suede leather

What Is Suede Leather?

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Suede leather is a different kind of leather made from the middle layers of the hide, which then split into several small, thin layers. It is velvety-soft to the touch, textured feel, unique visual appearance, dyed in different colors, and durable. 

The layer from which suede leather is made is often called the flesh side or underside of the hide. It is widely used in jackets, gloves, shoes, and upholstery.

History of Suede leather

The term Suede is derived from 1859 when fine ladies’ leather gloves were used to produce in Sweden. Those gloves were comfortable, luxurious, soft, and have a raised fiber nap.

The French called them “Gants de Suede,” which means “gloves of Sweden” in English. Due to the global popularity of this Swedish material among the nobility, and soft leather with a nap of raised fibers was specified as “Suede.”  

For a number of decades, Suede production remained limited to gloves. But with the passage of time, Suede production was prolonged into shoes, jackets, bags, and other products we know of today.

What makes Suede different?

The notable difference you will see is the surface, which is almost fuzzy and made up of small, raised leather fibers via the sanding process. These fibers are compacted together to make the surface feel smooth and soft. The sanding process can be applied to either one or both sides of the leather and is referred to as “double-sided suede” or “single-sided” suede.

Suede leather is built from the skin of lamb, deer, goat, and calf. Sometimes, the splits from cowhide are also used to make suede leather. 

It is usually thin and used in delicate textile applications because of its subtle allure.

This leather doesn’t have the original protective layer the animals naturally have, which makes the leather dirty and liquid stains easily. 

Professional cleaning is required to keep this leather in good condition. Machine washing the products made from suede can ruin them.

What is embossed Suede Leather?

A surface pattern applied or embossed on the leather for design preferences and aesthetics is called an embossed Suede leather. Usually, stimulated grain, geometric, or a random pattern is applied on the surface in a wide range of colors. The surface will remain velvety-soft on the touch. 

Is Suede leather water-resistant?

Suede leather is not water-resistant, but it does not lead to permanent damage once wet. The raised fibers can attract water easily and turn the color to dark once wet.

When the leather gets dried, it will return to its original color and state.

Sometimes, particular finishes can be applied on the surface to make Suede water-resistant. However, covering the desirable surface eliminates the feel that comes from the raised fibers and makes it more difficult to condition.

Does Suede leather scratch easily?

Yes, it scratches easily because it is natural leather, and the scratches will leave marks on the surface. But you can make the scratch less visible by brushing the fibers in a way that masks the scratches.

Rub your finger over the small scratches to buff them out. If the scratch is deeper, apply a leather conditioner to the scratch and surrounding area, then buff it out after a short while.

If the scratch is very deep, try a leather filler kit with color matching options. Pick a close visual look at the existing leather and follow the instructions mentioned on the kit.

Is Suede leather expensive?

Not really. It is a bit less expensive than high-quality vegetable tanned leather made from cowhide. 

Care and maintenance of Suede leather

Since suede leather is comprised of natural fibers, and if you keep its surface clean and conditioned, it will stay strong and look great.

Here are some tips for suede care and maintenance.

How to clean Suede leather?

Use a moist microfiber towel to clean the surface by rubbing it over the surface. Do this process in straight motions in changing directions. In this way, the raised fibers will help move dirt and debris away. Make sure not to grind deeper into the fibers.

If the leather has difficult stains, use a dedicated leather cleaner that is gentle enough to clean without damaging the leather.

How to condition Suede leather?

If there are no finishes applied on the surface of Suede leather, its fibers dry out quickly. So, it is imperative to frequently condition unfinished suede leather.

To condition, apply a wax, cream, or oil, onto the surface using an applicator, soft cloth, or brush and wait till the leather absorbs it in. 

The leather will become more flexible, supple, feels better in hand, flexible, and resistant to scratches when conditioned.

How to fix tears in Suede leather?

You can fix tears in suede leather by sewing. But it will never look as same and smooth as the original piece. Use a fine, strong thread to sew small holes, ripped or torn areas. You can also use leather glue for small tears to join two torn areas. Make sure to pick the color of glue near the original leather color to make it less noticeable. You can also use Acrylic paint onto a leather product to cover the glue. 

How to store Suede leather?

Store the products made from suede leather in a cool, dry, dust-free location. Allow the air to pass so that the natural fibers have some space to “breathe.”

Avoiding keeping it in a sealed environment will deteriorate the leather and mold it with the increased humidity. If suede shoes or boots are wet, ensure they have had ample time to fully dry out before storing. 

You can store them in a dressing room or closet with average livable temperature, humidity level, and frequent airflow. Some leather goods come with storage duffle bags. They’re usually a breathable fabric that helps keep cut off

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