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How to wash clothing with leather patches

How to wash clothing with leather patches // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Sweater: Briar sweater sewing pattern + FREE elbow patch patternleather patches tutorial

You may have noticed that i really love leather patches – i especially love adding leather patches to my Briar’s (i actually now have 4 Briar‘s with leather patches! obsession!). And does anyone remember Buddy’s adorable leather patch jeans from last year? (swoon! that kid is cute hehehe).

I’ve been seeing a lot of people getting really creative with adding leather to their Briar’s, which is just awesome! I get so excited. I’ve shown you how to sew them a few times, (shoulder patch tutorial here, elbow patch tutorial here), but I know a lot of you felt lost as to how to wash them when you’re done. Which is totally fair enough – it can seem scary the first time! But never fear, today i’m going to tell you how i do it! yay!

Would you pleased to know that it’s actually really easy? I looooove easy :)

How to wash clothing with leather patches // @megan_nielsen

I treat my clothing with leather patches the same way as i would treat any other delicate fabric – i  handwash using this process. I recommend you re-read that post – but the basic gist is, use a delicate wash (i recommend delicare and eucalyptus wash), hand wash in tepid water, rinse and roll up in a towel to remove the water.

After i’m done and the garment is laid flat, i then check whether the patches are aligned correctly and make sure they haven’t warped or shrunk in the process. Sometimes if i need to i’ll reshape the leather patch whilst it’s wet bring it back to it’s original shape. If i’m worried i’ll come back a few times while its drying to check that the leather patches are still okay – but to be honest, i’ve never had to reshape them again, that first time does the charm for me.

After the garment is dry we’re good to go! The leather patches may feel a little stiff, but they’ll soften up with wear. You can iron the inside of the garment gently to soften them up if you like.

Never hang a garment with leather pockets to dry. Always flat. Always flat. Just speaking from experience. I tried to hang my leather pocket Briars to dry a few times, and it was awful – the weight of the leather hung forward, and gave the pockets a weird shape. So i’d stick to the method i share above :)

Also, never ever tumble dry leather. If you do i will yell at you, ok? That’s probably about one of the quickest ways to ruin those lovely patches and any clothing you attached them to. So hands off that dryer people!

And very last don’t – stay away from harsh laundry chemicals. I avoid sprays, bleach and even my regular laundry detergent and softners. Just stick to a delicate wash

I hope that helps! I’m not an expert, but this method has worked really well for me and my leather patches still look excellent. If you have any questions or tips to add – let me know in the comments!


About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Dee Durrant
11 years ago

Hi Meg
I asked this question about a weeks or so back and you kindly replied with the above but I never replied to say thank you. I have recently washed my leather patch Briar following your instruction and it is still perfect – so a belated thank you!

11 years ago

Great advice!

I made some leather patch skinnies for P last year (Felix wears them now), and I just launder them along with everything else. they’re a little dry from time to time, so I put on a little moisturizer. It’s totally cheating, but the leather has worn nicely. I would also note, that our dryer is totally crappy so it turns slow and doesn’t ever heat up, so I’m sure once we get a new dryer, I’ll be putting it flat to dry.


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10 years ago

I love to use leather patches, but I was worried how to wash when it got stinky, dirty, and got some stains. One of my friends recommend me to wash with Leather-Clean solution in water at my own home. I did it. It works nice.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Sargent Draino
9 years ago

Hi! I’m researching this issue because I have a safari jacket I just got, that has a couple of suede leather patches on it. One article I read:

…indicated that people have been getting good results machine-washing leather items (including suede) using Murphy’s Oil Soap. I’d be interested to hear your opinion on this, as well as feedback from anyone who’s tried it. From the comments at the link provided, it seems like quite a few people found it worked effectively without harming the leather. So far I have not seen any feedback from anyone whose leather item got messed up using this method, but I have not tried it myself yet. Thoughts? Experiences?

Grady Elliott
5 years ago

I am reading your blog and I get the right information about how to wash clothing with leather patches. The right information doesn’t care you’re clothed and you wash anywhere, howsoever so your clothes are may be bad. Great info. I like your blog.

Bradley Rebecca
5 years ago

Actually, I got the right blog because I don’t know how to wash clothing with leather patches. I have 3 clothes with leather patches and I am scared how to wash this cloth. I am thinking in mind washing time do not destroy leather patch. Thank you share the useful information.

Refat Bhuiyan
Refat Bhuiyan
2 years ago

I have a Balmain hoodie with leather on the shoulders and the dry cleaners refused to wash it due to it being a designer garment and they don’t want to be responsible. So I have to hand wash it using your method. Thank you.