On The Mend

At this time of pandemic lockdown, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to focus on new projects. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Instead of beating myself up because I'm not being wildly productive, I'm finding solace in repairing damaged things.  I realize that this is an almost laughable metaphor, and I'm okay with that.

Today's project was a wool skirt that I'd bought at a Great Bay Area Costume Guild sale.  The skirt was beautifully made, but had a bad tear, right on the front.

The previous owner had attempted to repair the damage with an iron-on patch, but for whatever reason, the torn part did not adhere to the reinforcement.  When I bought the skirt, I planned to darn the hole.  But instead, I stuck the skirt on my Pile of Denial, where it sat for longer than I'd care to admit.

Initially, I thought I'd harvest some threads from the skirt, and use those threads to re-weave the rip.  This turned out to be impractical, because the panels of the skirt were cut with one side on the woven selvage, and the other side on the bias.  This meant that I wasn't going to be able to remove threads from the skirt that would be long enough to work with.  (Believe me.  I tried.)

I dug around in my yarn stash, and found some wool that was about the right value (neither too light, more too dark) and was a reasonably good color match.  I untwisted the plies of the yarn, so that I had a strand that was about the same width as the threads that made up the weave of the skirt.  My yarn is a bit shinier and a bit more purple than the skirt, but it was pretty darn close.

(Darn close!  Darn.  I crack myself up.)

I wove my yarn in and out, mimicking the weave of the fabric.  It wasn't very easy to see the weave structure, because the fabric was dark and hairy.

As I often say at work, it was a material that would hide a lot of sins.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. And right now, pretty good is the best we can hope for.  

I took in a significant amount of fabric in the back of the skirt.  This required removing part of the waistband and adding a few more pleats to the ones already there.

I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  I think it looks lovely with this nineteen-teens blouse I bought earlier this year.  I have one tiny snap to sew back on the blouse and it too will be good as new.

If you're wondering how I arrived at the date for this blouse, I'll point to an image I found in the Witness2Fashion blog.  It's an advertisement from the Delineator magazine from 1917.  It's a bit hard to see in my photo, but my blouse has almost the same structure.  Same collar. Same decorative hem-stitching. Same silhouette.

It's almost a little too on-the-nose to be repairing clothing that date to the time of the Spanish Flu Pandemic, now that I come to think of it.  Rather than freak myself out about the parallels, I'm going to focus on the fact that I'm bringing damaged things back to life.


Rachel said…
Spanish Flu ponderances or fabric repair, whatever backward it takes to go forward!
Anonymous said…
The clothing survived, and so too shall we? You're weaving a good spell of sympathetic magic. (See, your textile pun has inspired one from me).
-- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

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