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Winners Curtis and Colleen of Sherwood Park
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The PRESS GALLERY Consumer Fabric Care Section
Weak Areas in Leather and Suede
Courtesy of our professional associations
You may have received a new Suede or Leather garment for Christmas.
What you should know!
In some cases, after only a short period of wear, leather or suede garments may show local damage. Usually, microscopic examination of the skins in the damaged areas will show that they are less compact and weaker than other areas of the garment.
This situation sometimes occurs when a combination of skins taken from different animals are used in the makeup of the garment. Skins that come from various portions of the same animal may also be used. These skins sometimes have a variety of thicknesses or inherent natural defects. Skins from certain portions of the animal, such as the belly, are less compact and weaker than skins from other portions of the animal. On occasion, skins may be split thinly to accommodate soft, flowing skirts; tops; or other types of garments needing lightweight suede or leather panels. Weak areas in leather or suede may also be a result from wounds, disease, and insect bites received during the animal’s lifetime.
The skins may look and feel great when they are new, but they have a tendency to pill, separate, or tear, especially if used in an area of a garment that receives repeated rubbing, friction or abrasion during wear. For example, if a thin suede skin is used on a sleeve, an area that typically receives lots of stress and strain during wear, the suede may become pilled. In some instances, if the area is very weak, the skins may actually separate and tear.
Damage due to defective skins and circumstances of use frequently becomes more apparent after a normal leather cleaning process. This is because dyes or finishes may have masked the problem, and the agitation of cleaning aggravates areas that were abraded during wear. In many cases, a professional leather cleaner may be able to replace the damaged skins and return the garment to a wearable condition. However, in some cases, the cleaner may not be able to match the skin’s color or texture.
Leather and suede are susceptible to a wide range of problems, so it is important that, as a consumer, you are aware of potential problems and limitations of leather garments. You can obtain more information on these issues, along with information how to care for your leather or suede garment properly, by consulting a professional leather cleaner.
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