I dug out of the wardrobe my Jigsaw suit – which I haven’t seen for a few years! – and immediately spotted two little holes on the back of the right shoulder. ‘Moths!’ I thought, ‘Aargh!!!’ But wait a minute. If it was moths, why hadn’t they gone for my much tastier wool skirts and cashmere cardies, which I check often and they’re always fine? In fact the holes looked very much like those I get on my T-shirts, always over the navel area and made, I suspect, by the buckle of my belt.
I think these holes were made by the buckle on the adjustable strap of my bag which I carry on my right.
I needed the suit almost pronto and didn’t have much time to do thorough research on how to repair it but a quick look on YouTube with the search term ‘invisible mending’ was mostly disappointing. So I improvised a little repair job. Tell me what you think.
- I opened up the lining to get to the inside. I cut off a small rectangle of fabric from the seam allowance after staystitching it half way to stop fraying.
- I cut this rectangle in half and after dabbing some Pritt Stick (don’t scream!) on the affected area of jacket, I stuck the squares over the holes.
- I cut a piece of fusible interfacing. On the inside, I placed it over both patches and pressed with iron to seal all three in place. I used a piece of silk organza when pressing the right side to stop the garment from getting shine. No, I really did remember to do this, eventually!
Now the right side looked like this. It was enough to stop light getting through but still those little sunken circles, like a vampire bite in Hammer Horror, bothered me. I remembered one of my many chats with the dry-cleaner (a bit of a mate of mine these days), who told me the Invisible Mender comes every Thursday to do his thing. I popped by to ask about the service but the dry cleaner shook his head. ‘He died!’ he said. My jaw dropped… He wouldn’t be recruiting another. The repairs were costing £50 and people were unwilling to pay, preferring to buy another suit. ‘But how did he do it?’ I asked. ‘What did he use? A machine?!’
‘No, he would ‘weave’, he said. He shrugged, ‘He’d take thread from the inside…’
A ha !
- I went back to the seam allowance that keeps on giving and pulled off some threads. They were too kinky and very short but luckily I had some thread conditioner. What I didn’t have, and it would have been most helpful, is a needle threader (where did they all go?!)
- I had to push the needle in before I could thread it, but eventually I got a little darning system going, trying to incorporate the patches beneath into the weave layer. It really helps when the ‘thread’ is exactly the same colour as the garment. I kept pressing regularly: it made it all look much better!
This is the result, a close up. I hope you don’t think it looks worse! The area is bigger than the holes but I hope less noticeable. It’s more of a ‘graze’ now and if I wear my hair down it will be in a shadow.
Have you ever used an invisible mending service or done it yourself? Was the repair really invisible?
I leave you with a clip from Lead Balloon, where Jack Dee and Omid Djalili (playing a dry cleaner) have an argument on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Eci0OJbJw