Since 2016


May 09, 2023 3 min read

by Monique Youzwa

Monique has been a full-time freelance writer for over 5 years, plus has a few fiction credits under her belt and is currently working on a novel. When not writing, she spends her time reading, playing video games, hiking, and camping with her husband and daughter.


Leather is a material created from the hides and skins of animals. It is extremely durable, though it can vary in quality, texture, and thickness, depending on the animal it comes from. As a natural fiber, leather pieces can change over time, particularly the sleeves of a jacket. To avoid this issue, let’s discuss why leather sleeves shorten with wear and how you can prevent it.

Sleeve Length

One factor that can affect how leather sleeves shorten is their length when you first purchase the jacket. Sleeves that are too long will consistently be pushed up at the wrist, creating wrinkles and creases in the material. All leather jackets also crease at the elbows, though this shouldn’t reduce the length more than half an inch, so isn’t something to worry about unless the sleeves are too short to begin with.

To prevent sleeve creases from ruining the aesthetic of your leather jacket, it’s best to choose the right sleeve length when purchasing the garment. The sleeve should end where your wrist bends to avoid creasing this area.


If your leather jacket is too large, one of the best methods of getting a better fit is to wet it enough to cause shrinkage. As well as adjusting the size of your entire jacket, moisture can shorten the sleeves. The downside is that too much dampness on the sleeves can shrink them more than you’d like, even if you aren’t trying for a smaller size.

The issue isn’t the moisture itself, it’s the drying process that causes the fibers in the material to tighten. If your jacket gets wet, trying to speed up drying time by placing it in the sun isn’t the best idea. Drying out too quickly will result in sleeves that hit well above your wrist and a jacket that doesn’t fit well in other areas.

For the best results, keep your leather jacket as dry as possible. Most leather manufacturers add a water-resistant coating to their products, though it doesn’t keep the leather dry in heavy moisture. If you get caught in a downpour, wipe down the jacket to remove as much water from the material as possible. Then lay it out on a towel to dry naturally.

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Though part of the leather-making process includes dehydrating the material before tanning, losing too much moisture isn’t a good thing. The heat from a dryer, furnace vents, or even sunlight can dehydrate the material.

As well as causing cracking and brittleness, it can shrink all areas of the jacket, including the sleeves. To prevent this, let your jacket dry naturally if it gets wet, keep it away from vents and other heat sources, and hang it in a dark area away from sunlight.

Why leather jacket sleeves shorten

Final Word

Leather jackets are expensive garments, so you’ll likely want to do everything you can to maintain the perfect fit. Though leather is known to stretch over time, the sleeves are one area that can shrink with little help from you. To avoid such issues, get the right sleeve length when you buy it and keep it away from moisture and heat. Doing so will ensure those sleeves maintain the jacket’s aesthetic appeal for as long as you own it.

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