Archive for category Leather Care Tips
Elizabeth: Wait! You have to take me to shore. According to the Code of the Order of the Brethren…
Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate’s code to apply and you’re not. And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner .
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (original title)
Sizes are more like Barbossa’s interpretation of the Code of the Order – guidelines! This means when you read that a size 10 matches a size 44 in European sizes be aware that you should always (always, always) check the cm or inch measurements as well. This is especially true when you are looking at handmade or designer models of leather jackets, skirts, pants and even vests, like those found at Pierotucci.com
The first guideline when purchasing online it is to start with some common ground between you and the online size charts in order to guarantee the best possible fit. However, if you don’t take your body measurements properly – you will find yourself even more confused then before. Requested body measurements can vary according the seamstress or tailors designs therefore when sending your measurements for confirmation always ask the vendor how they measure them so that you can match your method.
Pierotucci Leather Factory offers some standard guidelines for find your perfect fit with their online leather garments.
Some will tell you to measure from the shoulder blade to the neck, but Pierotucci suggests a full shoulder measurement.
Even though jackets which do not have defined shoulder seams can be fitted without this measurement, it is still important. Pierotucci will use this measurement to compare it with someone in the office with a similar fit to see exactly how the jacket will hang on the shopper.
It is also not a defining measurement for a vest, but it does help to make the fit as perfect as possible.
2) Sleeve – Let your arm fall naturally (and straight), then measure from the joint where the shoulder meets the arm to joint of your thumb to your hand. Unless the sleeve requires special snaps, buckles, zippers, etc. Pierotucci will normally suggest that you have it shortened at a local seamstress.
Any special customization on a jacket normalkly means that it is not refundable, so for an easy cuff adjustment it is wise try the jacket on and confirm the perfect fit before making any modifications that render the jacket un-returnable.
This is also the most common measurement to inacurately determine therefore have it done locally and save yourself any disappointment.
4) Waist – Again you will want to measure at the widest point, which is normally right across the belly button.
Both of these measurements are vital to a good fit, The chest measurement will allow for a comfortable movement with the arms as well as a good closure with the zip,snaps or buttons on the leather jacket or vest. Since many designs are “fitted” and will hug your figure it safe to say that accurate measurements will make sure that tummy won’t be sticking out. IF you like to where heavy sweaters or lots of layers underneather your leather clothing, then you should measure yourself fully dressed so that the seamstress can take this extra space into consideration when cutting your new leather garment.
5) Length – On a jacket this refers to the total length of the body of the jacket. Start from the base of the neck to where you want the jacket to hand down your back.
7) Crotch – for a good fit on your pants, put on a pair of pants with the waist drop exactly where you want it and then measure from the back of the pants, through your legs to the top of the front of the pants.
8) Inseam – again use the pants with a good fit and measure from the top of the inside of the pant leg to the bottom. However always double check what measurement the company uses for the pant length, some will use the measurement from the waist band to the hem. In any case, the hem on a skirt should always include the waistband. AND when in doubt ask that it is left without a hem and have it done locally.
One of the best things you can use to keep your leather bag, handbag or briefcase clean is to use a little umph when buffing it out. There are lots of things on the market designed to clean, shine, brighten, polish and all around transform your leather item but its not necessary to spend an arm and a leg for a special cream. In fact, many leather craftsmen (and women) will caution you about using them. Why? Because high quality leather is a considered a living breathing element to those in the sector, and when you start slathering chemical potions to “protect” and “clean,” you are in effect blocking the natural defense system that the leather has to protect itself. When buffing out a small scratch or mark in the leather, the quality control department at Pierotucci Leather Factory apply simple, home remedies to bring the life and luster back to their bags.
One of the most common remedy is a neutral body cream. Note, this cream should be without color and without a perfume scent. Just a little dab on an area that is dirty. Then use a soft, clean cloth (again look for neutral colors so that there is no color transfer) and a little bit of that elbow to rub out the mark. REMEMBER to always try the cream out on a small piece of hidden leather to be sure that it will not leave a mark or is too aggressive and takes the color off. This is especially important when you are unsure of the quality or origin of the leather. Another alternative is a simple white rubber eraser – exactly! just like the ones you used to buy along with all the other back to school goodies. This is particularrly useful on light colored leathers on the edges where the leather handbag or leather briefcase will get much wear and tear. Use the eraser to gently rub out the mark. The eraser is also fantastic for removing “sticky” stuff like gum. Again, you should always do a test job on a piece of interior or hidden leather to see that your bag doesn’t react negatively. In our quality control department, our department manager perfers to use the eraser as opposed to the cream when cleaning the folds or borders on wallets and handbags, she saids she feels as if she has more control on cleaning small marks and heavily worn areas.
