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Stretching leather that has shrunk?

Started by jojo, March 31, 2017, 12:28:44 pm

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jojo

So the customer knelt on his leather car seat in really freezing weather to get something out of the back seat. The seam of the insert panel came apart (the leather didn't rip, just the thread broke). That was a couple of months ago. I thought it would be easy to just sew the two panels together, and then re tack them at the side seams. Buuut, it seems that the panels shrunk, maybe about a half inch on each side. I tried just sewing them together anyway, but the stretching creates really bad wrinkles at the sides.
Is there any way to stretch the leather back to its orginal size?
Thanks in advance.
Jo

Darren Henry

If who ever cut the leather was a purist the stretch would run front to back, but mass produced it will be which ever left the least waste. Either way soaking the leather in warm water will get you stretch in both directions. Draw out the  finished shape/dimension on a piece of plywood, soak the panel for a few minutes, and then staple to fit the outline on the board. I would staple it hide side down as it will dry faster with the flesh side  exposed.

For a little extra "torque" you can cut the plywood about 1/2-3/4" outside your line and use a pair of lasting pliers or webbing pliers to really pull on it.

Let it dry thoroughly (like 48hrs) before you take it off the board. If the leather feels cool to the cheek it is not dry.
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