Tutorial: How to fix frayed faux leather

By | March 1, 2013

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (1)

The little girl got these boots for her birthday last fall, and since then, she’s worn them nonstop.  I wanted her to have a pair of boots to wear with thick tights and leggings during the winter, so we picked out this cute little pair for her.

She’s only seven and she’s growing so fast these days that we’re not about to splurge on the real stuff, so these are made of faux leather.  “Pleather,” she says.  “That’s what Dad calls it.”

Well, whatever they are, after a few months, they’re looking a little…well, less than new.

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (2)

The pleather is starting to fray at the edges, leaving these unsightly little white strings. And nothing screams “PLEATHER” like unsightly little white strings.

Fortunately, there’s a quick little trick that can save these boots from the shame of worn-out pleather. Faux leather, it turns out, is actually just a type of plastic…and it melts just the same!

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (12)

Take the string and fluff them up – basically, try to make them stand out from the surface of the material as much as possible.

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (13)

Then, very carefully, move a lighter towards the strings just until they start to melt.  Be very careful – it will melt very, very quickly!  Most of the time, the strings will start to melt and shrivel before they even come in contact with the flame.  But as they do, they’ll shrink down to nothing.  For extra protection against future strings, squish the melted plastic down into the seam.  It will create a hard plastic seam – and will virtually disappear!

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (18)

Voila!  Much better, yes?

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If your faux leather item is sewn with acrylic or polyester thread, you can fix loops like these in the same way.

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (16)

Again, just use the lighter to melt the thread.  Threads like these may actually catch fire, but just blow them out right away and you’ll be right on track.  Again, squishing the melted plastic against the surface of the material will help keep the same seam from fraying in the future.

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (17)

Can’t even tell where the thread was, can you?

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (19)

Almost good as new!

March 2013 - Frayed pleather (4)

Well, almost.  She is only seven, after all.

This technique will work with any polyester or acrylic based material.  Just test it in an unobtrusive place before you dive in.

So the next time you’re at the thrift store and you see a cute bag or shoes, don’t turn them down just because they’re frayed – just take them home and fix them up!

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