Another alternative, especially useful for the darker colors, is a small dab of shoe polish. This is most appropriate with standard colors such as black, dark or light brown and even blue. – AGAIN, always test the color on a small piece of interior leather before applying to the bag. So before storing the briefcase or handbag in the protective storage cloth you will gently wipe the bag with a damp (not excessively wet) cloth, let it dry thoroughly and then examine for marks, scuffs, scratches or excessive dirt. Apply just a dab of the color to a dry cloth and rub into the bag. The Pierotucci quality control department advises that this process does not make the scratch or scuff go away, but it will help to make it a bit more “invisible”.
As you can see, even a company like Pierotucci Italian Leather Factory, who has been in business for over 30 years has found that many times its the small home remedies plus a little bit of elbow grease that make your bag come to life again. Though not all marks, scratches and spots are removeable it is possible to keep your bag in tip top shape by adhering to some simple, easy to follow rules and by keeping just a few simple items in the house. Two pieces of soft cloth – when to wet and wipe and one to buff (we have even found that a polishing glove is a handy thing to have), a little bit of neutral body cream, shoe polish, a soft bristle buffing brush, a white or transparent rubber eraser, a protective storage bag and tissue paper.
Keep your bag look like brand new.
I promise, this does not include any time spent on the treadmill or doing abs (unless you really want to). Taking care of your leather bag, handbag or briefcase is simple. Actually the most important steps you can take to safeguard the long life of your bag won’t even cost you a dime. Yet they can double the life of your leather bag investment! Last week, we spoke in detail on how to protect your purchase or gift in a protective cloth bag. Today we want to elaborate on how to store your leather bag or briefcase so that it keeps its shape.
Leather will fold and bend, and when stored for long periods of time will take on the form and creases of all that folding and bending. Therefore when slipping your leather item into the protective cloth bag provided with your Pierotucci item, be sure not to distort the natural flow of the item. Before slipping your bag into it’s protective cover, take the time to empty the bag completely and to stuff it with tissue paper. Use white or a neutral color paper so that you don’t risk any color transfer during the storage period. We suggest that you follow these simple steps to stuffing your bag to good health!
When stuffing the bag you should 1) bunch up a couple pieces of tissue paper in order to give the roll some thickness.
2) Place them on a flat sheet of tissue paper and start to roll them up.
3) Fold the ends of the tissue paper over the top to make the roll as long as the bag is wide – you are making this to fit into the base of the bag to help it keep its form, so in other words the roll you are making should be as long and wide as the bag itself.
If the briefcase or handbag is divided into several sections then you should make the rolls seperately so that each section gets filled. You will create the height of the bag by making more rolls to fit in.
4) Gently stuff the rolls into your leather bag – there is no need to fill the bag too much, just enough that it will stand and look as if it were full – showing no creases or unnatural folds.
Once you have finished putting the paper in the bag you can slip it in to the protective cover and draw the strings closed. Be sure to store the bag free and clear of other objects that might push into the bag and change the form.
If all things could be as easy as the interchangle belt buckle from Pierotucci. All it takes are three easy steps and you can change the color of your belt from a black calf leather strap to a dark brown leather strap. From formal to informal – with the flick of the wrist …
So here’s how you can change your look in three easy steps. First take your MADE IN ITALY belt buckle, available ineither a shiny gold or silver. The belt buckles come in two different styles, the classical buckle with the center prong or the panel buckle with a short prong used as a clip. The buckles shown to the right are both for 3 cm (1.18 inch) wide belts. This width is ideal for either formal or casual pants, though not normally indicated for jeans.
Step one: Open the clamp at the end of the belt buckle. You may need to insert a sturdy knife or screw driver to pry the clamp open. Work it carefully so as not to scratch the leather beneath. Your MADE in ITALY gold or silver tone belt buckle with open, leaving the slot free and clear for you to pull leather strap out.
Now in most cases you can simply turn the belt around and change your look by going from black to brown. However, you might also have other color leather straps and as long as these straps are the same width as the open slot on the belt buckle, you can interchange them as many times or wasys as you would like.
Step Two: Extract the leather belt strap. Leave the clamp open and carefully slip the leather strap out, becareful not to scratch the strap on the open clamp. Select the new leather strap (or turn it over for the reversible color) and insert the leather strap.
Step Three: The last step is to close the clamp. It will require a little bit of pressure, if you are going to tap the clamp down with a small mallet, be sure to cover the belt buckle with a soft cloth so not to scratch it.
And wa – la you have now officially changed your look in three easy steps!
The most important thing to remember about your leather handbag or leather briefcase is that leather breathes – Marco Galli, our Italian leather craftsman will tell you è vivo or rather it’s alive. This means that it’s appearance is influenced by the environment in which it is used and stored. Any kind of leather, even those that are treated, will eventually absorb excess moisture and in doing so will change the appearance of your leather bag. Especially creating a problem with unwanted molds, smells and discoloration.
