How to Repair Leather Goods

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How to Repair Leather Goods
Repair Leather Goods

The durability and texture of leather make it an appealing material for jackets, gloves, purses and luggage. These same qualities, though, make leather difficult to repair. Here's how to handle minor fixes.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Garment Glue
  • Polyester Or Silk Thread
  • Replacement Leather Swatch
  • Phone Books
  • Heavy-duty Needle
  • Linen Patch
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Paper And Pencil
  • Hammer With Smooth Head

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Instructions

  1. 1

    If the damage consists of a small hole or rip in the leather (under 1 1/2 inches / 4 cm), make a patch to repair it. Use sharp scissors to cut out a circle around the hole or rip that is just large enough to remove the rough edges. Avoid making the hole any larger than necessary.

  2. 2

    Place paper underneath the circle and trace the circle onto the paper.

  3. 3

    Cut the circle out of the paper and use this circle as a guide to cut out a circle from a leather swatch that matches the material you are repairing. For small leather patches on a garment, you sometimes can cut out a swatch from a pocket or interior lining. If not, shop at fabric stores or upholstery shops to find replacement leather swatches. Or you can go online to find leather suppliers.

  4. 4

    Place the leather circle into the hole on a smooth, hard surface-- it should fit in nicely. Use a hammer with a smooth head to gently pound the backside of the leather so that the circle lays flat and is not too thick.

  5. 5

    Cut out a linen patch that is at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) larger all around than the leather circle.

  6. 6

    Use garment glue to adhere the leather circle onto the middle of the linen patch. Then adhere the linen patch to the back side of the leather garment or bag you are repairing so that the circle fits perfectly into the hole.

  7. 7

    Place the repaired leather under a heavy weight, such as phone books, for an hour to allow the patch to dry smoothly into place.

  8. 8

    If you want to repair a smooth, clean cut in leather, fold together the two smooth edges and use a slanting stitch on the back side of the leather to sew it together. Keep the stitches far apart, because heavy stitching can weaken leather. Use a heavy-duty needle and polyester or silk thread; cotton thread is too weak.

  9. 9

    Use a combination of a linen patch and stitching for repairs in areas that will sustain a lot of wear and tear or strain, such as elbows or armpits.

  10. 10

    If the damage is severe, consult a tailor or luggage repair professional. They have the tools necessary to make more drastic repairs.

Tips and warnings

  • To repair a snag in leather, use clear nail polish to smooth the snag into place against the leather. Do not use clear nail polish to repair snags on suede.
  • To remove small scratches or cracks, apply leather conditioner (available at hardware, upholstery, auto supply and saddlery stores). Leather conditioner makes leather smooth and supple and can remove imperfections due to dryness. If leather conditioner doesn't remove a scratch, try using a shoe polish that matches the leather color. Always test in an inconspicuous spot beforehand.
  • See also How to Treat Stains on Leather.
  • To repair a snag in leather, use clear nail polish to smooth the snag into place against the leather. Do not use clear nail polish to repair snags on suede.
  • To remove small scratches or cracks, apply leather conditioner (available at hardware, upholstery, auto supply and saddlery stores). Leather conditioner makes leather smooth and supple and can remove imperfections due to dryness. If leather conditioner doesn't remove a scratch, try using a shoe polish that matches the leather color. Always test in an inconspicuous spot beforehand.
  • See also How to Treat Stains on Leather.

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