Friday, March 9, 2012

Repairing The Vintage Handbag


I just made a outfit to match this bag, it's coming up soon!
We all have them, that favorite handbag that needs some TLC.  Typical problems occur as time passes, but don't worry you can fix a lot of them. Here are some tips, tricks, and great products that you can use for home repairs.  If in doubt, please contact a professional. Most shoe repairs businesses offer handbag repairs as well.  In this post, we will discuss how to repair color fading on leather bindings,  dents and creases in patent purses, stains,  handle replacement options and linings.

Patent bags:
These bags get dents and scratches easily. The good news is most dents come out pretty well with a steam iron. To remove a dent, take your steam iron holding it two inches away from the dent and steam the spot for 3-5 minutes, alternating 30 seconds of steam  and then rubbing with your fingers or a soft cloth across the warm patent. Continue working with the patent until the dent comes out for the full 3-5 minutes. The dent should be faded and smooth out. If not on the first try, wait a few  hours giving the patent time to reshaped itself, then have another go at it.  I had a major dent in my black bag and this technique worked really well, again be careful with the steam avoiding getting too much water near the stitching and hardware. It's great having the soft cloth ready to wipe away extra steam droplets as you go. You will find this process is great for scratches too.  For scuffs use a Magic Eraser. Your bag will look new again!

Leather bags:
Fiebings Black Leather Dye, 4 Ounce
Leather bags wear the most at the seams, these areas are called bindings. Over time bindings can turn a whitish color, they look faded and worn.  The edges can be fix with some leather dye.  I can't tell you how many bags I have saved by dyeing their binding with this great leather dye product. The trick is to find a matching color of dye. It's also important to test. To start, make sure you have cleaned your bag with some leather cleaner and allow to dry. Prepare your work area, placing your bag on an old towel, wearing plastic gloves is helpful too. The dye comes with it's own applicator, which I do not use because putting the dye directly onto the leather can lay down too much color. I have found that using a soft cloth and removing some of the color on the towel first, makes it easier to be consistent. If you apply small bits at a time the color be more even. Once you have the bindings looking good, allow them to dry and enjoy!  One thing to keep in mind is that the color dye can come off slightly when you clean your purse. This is normal. Also this process is not going to restore cracking leather. In this case, you may want to have a leather restorer replace your bindings. If you have a Coach bag, you may be able to send it back to the company for new binding. I had a vintage, coach bag that needed new bindings, so I sent it back and they put brand new bindings on and the purse looked great.


Beaded Bags:
We have talked about the beaded bag and sewing on a bead. This can be easy done with the right bead. Here is an article with more information on using beads. I found it so useful. I only have one beaded bag, so I haven't had to put on any beads, but I didn't want to leave this information out for you gals who love beaded purses!


Misshapen bags:
Bags get stored in so many ways that can wreak havoc on the structure of a purse. Sometimes a bag's shape can be repaired, and sometimes not.  If the structure of the bag is pliable. You may be able to mold it into shape with some steam, siting in a sunny place, or using a hairdryer. Heating up your bag will make it softer. You want to keep your handbag stuffed slightly, a t-shirt is great for this. Remember it took sometime for your handbag to get out of shape, it may take some time for it to remold itself. Be patient and persistent. Keeping your bag full will help it to maintain it's shape. I have been able to change the shape of one bag in my collection. It's not perfect, but much better and sits less sideways.

Linings:
I made a video on how to make your own linings for you vintage purse, check it out here. I make a lot of linings for my bags and enjoy the functionality of them. If making linings are not your thing and you want to clean the existing lining, try some Oops cleaner to remove stains. Lipstick is the worst offender, if you have a lipstick stain, dab the stain, very lightly with denatured alcohol and then use some dish washing soap on the spot. Rinse with a wet cloth. For ink stains use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Gently rub stain, if it doesn't budge, try using a little fingernail polish remover. Careful with these products! They can take color out along with the stains.

Handle replacement:
I have a beautiful, black bag with a broken handle. I am going to replace the handle with the help of my shoe repair guy. If you have a handbag with less than perfect handles, there are a couple of options that you may want to think about. Firstly, you can buy new handles at any crafting store. I found some at Joann or you can buy a vintage bag for it's parts. Because I am a handbag nut!  I always lean towards finding a vintage item to replace a vintage item. I was able to find a beat up black, patent bag that I am going to use it's handles for a bag that I truly love.  If you have a sewing machine that will sew through anything this may be a DYI project if not, a good shoe repair place may be the option for you. They can sew the new handles on for you pretty quick.

Well, I am wrapping up these posts on the vintage handbag.  I hope they were helpful to you. Above all, enjoy your bags, use them, love them, show them off!

Have a wonderful vintage day!

