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Posts Tagged ‘tweed’

When I was a wee lad, I dabbled in all sorts of needlecraft, greatly encouraged by both my grandmothers. One was always happy to make good use of my tiny crocheted doilies, the other loved my “properly done” cross stitching. And although I have taken the Knitters Path, I still have a soft spot for embroidery, as evidenced by the following mends:

These jeans were starting to wear very thin in the seat, which incidentally, I totally blame on my cycling to work every day, and I wanted to reinforce the area. There are many ways to create a reinforcement patch, but I decided on the following technique. First I basted in place a piece of jeans fabric on the inside. Then I used a lovely shade of golden yellow for a coarsely executed running stitch. I wasn’t too concerned about being neat and precise, as I wanted a slightly random look. I made sure to go through both layers of fabric, to hold the patch in place. Then I went over the whole area again with a running stitch, crossing over the stitches from the first round. As Adrienne said on twitter: “it looks like the sun is shining out of your… ACE!” I’ll refrain from any comments!

My second mend is the best of both worlds: Pattern Darning. It’s a darning technique that nowadays is mainly used for decorative purposes, but it comes from repairing certain weaves in fabric. There are many examples of to be found of darning samplers, and one day I hope to make one such sampler myself so I can learn more about this technique. But for now, I tried to used it on a knitted fabric:

The elbows in this shop-bought merino cardigan had worn so thin a tiny hole appeared in one of them, so I first had to close the hole. I tidied up any loose threads, then ran some threads of black yarn through the live loops to create a little framework, to be used later. After working out where the fabric required reinforcing, I picked up one side of the “V” of the knit stitches, to run my darning needle across the fabric. I slowly worked my way up, and tried to stick to the herringbone pattern as closely as I could when I came to the hole.

It was not possible to exactly continue in pattern, but I like it that the mend shows evidence of what is being mended. It adds a second layer to the visibility of this repair. After finishing this, I mirrored this patch on the other elbow, this time using a different pattern:

In case you are wondering what lovely wool I used for this darn, it may come as no surprise that it is Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. This heathered shade gives the patch a tweedy look, which is a nice reversal of the usual tweed jacket with elbow patches in a contrasting material. I’m mightly pleased with the results of the pattern darning, and I hope to be able to employ this technique again soon!

 

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Today I did my very first ever INvisible mend. Technically not for the Visible Mending Programme, but hey, exceptions make the rule. During my last visit to Belfast, I ended up in a secondhand clothes shop, despite having implored upon my partner earlier that we were not to buy any clothes during our visit on account of overflowing suitcases. So when I tried on this gorgeous herringbone tweed jacket, I conscientiously put it back on the rail. Even if it was a Donegal Mist tweed jacket. Handwoven. By a J.F Maguire.

As the fibre content contains mohair and cashmere it will not surprise you to hear this tweed is soft and has a great handle. The fact that it not only tells you about the fibres making up the fabric, but even tells you who wove it, is something that makes my heart sing. And I think anybody who supported Wovember last year will agree with me that this is a jacket with provenance and honest cachet.

Another label inside the jacket shows it was tailored by Magee expressly for Shannon [airport?] duty free shop. Browsing Magee’s website shows the history of the company and how they have been producing tweed since 1866.

I think you will have worked out by now that the above pictures were not taken in a secondhand shop. Indeed, I managed to squeeze it into a suitcase and brought it home. However, when I tried it on again, I discovered a small hole on the back.

I’m not sure how that came about. It doesn’t – or rather, didn’t – look like a moth hole and after careful inspection I did not find any other holes. But what to do with it? Somehow it didn’t feel right to do a Visible Mend on this tiny hole. After trawling the internet, I found some references to reweaving, usually on tailors’ websites. So, I knew it was possible to fix this INvisibly. Fortunately I found a reference to reweaving in a Threads Magazine back issue (no. 144) from September 2009, and today it finally fell on my doormat. Without further ado, here is my first INVISIBLE MEND:

As you can see, you don’t need many tools for this: scissors, darning needle, and an unpicker thingie. With these tools, one harvests some threads from an inside seam and uses these to reweave the hole closed. I started with unpicking the lining in a corner, so I could unpick some warps and wefts from the tweed fabric edges.

You then painstakingly weave these strands into the fabric, following its weave and replicating it over the hole, working on the right side of the fabric. I was too excited to take a picture halfway through, so the following picture shows all threads already in place, but I have woven in the needle so you can get an idea of how it’s done.

After all this work, you slightly pull on the ends and snip them off really close to the fabric. The yarn ends nestle themselves into the fabric and all that’s left to do, is press the treated area from the wrong side in order to set the weave. As you can see, the end result is perhaps not entirely invisible, but practice makes perfect. I now really understand why this repair is so expensive. However, next time I see a nice jacket in a secondhand shop I shall inspect it carefully, hope to find a hole, haggle on the price and buy it with the knowledge that each invisible mend I do will give better results.

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