When your handbag, bag, briefcase or even a leather accessory is not in use it is best to store them in a soft cloth bag. Most top quality designer handbags such as Toscanella, Pierotucci and Fortunata come with a flannel-like bag with a drawstring closure.
If your handbag doesn’t have one of these bags, you can easily sew one together or as an alternative use an old pillow case. It is important that the bag is a neutral and/or fixed color so that there is no color transfer during the storage time. It is also imperative that it has a large enough opening so that it is easy to slip the bag inside and so there is no need to bend or fold the bag in an un-natural way during the storage.
If a protective cloth bag is not provided with your purchase, or if you don’t have the opportunity to make one yourself you can use a plastic bag. This option should always be considered temporary because a plastic bag does not allow for a constant free flow of air. However if you tie it with a loose knot and poke several small holes in the bag it will provide protection. The nature of a plastic bag is to contain the moisture, so as soon as a cloth bag is available for your leather handbag you should switch it over.
The handbag should be wiped down before putting it into the storage bag thus removing any lose dirt or moisture. Look at our Tip 2 for more detailed information on how to prepare the bag to be put into storage. If you store your leather bag with dirt you risk the possibility of color transfer. Some leathers are not as absorbent to color transfer, however vegetable tanned leathers, natural leathers, rawhide or suedes will easily absorb dirt and color and it can become permanent if not cleaned properly. Before storing your leather bag, it should also be emptied completely – especially of makeup, perfume, pens and pencils – all of which can leak or break and thus destroying the beautiful appearance of your leather handbag, briefcase or leather accessory.
The first step for properly caring for your leather bag, handbag, briefcase or leather accessory such as a pochette, wallet or belt is storing it correctly when not in use.
A soft, flannel like bag is the ideal method of storage. This allows for constant circulation of air keeping the bag dry.
Kidskin is skin or hide that comes from goat. This type of leather, as you can probably guess, typically comes from the hides of baby goat, also known as kids. Kidskin is often used due to its well-rounded features, including its adaptability, durability, suppleness, and the fact that it is impressively light weight.
Like calfskin, kidskin is considered to be a higher quality leather and this is generally reflected in the cost of its leather products. Because kidskin tends to be a bit lighter in weight than calfskin while remaining a very strong material, it is often used for a number of leather items. This allows the leather to be quite flexibile and can be used to produce just about any type of leather clothing or accessory. However, it is most commonly used to make women’s and men’s leather gloves, boots and women’s shoes.
In fact, kidskin and leather gloves have a long history with each other, dating back to Victorian times. WiseGeek.com writes,
In the late 19th century, elbow-length opera gloves made from kidskin were an elegant alternative to shorter glove styles that only reached the wrist. These soft leather opera gloves became an important and popular component of lady’s formal wear, reaching their peak of popularity during the Edwardian era. In modern times, gloves made of kid leather are usually worn as winter outerwear rather than formal wear, but they continue to be popular with both men and women due to their warmth and soft, supple texture.
Of course, with any leather item there is special care that accompanies it to help ensure a long and lasting lifespan. Like most types of leather, kidskin should be placed and kept in moderate temperatures to avoid areas with extreme dryness or humidity. Doing this will help the leather keep its natural look and texture over time and reduce the possibility of the skind cracking. To upkeep and clean your kidskin you can dust off the leather, if necessary with a soft, dry cloth. The item can then be cleaned very cafeully with luke warm water. In addition, you can use a leather cream and conditioner. Once you have treated your leather set the item and leave to dry naturally without covering.
Here at Pierotucci we use several types of high quality Italian leather, both lambskin and calfskin included. It’s not a matter of one being better than the other, as both leathers are considered a luxury material, but there are in fact several differences between the two. As a general rule of thumb, we typically stick to using lambskin for leather garments such as jackets and coats and calfskin for handbags, wallets, and other leather accessories. The reason behind this is quite simple. Lambskin is a much softer, buttery type of leather and also much more light weight, easily forming to the body. You wouldn’t want to put on a jacket that weighed you down to the floor, would you? Calfskin however, is a tougher and thicker leather than lambskin, therefore better for handbags because the leather retains its shape more easily. Beyond the idea that lambskin is ultimately best for garments and calfskin for handbags, lambskin is also very insulative and protective, especially for its thiness. It stands up to cold climates better than any other synthetic material, which makes it the obvious choice for leather jackets. In comparison, calfskin is soft (although typically not as soft as lambskin) while remaining highly durable, making it good for harsh conditions and withstanding abrasions. So, the next time your’re out and about shopping for leather, feel the texture of it, look at the thickness, see how heavy it is and soon you will be a leather expert too.
