My Ongoing Tarrago Dyeing Experience...

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  1. #1 Feb 12, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
    In short: I purchased a 10 year-old Coach on eBay not too long ago. The bag was generally in fine shape (e.g. tight stitching, nice hardware, clean lining, etc.), but the leather had some issues, including some scuffing on a couple spots and a few places where the leather was more dark gray than black (though the feel of the leather was still quite nice). In addition, the leather had lost some sheen. That said, I got the bag dirt-cheap ($24); you get what you pay for, right?

    After consulting with a few of you, I decided to try re-dyeing it with Tarrago black (#18).

    So, in case you're interested, here's the run-down on this dyeing project, including some handy dandy pointers I've discovered during this process:

    Lesson #1. Don't dye late at night; be alert and dye in broad daylight. Daylight is the best light to examine your work, hands down (the light of a TV and a desk lap don't compare). And when you're tired, it's so much harder to do a good job (I found this out with the first coat of dye...two in the morning is NOT the best time to undertake a project like this; you end up with blotches).

    Lesson #2. Avoid spilling the preparer and dye. Yes, I spilled BOTH, each on a separate occasion, entirely due to carelessness. Fortunately, I didn't spill all the stuff, so I had enough to finish working with (it's taken me about half a bottle of dye to dye this bag).

    Lesson #3. Work one side of the bag at a time. This allows you to "rest" the bag on the other side while you're working and while it's drying.

    Lesson#4. SHAKE/STIR THE DYE BEFORE EACH AND EVERY USE! Silly me, I only stirred the dye the first time--the second time, I spilled the stuff, which had the same effect as stirring, it appears--but not the next couple times. The dye was NOT uniform; I realized this only after I had finished putting the second coat of dye on the front of the bag. Yikes!

    Lesson#5. (This relates closely to #4). If you find that your dye is uneven or blotchy, but it's still wet, dampen the sponge a tiny bit--"tiny" being the operative word--with plain 'ol water, and quickly rub, using small circular motions, the water over the entire surface you're working on until the wetness, color, and sheen look uniform. This worked wonders for my bag. Seriously. If you had seen how blotchy and uneven the dye had been (because I hadn't stirred it before this particular application), you wouldn't have thought the project salvageable (I know I didn't at the time). But the water trick totally worked. Now the front of the bag is beautifully uniform in color and sheen, and it's not sticky at all. I'm completely THRILLED!
  2. I can't wait to see your pictures!
  3. Pictures? :P
  4. I have a leather attache case, not coach, that I've had for many years. It's a lovely bag and it was a special gift so I also love it for sentimental reasons. Structurally the bag was in great shape but the leather was scuffed, faded, and worn. I considered trying to recondition it and dye it myself but I was afraid to damage a favorite piece. I took it to a cobbler and he reconditioned and dyed it and the bag came out perfect! It looks gorgeous again and I will get many more years of enjoyment from carrying it. It wasn't cheap to have it done professionally ($50!) but I wasn't willing to risk it and I am really thrilled with the results. But the next time I need to dye a bag I think that I will try to do it myself and I will come to you ladies for advice! Thanks for the tips!