The sporran is an ancient and traditional Scottish Highland dress accessory designed to be hung about the waist on a leather belt or chain in front of the groin. As kilts traditionally have no pockets, the sporran serves as a type of purse to carry any items the wearer should wish to have handy.
To make a quality sporran, it would be wise to study proper methods and materials. Leather and natural fur are the traditional materials used and, as previously mentioned, a leather belt or metal chain is used to hang the sporran from the waist.
As regards the design, two types are generally utilized: the "day" sporran or the "dress" sporran. The first is usually smaller and made of plain leather, while the dress sporran is larger and more elaborately decorated, often with silver, intricate Celtic knots, polished stones, and even jewels. The top flap enclosing the sporran can be decorated with a tartan as well.
A sturdy, heavy leather, such as latigo, is a suitable material for making the sporran. Your local leather supplier will offer a wide range of leather stock, fastenings, rivets, tools and equipment which will prove to be beneficial regarding your project. Bead and jewelry suppliers will have an inventory of beads, decorations, findings, threads, needles, and numerous other materials that can add to the overall enhancement of your creation.
The proper selection of furs, should you choose to use them when making your sporran, will require careful selection and research. While many types of fur, such as rabbit, are readily available commercially, others are strictly controlled and regulated. It is recommended you do the research necessary to acquire any traditional fur you would like to use, and to conform to all laws and regulations regarding the purchase and use of these materials. An interesting sidenote: antique shops, flea markets, and thrift stores can prove to be a surprising and valuable source of vintage furs.
A good thing to consider when setting out to make your first sporran is to look into purchasing one of the many quality kits available through suppliers of traditional Scottish costume and accessories. The kits will give you a feel for the craft, and will lay the groundwork for the creation of unique, distinctive, and traditional sporrans in the future.
Finally, here's an important point for all you Americans out there to remember: the pronunciation is "spaw-rawn", not "spore-ran".