"Do the tighten up" (how to shrink leather jackets to fit better?)

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by johnnyjohnny, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    a question for those of knowledge on the leather in A-2s, specifically i just got a cockpitusa current issue A-2

    at 6'1" and 185 i got a 44 long...46 long fits right-on in the military cuts, though a 46 will be fine too...

    the cockpitusa came, rather nice, but the leather looked drapey, maybe even baggey a bit...

    as with all new leathers i follow the prescription of lexoling it, then, after 30 min. spraying lightly once with some 'for leather' breathable water-proofing...

    after the lexol i noticed that the leather was not bagging and draping, but rather lying flat and clean with a nice real leather look vs. the fluffy/almost puffey and drapey look out of the box...i liiiiiiked this...

    after 30 min i hit it with the h20-proofing...

    after the lexol the jacket was cool, almost moist, and dried quickly...same with the h20 stuff...when it was done drying altogether the jacket laid flat, no puffey draping, and when i tried it on it had tightened up (hence the archie bell reference) perhaps what i'd estimate to be 3percent...since it was a "long" and i might really have gone with a regular, it looked just enough better lengthwise, and a bit cleaner and snugger all around...

    so, can the experts in leather care tell me if this process of lexoling (or any good leather care product) and also the h20proofing, does do the tighten up on leather? it certainly looks a lot better, and it was new to begin with...and it definitely looks...tightened up

    thanks, johnnyjohnny
     
  2. Salv

    Salv One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,247
    Location:
    Just outside London
    I've got no idea about the leather treatment, but I had to get that Archie Bell track out to listen to it. Killer bass intro!

    "Hi everybody..."
     
  3. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    ---archie bell​

    ---the Lexol bottle​

    they both do seem to know their business

    johnnyjohnny
     
  4. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,072
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    I didn't think anyone on this forum except me was old enough to remember Archie Bell and the Drells. This thread makes me feel better! The leather may have shrunk a bit with the application. Probably plain water would have done the same thing.
     
  5. Tariacuri

    Tariacuri New in Town

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Colorado
    Depending on what the lining is made from you can soak the jacket in hot water (washing machine - no agitation or spin, just fill it up), then put it in the dryer, zipped, with towels. Check on a regular basis.
     
  6. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    HoLY FLooDWATeR PaNTS BaTMAN...are you SuRE?!?

    thanks for the info, and i must admit to being tooo squeemish to ever try this.

    but i don't know i'll come around to sticking my leather jacket in hot water in the washer, and then into the dryer...sounds more like something they might do to someone on 'the sopranos'

    am still very curious...have you done this? and with what jackets? and how much shrinkage? and other fallout such as surface colour change, etc...and do others out there agree with doing this???

    thanks, johnnyjohnny
     
  7. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    GOT this suggestion...dunk your A-2 in the washer...opinions?

    in another thread i received this information about using water to shrink an A-2...following the suggestion is my reply...clearly i'm a bit incredulous, but would like to know if others think this is safe:


    would like to hear some reaction to this h20 scenario, thanks
     
  8. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,285
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    You are the odd man out. :)

    I've never heard of that Lexol business, but many of us have stuck a leather jacket under a hot shower and then worn it in the sun. I went with spraying it repeatedly with a mist of water. The leather shrinks and conforms nicely. Yes, it was an expensive jacket, but it became much too big for me, and the alternatives were shrink it, or sell it. Easy choice. I probably got it down one size, maybe a bit less.

    All such exercises should be undertaken with extreme caution.
     
  9. Tariacuri

    Tariacuri New in Town

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Colorado
    http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=23907

     
  10. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    going to the shrink

    thank you so much for that info...i just got my cockpit current issue a-2 and got a 44 long when i think i just should have gotten the regular...i love it otherwise, so between dunking it in the hot wash but not turning the machine on, and wetting it down as you have done, i think i've heard enough people doing this that i will go for it...i'll take your route, being a bit of a weenie with a new jacket, and gently wipe the body (which i'd like to shorten up) with hot water...

    if you or anyone else has any more info about this, i'd appreciate it...such as whether this water business does anything to the colour...which would bring up the question of whether i need to wet the entire jacket as not to have colour variations...

    all info is deeply appreciated
    johnnyjohnny
     
  11. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    gonna take a bath

    thanks...putting such a high end jacket in the drink, and having it come out like you wanted, and clearly in such nice condition, has made me reconsider my weenie-ness...i may be getting the washer ready...

    very much appreciated
    johnnyjohnny
     
  12. ideaguy

    ideaguy One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,041
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    I've got a great motorcycle jacket-too big. Would love to wear it and have
    it work correctly-gotta keep the air out, so has to be snug at collar and bottom of body. All black, incl. lining-acetate; wondering if a dip in a hot bathtub would do the deed???
    If anyone has any thoughts on this, please blast away- it's a shame I can't
    wear it the way it is, and only needs to come down one size- from a listed 46 to a 44...Help anyone??[huh] [huh]
     