Gina

29 comments:

  1. Another fab post - these have been great. I had no idea you could steam dents out of patent - that's a great tip!

    Look forward so much to seeing the outfit you've made to go with that beautiful bag! xxx

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mrs. Exeter, the steam works wonders. hugs!

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  2. This is a wonderful purse- you are brilliant!! I have the most beautiful green leather 1940's box purse but the poor thing has a lot of little scuffs and indents. I had no idea that it could be repaired with steam! Thank you so much for this article, going to share it now! x

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    Replies
    1. The biggest thing I have learned with getting dents out of patent is to have a good steam iron, one that gives good burst, I have a Rowenta. Also working with the patent, at first you think nothing is happening and then it starts working it's way out. You really need to work the full 5 minutes for the tough ones. Good luck!!

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  3. Very helpful!Thanks for the tips,I'll have to try the steam one

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, you should see some nice improvements! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Gina you are really the bag expert. I don't have even one vintage bag here. I watched the video and that was great.

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    Replies
    1. Oh Nan, I am not an expert, just a gal who really loves vintage handbags! I have tried so many things and these tips seem to work the best for me. The video was fun to make, Maybe you need to start a little vintage collection of handbags to go with those great clothes you are making!!

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  5. Great post! Thanks for the tips. I have a question, that's not bag related, but for fabric.
    I would like to make some summer skirts. Can you please suggest material? I don't care for linen
    or anything polyester(i get way to hot in summer) I made some cotton skirts (love cotton, my favorite for summer wear) but i made them out of cotton quilt, and they were ok, but not the best. You have such pretty summer skirts, are they made of cotton material?
    thanks for any suggestions. Im anxious to start sewing my summer wardrobe.
    Keep up your great work, you are truly so talented!
    Irene(from NJ)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Irene, I understand your love for cotton. A lot of my skirts are made out of linen look fabric. I don't love linen because it wrinkles, but the linen look doesn't and has a nice drape to it. Seersucker, lightweight denim, and duck material are a few others materials to consider. I just made a red skirt from rayon, but honestly, I don't like how rayon tends to wash and wear, but for now the skirt looks great. Thank you for your sweet comments, I hope you make some beautiful things soon!

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  6. Thanks so much for this invaluable advice!

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  8. Hi Vintage Girl,

    I'm intrigued by yor suggestion of steaming patent leather. You talk about 'dents' in the patent leather. Is that the same as the tiny cracks that develop over time? I have a gorgeous vintage black patent leather Judith Leiber evening bag. It's in pretty good condition for its age (c. 1950s). But it has quite a few 'lines' or 'cracks' on the surface that I'd like to remove. Do you think the steaming method will work for these marks? I don't want to damage it or remove the shine from the patent leather.

    Also, I have a large brown leather bag that has a small water stain on the bottom of the bag. Do you have any suggestions on how to safely remove it?

    Thanks!
    Pixie

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  9. what would you suggest for leather bags that have corroding straps? On a few of my over-the-shoulder vintage bags, the leather has become hard/tough and I worry about wearing them out for fear the straps will break.

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  10. Hi Liana,
    This is a major problem with the over the shoulder bags. Keep them well moisturized with leather cream. The other thing I have done is sent them out to http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/Home-10551-10051-en?isCollapse=true. Coach has a repair center that restored a few of my bags years ago. So you may want to replace that straps, they can match most colors of leather. Also a good leather/ shoe repair place maybe able to match a strap for you. Good luck!Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Well, leather dye, leather crean and leather conditioner are very good option to make ur designer bags shiny and keep in new shape. Very nice post and awaiting for another.

    Leather Repairs....

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  12. I have an old weave purse, I received this from my Mom, its probably 50 years old. I was using it and put it in my car and I had some dry cleaning in the car and the hanger put a hole in it.
    It is a stiff weave of natural color. What do you suggest? Is their anyone out their that does this type of repair. I took it to a shoe repair and they said it would be hard, as the lining is sitchted by one kind of machine and he wasn't sure what to do, except it has gold handles and gold trim, and he suggested to get a round gold snap to cover the hole.

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  13. Wow! Wow! And Wow! It’s truly an honor. Thank you so much! I’m new to this and working hard to get out there.

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  17. Just amazing!!!!! These designs are specific and i am such a lot enamored withe these coach handbags. i do not know why but I'm having imagination of various cartoon characters in these bags and i am such a lot liking it. I'm always probing for new design bags, I'm so glad that I've found your post. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Hi-thanks for the post -extremely helpful! Could you also let me know how to get misshapen or twisted handbag straps back into shape ?
    Many thanks!

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  20. I have a beautiful vintage bag and the patent leather is separating at the corner seam....any good fix suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi,
    Great and beautiful collection Leather bags wear the most at the seams, these areas are called bindings.

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