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Can You Repair Leather Wallets, Is It Worth It?

Are you considering throwing your wallet away or should you consider repairing it? We will try to explain some points for you to consider before you decide if it’s worth it. 

Most leather wallets can be repaired by a professional leatherworker. Frayed or broken stitches can be restitched or replaced. Seams of the leather wallets can also be fixed if they are slightly torn or worn out. Hardware may also be replaced or fixed so it’s best to first check what’s broken and then get an estimate for fixing. 

Let me give you a few examples to let you consider before throwing that wallet away and getting a new one!

Frayed Stitches of a Leather Wallet Can be Fixed

Frayed Stitches

If your wallet is made of quality veg-tanned leather and you have broken or frayed stitches it can be fixed. The section that is frayed can be removed carefully and then a new thread is used to restitch the seam using the existing holes. The wallet will be carefully taken apart and then possibly reglued as well before being put back together and stitched. Hand stitching, otherwise known as saddle stitching, is the best and most durable you can have with wallets. If the seam or thread breaks, the stitching will remain intact. 

Even if you have a lower quality of leather used it might still be easily restitched as well. However, if your wallet was machine sewn, those kinds of seams might fall apart very easily. So if your seam pulls apart very easily or the thread pulls away with a simple tug, it was probably machine sewn. But it can still possibly be restitched. 

Can Torn Leather Be Fixed? 

Depending on where your leather wallet is torn it might be fixable. If the wallet is torn in an area where there are no seams, you could stitch together the tear. Aesthetically it might not be the best option. However, if a customer’s wallet is so important to them and they insist, this can be fixed for a reasonable amount. You can consider it just like sewing up or stitching a cut on your own body for example.

The second option for torn leather in an area without seams could be a leather patch. This is where we could add a piece of similar or different colored leather over the area and stitch it over the tear. You do this with clothes and there is no reason it cannot be done with leather. Once again, this is up to the owner of the wallet. We could even add it as a logo or monogram badge where they could “hide” it and make it look as if it were a part of the design. Also, 2 complimentary but contrasting colors could look good.

What about Torn Leather at Seams? 

torn leather seam
Torn Leather Seams

When your leather wallet is torn at the seam this means the holes where the stitches were have broken apart. Depending on how many holes are torn will determine if it’s possible to re-stitch the seam. If it were only a few stitches then we could re-stitch over the area and as long as it’s not a high-stress area it will be fine. But if it’s on a seam with a zipper that is being opened and closed often this is not a great option. The tear may get bigger and weaker with use. 

If the leather seams are torn and the whole piece of leather is all by itself, we might be able to replace the piece of leather. If the wallet was made by us, we would certainly have the patterns to remake the piece in question. If it is not our wallet then we could recreate the piece and possibly match the color leather. However, unless the leather used is a standard veg-tanned piece the colors and patina will always be slightly different shades. You can check out one of our newest wallets, the wave design L-shaped wallet.

Can you match the thread used in my torn wallet?

Another important thing we must check is the type of thread used for your wallet. The best threads aesthetically are linen threads. And when it comes to strength linen doesn’t give! That’s why it’s been used since early times. We wax them before stitching and they are strong and last. Many bags also use lower-quality polyester threads. Since these kinds of threads are made from plastic they will degrade faster over time. They are affected by temperature and moisture and abrasion. Also for hand-stitching, we only use linen threads. You can check out this very useful article if you want to learn more about linen threads.          

If your wallet uses either type of these threads we can use them as well. But we will have a check to see if we have the same diameter and color of thread. As you might imagine there are many different shades hundreds and hundreds of different colors used. We will select one that’s close to the color that you use. But we cannot make an exact match unless your wallet just happens to use the same type of thread we do. Of course, if we’re fixing our wallets then we can color match the threads.

Can hardware be replaced on a broken wallet?

Leather Hardware

If you have any broken hardware on your wallet it probably can be fixed with replacement parts. Much of the hardware used for leatherworking like snaps and zippers is fairly standard. However, once again the color and the quality of the hardware can vary. Depending on what color or material is used, we can do our best to match your hardware. We prefer to use things that are all-natural brass because it ages and holds up well over time. Coated metals are generally not chosen because they will be easily discolored over time. 

One common type of hardware used is snaps and those are easy to replace. We simply remove the old ones and then add a new snap. D rings are also very simple to replace without any problem. However, the most complex parts of some wallets are the zippers. And those are hard to replace. Zippers are of various qualities and colors. Did you ever notice that metallic zipper teeth can come in a variety of colors? The zipper teach can be brass, gold, silver, and black as well as a whole range of colors. Also, the fabric of the zippers comes in a wide range of colors. In principle, zippers can be replaced but we would need to look at the construction of the wallet and how much of the wallet will need to be taken apart to estimate the cost.

Can The Edge Seams Of My Wallet Be Fixed?

Edge Paint Wear

Veg-tanned leathers are easily burnished, meaning they are rubbed to a shiny texture. That’s what we use in our products and no plastics or edge paint is needed and only a natural material is used to either dye the edge or seal it. These kinds of burnished edges retain their look and feel. Over time they develop a nice patina like the rest of the wallet. If these kinds of seams are damaged or torn, they might be repairable. If the seam is torn, that can’t be fixed, but the rest of the seam might be ok. Those can be sewn back and burnished again.  

Some wallets have what can appear like colored edges and we call that edge paint. Lower quality leathers that are not able to be burnished usually need edge paint to seal them. Edge paint is usually not “paint” but rather an acrylic or plastic material. It’s normally polyurethane in the base of the edge paint.  Edge-painted seams may be repaired by removing the edge paint by sanding or sometimes peeling off. Since most types are plastic by nature they do come off easily. 

That is also why we don’t like to use edge paints on our seams. We prefer to keep things natural. If your wallet is made from either high-quality veg-tanned leather or chrome tanned leather the wallet can be fixed. But depending the extent of the damage and location will determine how successful the repair will be. We will be happy to quote you a reasonable repair estimate. Just send us an email, photo, and description of what happened and we will try to give you our best solution and estimate.