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How Do I Repair Leather Upholstery?

Some leather damage can be sewn up, but this often requires heavy-duty equipment because of the material's thickness.
Patches may be used to repair leather upholstery.
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  • Written By: Lisa Bower
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Images By: Paul Maguire, Theilr
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
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Leather upholstery is used to make everything from leather couches to the seats of an automobile. It may be necessary to repair leather upholstery from time to time due to normal wear and tear. If you have leather seats in your car, you are bound to scuff them just by getting in and out of the car on a daily basis. It can be important to deal with small tears, burns, and scuffs when they initially arise. Repairing a hole when it is small can keep it from growing bigger.

Needle and thread usually are great items to use when fixing small tears in this expensive material. The best way to repair leather upholstery typically is to remove it. If you cannot remove the item from the frame, you can sew the tear together with small stitches. Make sure the thread is as close to the same shade as the leather you are sewing, and that you use tight stitches that will not be visible to the naked eye.

When sewing leather, remember that this material is incredibly thick. Repairing leather upholstery will take more than a thin needle and some thread. If possible, remove the leather from the seat so that it can be sewn using an industrial-strength or heavy-duty sewing machine. Pushing a needle through leather by hand is hard. If this is the only option, a thick needle and heavy-duty thread will be needed, as well as a thick finger covering like a thimble.

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Leather upholstery repair kits available also are available. Some kits are made for specific car models, and some are focused on specific colors or shades of leather products. These kits typically will have materials to help users fix everything from burns and scratches to tears and small holes.

An inexpensive method when looking to repair leather upholstery in a car is to use a leather patch. The patch is sewn onto the area to keep the hole or tear from increasing or stretching. Be sure to look for patches that are as close to the original seat color as possible.

Scuff marks and scrapes can be repaired with a hair dryer. The area usually needs to be massaged while the heat from the hair dryer is directed at the marks. This often will completely erase such leather scars or will at least lighten the marks so they are less noticeable. Leather protectant usually is an important item when you repair leather upholstery; it can be added to the area once the scuff marks have been treated. Filler colors also can hide stubborn scuff marks.

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Discuss this Article

heath925
Post 3

I think I'm going to need one of those leather patches for the seat of my car. Where do I find one? Should I look at an auto supply store?

And, is that a job I should be able to do myself, or will I have to take it to a shop where they know how to repair leather upholstery?

rosoph
Post 2

My couch has leather upholstery, and I have covered it with a leather protectant. So far, it has held up very well. But I'm happy to know that there are some pretty simple ways to repair it myself if the need arises.

I was pretty nervous about buying leather furniture in the first place, but I think it turned out to be the right decision.

roxytalks
Post 1

I can't believe a hair dryer can be used to remove scratches and scuff marks from leather! I never would have thought of that.

The seats in my car are looking a bit worn. I was afraid I'd have to take the it in somewhere to have leather upholstery cleaning done professionally. I really don't have the money for that, but I do have a hair dryer. I hope it really works!

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