Astrida Leather is a local leather worker. My friend had discovered her on Carousell. She makes bespoke leather goods from keychains to wallets to journal covers. Way back in early April, I had commissioned a customised A5 Midori styled leather notebook cover from her.
There were a number of leather choices including some beautiful Horween leather. I went with the Sunset Oil leather because I enjoyed the change in colour when the leather pulled. I had asked for a slot at the back to hold a Rhodia dot pad and Midori Traveler’s Notebook style straps to hold 3 notebooks. This custom leather notebook cover costs SGD$100. It is a reasonable price and she worked quite fast. The item was ready for pick up within a week. There was a flaw in the leather she had and it was communicated quickly. The collaboration process was quick and easy done mostly via texts.
The dark brown leather feels soft and slightly cool to the touch. It picks up scars and scratches quite easily so if you prefer your leather in a pristine condition, the Sunset Oil leather isn’t for you. Personally, I didn’t mind it. Most of its scratches was due to being moved in and out of my bag. If you handle the leather notebook cover daily, it has a self healing property when it comes in contact with your hand oils. The leather isn’t extremely thick like how it is on the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter. Plus the edges are burnished which I appreciate. I picked orange threads for the stitching. The stitching are neat and very well done. I found the workmanship to be top notch.
There wasn’t any options for neither the straps that holds the leather cover close nor the strings that holds notebook in the leather cover. Unlike a traditional Traveler’s Notebook, the closure originates from the spine instead of the back. I like that the strap comes out from the spine. It makes the entire leather cover look neater that way. The leather cover also came with a leather tab on the closure strap to protect the leather from being damaged by the strap. I didn’t thought the strap would have damaged the leather since the straps used are rather thick. However, I found it weird that the straps that hold the notebook in are being threading to the outside of the leather cover. As far as I have seen online, other faux-dori in other sizes are not made with the straps on the outside of the leather cover.
The straps holds my Hobonichi Cousin without any problems so it goes without saying that slimmer notebooks are not problems for the leather cover. The Sunset Oil Leather isn’t a very stiff leather so it would lay flat without any trouble so my Hobonichi Cousin was able to lay flat on the table. Adding and removing a notebook into the leather cover is easy and quick. Depending on how you setup your leather cover, it might get a little bulky. I only have a Hobonichi Cousin, a Muji notebook and a Rhodia dot pad setup inside as my regular everyday carry.
Overall, I found that the Astrida A5 Midori Style leather notebook cover performs its duties well. It is rather reasonably priced for a customised leather notebook cover in this size. Do check out her Carousell page if you are keen to one for yourself.
Update: I have since sold this leather cover. It isn’t due to any misgivings towards the leather cover but more towards the Hobonichi Cousin just being too large for daily carrying around. I didn’t want to keep the leather cover around unused so it’s better for it to go onto a better home. You’d read more of my thoughts on that in a review of the Hobonichi Cousin in a later post soon.