Dying or giving color to leather is not an easy task to do, in fact it is a delicate and long process to achieve. For example Italy is one of the largest and greatest producers of the best leather internationally. The animal skin goes through a tanning process before receiving its final color in the Italian tannery. Italy, where I work, has been considered on an international level as one of the largest and greatest producers of high quality leather. I was surprised, because, yes, leather is “made,” it is not born leather. Working for the design and public relations in a prominent leather factory, helped me understand the steps that the animal skins take to become leather. I never thought that making even a pair gloves could be so difficult. Producing leather is hard and very costly, but the results are well worth the beauty.
The animal skin goes through several cleaning procedures called the tanning process. The fat, flesh and hair are removed. Then the skins are rubbed all over with wet salt until the dead skin is peeled off and skins get softer. After it has been treated with salt for a few months the skin is soaked in water to keep away dangerous and disfiguring bacteria (this process also assures the excess fat will be completely removed.) There are two different tanning process: vegetable tanning and mineral tanning. The process which is chosen depends on the type of performance which is required of the leather. Mineral tanning is used when you want to have a softer leather which can be used for more delicate light weight leather goods such as: handbags and leather clothing and jackets. Instead the vegetable tanning is a longer process and it is used to create a more rigid and/or stiffer leather. It is perfect for sporting equipment or leather accessories such as belts and luggage. The leather will be stronger and more resistant. It is only after a few days of absorbing the color and then a few more days when the leather dries out that it is ready for leather merchandise.
When one thinks of Italy they tend to think three things: Roman history, breathtaking monuments and countryside, and amazing food. The first two are spot on. No where else in the world are there as many blatant testaments to mankind’s past. Every corner in Rome is occupied by ancient ruins, centuries old piazzas, and symbols of a long lost history. It is nicknamed the “Eternal City” for a reason. Monuments are also a major attraction, ancient or otherwise. Florence, city of the Renaissance, has innumerable monuments in just about every hole and cubby that attest to the city’s artistic greatness. Great monuments can also be found in just about any piazza of any town, and lend to risk free viewing pleasure. So why do I highlight the first two great things about Italy as G-rated tourist pleasures, but not the last? Half the fun of coming to Italy is eating the fantastic food! Well I have a spoiler alert for all you destined to dine in the old country. Beware the stains! Below are my recommendations for stain removal from life experiences I’ve had in Italy. Trust me that handy Tide pen is not likely to help you here!
Today I’m going to tackle the two biggies: Red Wine and Olive Oil. First up to bat?
Now in a perfect world pastas and breads soaked in olive oil should be relatively easy to eat. You have your fork or you dip your bread, not hard. Remember though you are in the land of passionate expressive people. One well executed hand gesture from a neighbor could very well land that oil topped piece of bread in your lap. Same goes for the pasta. You are enjoying your pasta and didn’t realize you had a drop of oil on your lip and voila, it just landed on your khakis. So what DO you do and what DON’T you do.
Do: Blot the stain with a clean napkin. Use a clean spot of the napkin every time you blot. After you have removed the top layer of access oil, cover the stain with an absorbent powder like Talcum, baking soda, or cornstarch. Be generous with the covering. You will need the powder to absorb the oil out of your clothing. Leave the powder on for at least half and hour before lightly brushing off. If some of the powder sticks to the stain then great! Let it stay there, because it is still soaking up oil. Leave it there till you can properly launder it. Many restaurants do have talcum powder at the ready.
Don’t: Do not immediately go to the bathroom and use hand soap to try and wash it out. The majority of bathroom hand soaps are not grease fighting, and therefore will not effectively remove the stain. Also if you choose to wait to treat the stain when you launder your clothing, add a bit of detergent on top of the stain and let sit for a few minutes. Wash the garment appropriately, but do not dry it in a dryer! Let it air dry to check to see if the stain is really gone. Once you use a dryer you’ve pretty much set the stain for life.
This stain is much easier to imagine. We spill things on ourselves all the time, therefore red wine is a fairly common stain. The real question is how to the people of the land of wine treat this stain? Surely they have some inside secrets on effective removal. The answer is yes and no.
Do: We’ve all heard that club soda is a great way to get fresh red wine stains out. This is true, and fortunately Italy has an abundant supply of fizzy waters at the ready. Order a glass of water frizzante or gassata (gassata tends to be more carbonated, and will work better). Douse your stain with the water then rub/blot the stain with a clean napkin to remove the wine. Absorbent powders also work in this situation. After you have used carbonated water, and the stain is still there, even if faintly, use talcum powder to help absorb the remaining wine. Leave the stain covered with a light layer of powder till you are ready to launder it. If you are still in Italy, go to a regular supermarket and buy something call “sgrassatore”, a white liquid in a spray bottle. Spray the stain generously with this liquid, let sit for a few minutes, then wash.
And don’t forget the next time you pop open a bottle of wine, be sure to give thanks to the generations of Italian grandmother’s who have honed the art of removing food’s delicious reminders from our favorite clothes.