Vegan leather is a good replacement for people who appreciate the feel of leather but would prefer to skip any animal byproducts. But, does vegan leather stretch? Is it as durable as its non-vegan counterpart? Let’s have a look.
Is Vegan Leather Softer Than Animal Leather?
Faux leather is not all made from the same materials. Some are produced using polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane whereas other fashion garments include cork as one of their primary materials.
Whether called pleather, vegan leather, or another term, it is all called the same thing.
Subsequently, not all vegan leather has an identical feel to it, which is broadly speaking like real leather too.
Vegan leather is not normally naturally softer than animal leather.
Often, it’s initially harder.
A vinyl conditioner may be used to make it softer over time.
A clean cloth with a little conditioner rubbed carefully over the faux leather surface will help. Doing so in gradual circles is the best method.
Any excess conditioner that wasn’t absorbed by the material should be wiped off.
It’s possible to complete this process multiple times to increase the softness. However, it’s a time-consuming process requiring 30-60 minutes each time.
Check out our article on other non-vegan clothing materials which you may want to check out.
How To Stretch Vegan Leather
Does vegan leather stretch? Vegan leather does stretch, but not anywhere as much as real leather will do.
There is a far greater likelihood of the vegan leather cracking when trying to stretch it too far.
Faux leather is far thinner than real leather, making it easier to create cracks in it.
Therefore, it’s more important to purchase a garment that fits you well, rather than expecting to stretch it later.
Similarly, if you like to make clothes at home, don’t expect to stretch faux leather material. Instead, measure twice and use an appropriate amount of the material instead.
A boot tree or using another approach is possible for stretching.
The general idea here is that the leather item goes over the boot tree, and it stretches it by being a single size larger.
It’s not a foolproof method but it’s probably the best available.
What To Do If Your Vegan Leather Stretches or Wrinkles
Stretched vegan leather can be reduced in size by washing it in a warm setting.
For plastic-based faux leather, a hot setting will cause the leather to melt and adhere to the internal drum.
Therefore, only a warm setting on a reliable washing machine can be used to avoid this.
If you’re unsure of the washing machine’s adherence to heat settings – or how warm the ‘Warm‘ setting is – then don’t wash the pleather at all. Otherwise, the cleanup could be unpleasant!
Wrinkled vegan leather should never be ironed to remove the wrinkles.
This applies especially to polymer-type faux leather than will burn if you do.
The best approach is to cover the garment with a sheet or towel and to use a steamer. This applies sufficient heat to help the wrinkles come out without the risk of burning the vegan leather itself.
A dryer may be used to dry vegan leather afterward. Care should be taken again with the heat setting to avoid melting any plastics within the faux leather material.
When your vegan leather is made from a less used material such as cork, then you may have more flexibility as to heat levels. This needs to be confirmed first though.
How To Shrink Vegan Leather
Shrinking vegan leather is a purposeful activity. It requires carefully washing and drying of the garment, sometimes more than once, to get the desired results.
Of course, there is the risk of going too far, and the need to stretch the garment later.
This process significantly increases the chances of creating a crack or a tear and ruining it.
Shrinking should be done by washing faux leather on a ‘warm’ temperature setting.
Doing this ensures it is clean before it is shrunk, making any contaminants difficult or impossible to remove later.
Check out our article on cleaning vegan leather for more top tips.
When washing faux leather, use the process of placing it securely inside something else.
It needs to be something that can be tied off or sealed and won’t work loose during the washing cycle.
The last thing you need is the vegan leather garment rolling around inside the drum of the machine because if the drum overheats, it could burn the vegan leather.
The hotter the dryer setting, the more it will shrink.
However, it needs to be inside a pillowcase or a cotton bag, to prevent any part of the vegan leather from ever touching the drum itself. Therefore, studying the heat settings for both washing and drying cycles is necessary to set them correctly.
Also, the hotter the temperature setting, the more shrinkage may be possible.
Ideally, this is something to try on an old piece of vegan leather that you no longer care about to safeguard your favorite faux leather jacket from harm.
Once you’ve seen how the shrinking process worked, you can more safely try it on your favored jacket or another faux leather garment at that stage.
Do you have any top tips for us on stopping vegan leather from stretching, or getting it back into shape? Let us know in the comments below.