Sometimes items will arrive in our atelier that seem like they just need a good old fashioned deep clean. However, even though our team always try their utmost to remove stains it all depends on the nature of said stains against the material and in some cases this means colour and leather restoration is needed. Learn how our atelier team expertly restored the vibrancy of this orange Tyler Ellis bag back to its original condition.
We interviewed Tyler Ellis last year on her journey to creating her accessories line. You can read more about it here: http://bit.ly/TheRestory-TylerEllis
This bag is made from an incredibly soft, open glove leather that has been semi dyed in a vibrant orange colour. This was a real challenge for the restoration team as the way this was processed isn’t as easy to restore as fully pigmented leather. But, we love a challenge here at The Restory so took it on with open arms.
It was in need of cleaning and restoration due to some unfortunate stains from a poorly puppy. The stains were on the top right corner of the front of the bag and one of the gussets, which made the area stiff and more difficult for the team to manage.
The team needed to take a considered approach to this restoration. There needed to be the perfect balance between concealing the stains and ensuring the softness of the leather wasn’t affected. Our artisan opted for a colour restoration with pigments and only applying thin, delicate layers of paint so the bag wouldn’t lose neither its softness nor its many shades of orange; typical of an aniline or semi aniline leather. Aniline leather is dyed exclusively with soluble dyes, which results in the product retaining the hide’s natural surface.
We started by cleaning the bag to see how much of the stains we could we remove with a general cleaning method. It became apparent that the stains had already been fully absorbed by the leather. This made it much harder to remove them simply with cleaning products. In order to soften the stiff, stained leather our artisan sanded and then massaged the leather. Then, it was time for colour restoration.
Our atelier team deglazed the whole bag in order to open the pores making the leather more absorbent before applying the paint, making sure the thick stitching was taped to avoid any paint transfer.
The paint was hand mixed, as standard in our atelier, ensuring the perfect match to the original colour. The team used four different types of pigments to get the right colour. The first layer was applied with a sponge that was slowly tapped onto every aspect of the bag. We used this method of application, as with such open leathers there are risks that reactions could occur when applying paint, which could cause the pigment to change. This requires a lot of patience but it guarantees safer results in terms of colour balance.
For the smaller details, such as the 1.5mm in between the stitching and the edges, the paint was applied with a small brush for a tidier and more controlled outcome, but with the same tapping motion as opposed to normal brushing.
For the finishing touches, our artisan hand mixed a satin finisher to protect the paint. Special attention was paid to finding the right balance between shiny and dull. Again, as the bag was made of such a soft, open leather a shiny finish would contradict the natural look of such beautiful leather so two thin layers were gently applied with a cloth and the tape was removed from the stitching. As standard practice at The Restory, the bag was then left to dry and cure for a week.
Our atelier team is made up of all kinds of experts in their craft from handbag makers, milliners, shoemakers to colour theory specialists. We take pride in respecting the craftsmanship of every item we receive. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have anything in need of some restoration magic by using our preliminary quote form.