What Is Stretched Leather?
Leather is a natural skin and over time depending on the quality of the hide and how you have cared for it, this can stretch and become baggy.
You also gain natural lines in leather where they become more visible as the skin gets used and becomes older.
All these scenarios are very natural reactions of the skin, it’s a bit like our own skin, we get wrinkles and skin becomes baggy as we get older.
Leather skin requires constant care, contrary to what people believe about modern skins by listening to people that think they know, as with all trades an expert should be consulted, not just a popular YouTube person who thinks they know the facts.
Modern leather from the late 80’s to early 90’s was coated and sealed with a surface lacquer. This surface coating requires great care to look after it and requires the surface feeding in effect to stop this coating drying out and breaking down. Modern leather has a 1% breathability and requires leather protection creams or liquid sprays applied to preserve the surface as long as possible.
Stretched Car Seat Lower Bolster
Stretched Car Seat Bolster
When leather is brand new, you can apply a protection spray to provide a durable coating, but this can be a false economy if you don’t want your leather to gain stretch marks and grain lines to appear. It is best to apply a protection cream as well as a protection spray at regular intervals and you would alternate the applications, this would input some moisture into the skin.
There are several methods to correcting leather skin that has become baggy. Depending on the type of skin one may work better than another, also, it may not be possible to correct it if the baggy leather is due to a foam being shrunk and compressed due to age. Foams that become compressed can cause a hide to go out of shape, so making sure you pay close attention to your leather is essential to prolong its life span.
Both methods of corrective work involve using heat, a dry form of heat and a wet form of heat.
The dry form of heat is simply using a heat gun, BUT, this has to be done with care to ensure you don’t go too far or burn the leather making it worse, experience helps with this. It is best to try it on other areas first that don’t matter. It’s the heat you have to be careful of, not to let it get too hot and cause further damage.
But also note what you have is a natural product and it’s just doing what it does naturally, so wrinkles are standard in leather.
Stretched Classic Car Seat Base
The other method is using a white terry towel that’s wet and heated in a microwave.
Get pure white terry towels wet them and put them in the microwave for a good 5 mins approximately possibly more you need them to be extremely hot – WARNING DO NOT HANDLE WITH YOUR HANDS – PICK UP WITH TONGS.
Once removed from the microwave place it flat on the leather and put two or three on so they generate heat to remove the wrinkles. These can be placed on top of each other and around the offending areas to shrink the leather again.
How does this become stretched more on some leathers compared to other leathers? It’s down to how the leather is made to begin with along with the quality of the skin originally. A better quality skin gives a tighter fibre structure so less chance of wrinkles or stretching taking pace, grain impressions will still happen no matter what as they are natural markings just like any skin has natural grain lines.
For instance, animals that are kept in perfect climate conditions and given the highest quality food along with natural quality water will have a much better fibre structure than an animal kept in a hot climate with little water and given poor quality feed.
Another common item that gets stretched is leather jackets, people come in from the wet and hang a jacket on a hook or peg to allow the jacket to dry out, the common mistake is when this dries due to the weight of the leather jacket this causes stretching to happen, this is easily corrected with the wet hot terry towel method.
Stretched Leather Jacket