collection would be amazing for this, with its rich colour and beautiful finish.

You could also use a natural russet shoulder which will patina beautifully over time, or you can colour each keyring yourself with some of the Fiebing’s leather dye, available in either an alcohol-based dye or water-based dye. Don’t forget the wool daubers to apply it too!

Next we're onto the fittings....

For my keyrings I like to use a 1" (25mm) split ring. There are a range of sizes to choose from, and these can be either brass or nickel plate to match your design or required finish.

Abbey England also offers the flat split ring for a real high-quality feel to your keyrings. My suggestion for these is the 1 1/8" (29mm) option.

Want to fancy your keyrings up even more? Add a rein tip from one of the many designs that Abbey England has to offer. These can be easily fitted to your keyring via the two prongs attached on the back of each fitting.


When making a keyring for the first time, it is handy to make a card pattern first so that you can check that your design will work and will fit your chosen fittings. Then once you are happy you can get creating with your chosen leather.

Happy making!

For her second stocking filler,  Jo takes us through her top picks for making a wallet. Don’t forget to check out her latest video below which shows you how to make a bifold wallet using Abbey’s greased pigskin in dark havanna.


For my wallets I LOVE to use some vegetable tanned pig skin as it has a beautiful texture to it. My preferred option is the greased pig skin as it has a lovely soft feel. You can use other leather options for wallet making but ideally your thickness wants to be around 1mm – 1.5 mm.


Depending on your wallet design you may want to add a coin pocket which would need a closure fitting. I like to use some press studs for these pockets on my wallets.


For my wallets my favourite thread to use is linen, the linen options available at Abbey England come in a variety of sizes, I think the 3/25 thread would be great for this and it is available in 3 colour options.    


Make sure to add a trim allowance to your wallet patterns as this will give you the best edge to finish once cut to size.

Happy making!
J H Bifold wallet on a table
J H Bifold wallet on a table
Images provided by JH Leather


Jo Heard has been in the leathercraft industry since 2007. She trained at Capel Manor College where she graduated with the prestigious Cordwainer’s Diploma in Bridle, Saddle and Harness. She subsequently completed the Modern Apprenticeship and at the same time was accepted onto the Saddlers’ Company Millennium Apprenticeship which she completed. Jo is now a qualified saddler and member of the Society of Master Saddlers.

The knowledge she has gained from her years in the industry and her eye for perfection has led her to winning many of awards.

Jo also runs a successful YouTube channel. She shares her love for leathercraft with her 67,000 subscribers, revealing best practices, 'how to' videos and more.
Jo Heard in her workshop with her dog skyler.

If you are in need of some inspiration, or just looking for some leather working tips, check out Jo’s YouTube channel.

Our Christmas gift to you...

You and your business are incredibly important to us,
and as a thank you for being a valued Abbey England
 customer, we’re offering you an exclusive Christmas discount: 

Spend £200 or more on your online order this December and get a
 £20 voucher back to spend in January.

Ts and Cs apply. TThe voucher will only be applied to a single online order with a value of £100 or more. Offer will be redeemable between 01.01.22 – 31.01.22 only.