  13. fishmeok

    fishmeok Vendor

    Messages:
    755
    Location:
    minneapolis
    You can get a little out of it, but in my experience the thicker leather will not shrink as much as an A-2 or something similar. If it's a quality jacket go for it- if it drys out a little put some pecards on afterwords. I think the only leather that would truly be damaged by any kind of hot water or dryer treatment would have either specific instructions (suede, etc) or be of inferior quality.
    Cheers
    Mark
    confirmed jacket-shrinker
     
    SJC likes this.
  14. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    lake balboa
    my Shrink2Fit results

    well, i did it...maybe the results will help people to guage their own experiments:

    i really liked my cockpitusa current issue a-2, but i had got a 44L not realizing these jackets are about 25 1/2" long from bottom collar to bottom jacket in the REGULAR...about an inch longer than earlier a-2s...soooooo...i wet-r-down

    swabbed the entire jacket carefully in warm water using soft paper hand towels...then dried it with a hair dryer...

    after this, it seemed to tighten up generally just a tad, but certainly not enough to affect the length...so i did the process again...then the next day i lexoled it...

    my result was to perhaps knock about 3/4" off the length, but still not enough for me to like the length...however, it tightened up the rest of the jacket so it fit a little more authentically, and just seemed to look better...

    i did notice a touch of colour (very small amount) lost in the collar and some edges...really like a normal jacket ages...so that could be considered a nice effect, or not, depending

    so that was the result...warm water and hair dryer, twice, and only about as much tightening to improve a jacket that needs a slightly better fit...i'd say the equivalent of about a quarter of a size...not much, but something to guage your own shrinkwrap projects by...

    johnnyjohnny
     
  15. Novos

    Novos One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, time to revive a really old thread. This weekend is the weekend I try to shrink a leather jacket with the warm water treatment. For those who have done it, what kind of temperature of water are we talking, lukewarm, warm, or screaming hot? The jacket in question is really awesome, but is just a little too wide in the shoulders (not by too much), and generally just needs to come down about a 1/2 size and she'd be perfect.

    And have people actually taken a shower with their jacket for this treatment? Hahaha. :D
     
  16. Sloan1874

    Sloan1874 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,339
    Location:
    Glasgow
    I'm fairly certain Butte has done this.
     
  17. armscye

    armscye One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    New England
    My experience with washing leather jackets

    I've machine washed about 30 leather jackets over the years, and routinely do so with any thrift shop find or other vintage item. They've ranged from mall type jackets to G&B and Vanson Horsehide. I use a front load Maytog Neptune, woolite, everything zipped and snapped, usually cold water. Here are my experiences:

    No jacket I have ever washed has damaged itself or ripped.

    No jacket washed in cold water and air dryed has shrunk.

    No jacket has lost its color. Generally, the effect on grain is marked and positive-- washing a jacket and then lexoling it yields fabulous grain in most cases.

    Yes, you can shrink jackets, but there are several caveats. Shrinkage comes from the temp of the washwater and the use of heat in drying. Jackets shrink uniformly-- you can't adjust length but not width or vice versa. The lining may not shrink as evenly, though it's usually not a major issue. In my experience, goat shrinks more than cowhide. You can come down about a size-- 46 to 44. Sometimes you don't get much shrinkage at all.

    If you want a jacket to fit just so, or need specific dimensions to be changed, find a leather-capable tailor and have the jacket restyled. Pulling in the body and slimming the sleeves can totally transform a jacket.
     
  18. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61

    Messages:
    10,214
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Yes, as has JanSolo and some others. I don't "wash" or put in the washer as some have though. I soak the areas with steaming hot water in the shower. Then, once it's good and soaked, I put in the dryer for ~10 mins at a time. Normal heat. Do this while trying it on to make sure it doesn't shrink too much or damage the hide. HH seemed to do better than seal in my experiences. Once it's the right size for your liking, put it on, whether it's wet or dry. Do this as often as you need to get it right for you. Just know that you could ruin it. I can't vouch for every maker, every style, or every hide. But take it easy and it should be fine. If it appears dried out, use something lighter like Lexol on it after. My 50's Aero HBD in FQHH I also out through a bunch of dryer only treatments - putting it on hot and wearing it. Good luck.
     
  19. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,072
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    I have used the same basic plan as Butte with several jackets. All have done well, and none was damaged.
     
  20. Novos

    Novos One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    Canada
    Awesome advice all. But what about for those of us without a "gentle" dyer. My building has the roughest 70s style washer/dryers which would probably destroy my jacket. I've hand washed leather in the tub before and air dried, will this be an issue?

    And Butte, how much did these jackets shrink?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.