How I Fixed my New Leather Jacket

 I recently bought a new leather jacket on clearance.

  It was from a shop on the internet.  I had never bought from them before, but because they had the style of leather jacket I had been looking for and at a good price, I took a chance.

The leather jacket came as promised.  It is really a nice looking jacket.  But when I opened up the plastic bag that contained it, it smelt a little "musty."

I had hoped the smell would air out.

I was right about the "musty" smell airing out.  But after having the jacket in the open air, my Brass buttons/snaps turned to a crusty white, green, blue colors.

New Brass Buttons/snaps, exposed to Midwest, USA air for a day.

Well, I found out from reading on the internet that this is an "active" case of the copper in the Brass being oxidized (air/moisture/salt air).  Active case? 

This is what you call Brass Disease
Brass Disease is caused by mishandling the item while in storage or prior. 
 If left untreated, it creates pits, eventually causing deterioration of the metal.  
This Brass Disease also is catchy.  It spreads to other metal pieces next to it, infecting the new metal causing corrosion.
The Brass Disease is like a bacterial infection in the metal.

The Brass Disease will eventually (can be quite quickly)  infect the leather, ruining the leather as well.  We all probably have seen this happen with old/ antique leather/material items with metal buttons or rivets.  If left un-fixed, the item turns basically in to dust.

So, I promptly called and emailed the company.  I did this a couple of times.  The first time, I sent them a photo, the one above.  And I explained I would like to exchange it for a different one.  Their internet site promised a free-return label when requested. 

No answer to the emails.
Phone calls, no answer except for their generic message to leave a phone number.  

So after much thought I decided my options were to:
1).  Send back the jacket without their consent.  But then I maybe out of my jacket and my money.
2).  Or find a metal smith/someone who knows how to fix this problem.
3). Or, fix it myself.

Well because I live in a small town, I needed to study up on how to fix it myself.  Time was of the essence.  

My Renovation of my Leather Jacket buttons/snaps.

(The ART of Renovating)

I tried to use:  tooth paste, baking soda, and lemon.

First I used Tooth paste.  I used masking tape to tape off the leather under the buttons/snaps.  I did not want tooth paste on my leather, staining it.  
Next I took a fine, small brush and scrubbed the one button with tooth paste.  I rinsed it.
When it dried, I still had green/blue on the button, but shiny copper showing up.

I mixed baking soda with lemon juice.
I rubbed the button with Q-tips and this mixture.  I rinsed it and watched as it dried.  The button/snap still had blue-green on it.

And so here is what worked.

Like I said earlier, I used masking tape to tape under each button.  Problem with this was when I pulled off the tape, a little bit, here and there of the leather finish came off with it.  So maybe, I suggest trying painters tape where it isn't suppose to pull off paint/leather finishes?
My smaller snaps/rivets, that weren't going to show, I didn't bother taping.  

I used a clean, wet cloth, Q-tips, a bowl of fresh Lemon juice, and a bowl of water.

After taping my button, I wet my Q-tip in fresh Lemon juice.  (acid)  I rubbed it on the button/snap/rivet, trying not to get the leather wet with Lemon juice.  I rubbed for about 30 seconds.  I let it sit for 10 seconds or so.  I took my wet cloth and gently rubbed of the Lemon juice.  This (water on the wet cloth) inactivates the acid on the button/snap/rivet.  Leaving the Lemon juice on too long or rubbing too hard will cause most of the surface coloration to come off, showing copper color underneath.  And so you may end up with a shiny copper colored button/snap.

At times, I found I had to go back and reapply the Lemon juice and rub again.  I did this until all of the blue/green/white was off.  Make sure you go under the button also.  These buttons are actually snaps.  And so, make sure you also look inside of the snap and treat with lemon juice.

Now here is the kicker.  I found out the hard way, that if the Lemon juice got on my leather, it made my leather shrink up, pulling the leather from under the rivet!
The first time I saw the leather pulling out from under the rivet, which by the way took 1-2 seconds, I think my jaw fell to my knees in shock and dismay.

And so what helped was to not cover the leather with tape.  And before applying the Lemon juice, I used a Q-tip and applied water surrounding the rivet on the leather.  This way the leather is wet with water and not with the acid (Lemon juice.)
It worked!  My leather did not pull out anymore.

After I finished all my buttons/rivets with the Lemon juice treatment, I needed to use some sort of Brass lacquer/shellac to stop any new corrosion from forming.

But first, I let the buttons and rivets dry.

Well, I knew I had a bottle of clear nail polish around.  From  jewelry making using Brass jewelry labels, I knew using the nail polish worked well to coat the brass to stop any corrosion. (dark spots)

I had wanted to get those buttons/rivets covered as soon as possible.  I couldn't find my clear nail polish and so I ended up using a pink, murky nail polish.

So to each button/rivet I had treated, I added a thin coat of nail polish.  Make sure you get the underside also.
If  Brass isn't covered up with some sort of shellac/lacquer, it will start to turn dark in color.  I was not willing to see if the Brass Disease would start up as well.

I treated each button/rivet.  I let it all dry.
Here is the photo of what my buttons/rivets look like today.
In one photo, you will notice a dark area in the leather next to the rivet.  This is where the leather pulled out from under the rivet.  Again- make sure your leather is wet.  If this still happens  with wet leather, it will not be as bad.

In the photos, you'll notice the pink hue to the buttons.  That is all right with me-used pink nail polish.  They still look a lot better and are a lot healthier compared to If I would of left it.

Again, if I would of left the buttons/rivets, the Brass Disease would of completely ruined the leather jacket.  Now I can wear it.

I realize there is a product called Brasso.  I'm not sure if it would of done the trick, but I knew you could not use it with lacquered brass.  (At the time, I wasn't sure if they were lacquered.)

I have bought many items from the internet.  I have not had problems-basically.  But this  was a problem this company needed to address.  This was a problem this company needed to back their client, but failed to.  I will not under good conscious name the company.  But maybe this article will help others decide if they would like to buy Leather jackets from Internet sellers. 

My lesson here- I will not buy a leather jacket over the internet again.  It needs to be in a store on a rack.
The neat thing here is I learned how to repair Brass buttons/rivets from Brass Disease.
It's been a week now, and my buttons still look clean.
I am able to wear the jacket!
I'm grateful that I didn't lose my money on this or my jacket.  Yep, I have a damaged jacket, but it could of been worse!

Written by Cynthia Bergsbaken
October 9, 2020



Popular Posts


Show more