05 November 2013

Darn It

Thrift shopping often means finding great old stuff only to discover that the reason someone got rid of it is because it's damaged in some way. Combine that with the damage the wool moths can do to your old clothes in your old closet in  an old house, and you frequently wind up dealing with little imperfections like the one pictured above. 

I found this knockout tartan jacket back in March, and it's been waiting patiently in the storage closet since then. I don't remember whether this little hole was there when I bought it, but it doesn't really matter. As I drag it out of the closet and think about how great it will the two, maybe three times, I wear it this Winter, I need to decide how to deal with that pesky little hole. 1/8 inch may not be much, but it's enough.

Lots of times, with holes this small, of it's only one or two, I just live with it. Densely patterned jackets like this one or natty tweeds tend to hide a little hole well enough. If it were elsewhere in the jacket, I might not even care. But this one's right up front.

Of course, the best option here would be reweaving, where an expert would take thread from a hidden spot on the coat to actually reweave the missing part. It's very difficult work, magical even, that can only be performed by an expert specialist. It's also extremely expensive. As great as this coat is, I don;t think I can justify the expense. So, instead, I'll just darn the hole. A trip to the local sewing machine store for a spool f bright red thread, a sharp, thin, needle, and we're set.

A few careful passes with the needle, not pulling the stitches too tight, and the hole is much improved. Not perfect by any stretch, but definitely better and less noticeable from only a few feet back. I often talk here about a lack of money not being a hindrance to having the good stuff, but sometimes you do have to make the best of what you've got.

Besides, in writing this, I realize that it might not be such a bad idea to have my tailor attach a black velvet collar to it, and find and excuse to wear it with a tux, brass buttons and all. Now that would be something.

p.s. my apologies for the sparse posting lately. Technical difficulties should hopefully be remedied tomorrow.


WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

But we need a full photograph of the entire jacket with you modeling it. It looks wonderful, and I envy you. No men brave enough to wear stuff like that in my neck of the woods, so it's highly doubtful that anything similar will ever turn up in my two good thrifting spots. Still, a guy can always dream.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich von B.

Anonymous said...

Love it! My husband and I love tweed, and we have old closets in an old house, so we do this all the time. I love the jacket - in fact, I WANT the jacket - so I am glad you mended it.

Kai said...

Great needlework! I just discovered 3 little (moth?-)holes in my very favorite (and even older) Harris-Tweed-tie. As my girlfriend is far away at the moment, and me being clumsey with the needle, I fear I have to bring the tie to a tailor.

Anonymous said...

Reweaving isn't that hard. I did it on a thrifted Pendleton jacket. You do have to undo the lining to get at a seam, and it takes some time, but it's very doable, even on a plaid.

R. Scott Buchanan said...

Out of curiosity: How big a hole is too big to be darned, in your experience? I have a pair of heavy old black worsted trousers with a fishtail waist that I love under a waistcoat, but there's a roughly quarter-inch hole right below the base of the fly. I'm trying to decide if the trousers can be saved, or if this hole, at this size, in this particular spot, is just too much.

Ian said...

I've had some sucess repairing flannel, where the texture seems to hide it quite well. I used your tip from a post ages ago (re fixing flannel trousers) putting a little patch under a hole, worked a treat and saved a really nice flannel jacket that had obviously been given to charity because the orignal owner thought it was beyond saving.

On a smooth wool fabric though, surely the game is up. As you often say with tailoring it's about knowing what can be done and if its worth doing.

Young Fogey said...

I saved a vintage Brioni jacket by sending it to the reweavers; it was surprisingly affordable. On the other hand, I was told that the gabardine trousers I wanted them to reweave couldn't be done: no matter what, the reweaving work would be too noticeable.

So yes, It Depends.

Anonymous said...

Very creative, as usual! I recently read about a Tweed Bikeride which is happening in Philadelphia this weekend - http://philly.thedrinknation.com/articles/read/11790-Cmon-and-Take-a-Tweed-Ride-This-Saturday-November-9# , and as soon as I read the writeup I thought of this post. Have a good weekend!