In our previous articles we have talked a lot about the environment, sustainability, and the leather life cycle.
A big part of this message is to buy once, buy well. Well made leather goods should last a lifetime, but along the way they may need some TLC to keep them enduring.
It can seem daunting to offer to do leather repairs. We have all seen the Repair Shop and the complex things they take on. In our experience however a large number of repairs are extremely simple, they just seem out of the reach for anyone who is not experienced in the craft.
As makers ourselves we have each taken on a few repair jobs and most are relatively easy and quick. We have a few case studies which we will share with you here and in the coming weeks but often it can be replacing a few stitches, a hole in a belt or a strategic rivet.
#leathercraft #leatherrepair #sustainableliving #buyoncebuywell #leatherlastslonger #leatherremade
Case Study 1 - Repair and Rennovation
Fi’s Tote Bag The bag was damaged and scuffed and the handle stitching coming apart. The bag was cleaned, re-coloured and conditioned. The stitching was replaced and repaired with a matching thread. In this instance on both handle attachments a new brass rivet was placed to add additional reinforcement, an example of renovation.
Renovation – to make the object look like new and be fit for purpose once again. The item itself can be just a starting point and might be imaginatively re-designed.
Case study example – a vintage green full length leather coat with damage on the bottom – re-dyed black with Fiebing's Pro Dye and shortened and re-hemmed to make into a mid-length coat.
Restoration – to bring the item back to it’s former appearance, for example cleaning, match colouring, an repair.
Case Study 2 - Repair and Restoration
In this case study we look at repairing the author and illustrator Lea Moran's (Ink Tales) Spanish leather braided bag. The bag is very special with elaborate braiding, however the side strap and whip stitched edges had broken. The leather is very dark brown, when you lift the flap you can see the original lighter colour. It has developed a beautiful patina over time. The bag we think is from the 1970s/80s so approximately 40-50 years old and has been in almost constant use all that time.
Preservation – this involves ensuring the object is prevented from being destroyed or decayed further. It might mean stabilising the leather with backing or other treatment. In this case it is not about the final look being made perfect but how to retain as much of the material and essence of the item as possible.
Conservation – the absolute maximum of the item to be kept with the most minimal amount of treatment. Ideally repairs or stabilising materials should be obvious different and if possible should not be permanently fixed to the original material. This would be most relevant to uniquely historical items and museum pieces, items for display only.
Further reading and Useful Links