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Case Study | Vintage Leather Sports Jacket Repair

Introduction

The restoration of the 72yr old Leather Sports Jacket from the 1948-49 Falkirk Lions / Cubs ice-hockey team. The proud young chap in the first photo is the same charming older gent (now in his 90s) that bought the jacket to me and asked if I might be able to repair it for him. He was obviously the first owner of the jacket, then his son (a frequent customer) wore it at university, and now it can be passed on to the granddaughter and hopefully stay in the family for another 72yrs! 

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Minor Leather Repairs

The main aim for restoring this vintage leather sports jackets was to preserve as much of its originality as possible whilst prolonging its life. The first step was to address how dried out the hide was with the application of several reviving treatments. Once the leather was supple again the repairs could begin. In several areas the pigment layer had cracked and split exposing the fibres of the hide. The lose material was removed and the exposed areas sealed with a binder solution. Where necessary the surface of the leather was reinstated with a flexible filler, and the colour pigment matched and blended in - ensuring as much of the original pigment as possible was left untouched. 

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Leather Jacket Colour & Finish

Once all the repair work has been carried out, the colour pigments where carefully matched and blended in with the original, and as far as possible the finish texture was recreated. The finished jacket still retains much of its original colour pigment, patina and charm whilst being cleaner, freshened up and reinvigorated. 

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Background to the Jacket

In the post war period there were many Canadian players in the Falkirk Lions & Cubs squad. These players would return home for the off-season, prior to the commencement of the 1948 season they returned with a slice of North American sporting culture in the form of these leather sports jackets for the whole squad. Hence the link between Hamilton and Winnipeg on the jackets label. 

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Major Leather Repairs

By far the biggest challenge in the restoration of this vintage leather sports jacket was the extensive damage to the back panel. The colourant finish was dried out and cracked, as was the hide itself - and quite badly in some places leading to splitting right the way through. In order to address this the inner lining of the jacket had to be carefully opened up on several seams to give access to the rear of the hide. This area of the panel was reinforced with a carefully shaped new piece of hide glued to the inside, thus preserving as much of the original vintage jacket hide as possible. On the exterior of the jacket the excessively lose and flaky material was carefully scraped away in preparation for repairing the surface ready for new pigment. 

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The New Custodian

The family history with this vintage leather sports jacket will continue with it being passed on to the granddaughter and hopefully other generations to come. It looks as 'cool' today as it did all those years ago. 

There are many memories in that jacket and many more to come. It's a charming piece of local sporting history - so glad I could contribute to it's ongoing story! 

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