Stretchability of leather
What is leather’s stretchability?
A hide’s stretchability depends on the tannins used to tan it and the part of the animal the skin comes from. Chrome-tanned leather tends to be more stretchy than vegetable-tanned leather. This property plays an important role when leather products are being manufactured. How stretchy leather needs to be depends on the item it’s being used to create. Belts don’t need to be particularly stretchy, whereas leather gloves need to be elastic.
What makes leather stretchy?
The leather’s fibre structure determines the stretchability of the material and depends on various factors. The elasticity of the leather varies depending on the animal’s age. Hide from older cows is generally looser than young bulls due to years of producing milk.
Different parts of the hide generally have varying degrees of elasticity. The image below gives you an idea of the elasticity of chrome-tanned cowhide from different parts of the animal. The red areas can be stretched 100%, the yellow between 75 and 100%. There’s not much information available about the stretchability of the green areas.
Sources (3rd March 2023):