How to Repair Your Suit – Reweaving

Reweaving

Reweaving

Recently, we received a great question from one of our readers about repairing his suit:  “I have a beautiful Canali suit that has suffered minor damage. The local tailor/cleaner said he’d just patch it (cut a small block, stitch the same fabric, kind of like patching drywall…) It will be slightly noticable, but will work. That doesn’t work for me and I started to look for a reweaver, but they don’t seem to exist anymore. Any suggestions in NYC area? Did this art vanish due to throw-away culture?”

First, for those that don’t know, “Reweaving is the process of restoring damage in woven garments. There is no reweaving machine! All work must be done  by hand with special needles, one thread at a time. A state-of-the-art microscope allows Phyllis Brown, our reweaver, to view the threads close-up and repair finely woven fabrics.” This definition was derived from Reweave.com which, incidentally, also offers reweaving services.

When considering repair of clothing, the two important questions are:

1) How big is the damaged area
2) Where is the damage located?

If the damaged area is small or if the damaged area is close to a seem, then weaving/re-weaving is definitely an option. If this is not the case, weaving would be difficult. The whole weaving model of fixing suits has become scarce as of late. For example, there was a time in Montreal (Canada) that some tailors used Nuns at Convents to do this kind of work during their spare time. In return for their services, tailors would make donations.

It is a fact that reweavers have definitely declined in population – although, there are still a few left. Here is an intersting article about a reweaver in NY that gets business from all over the US: http://www.nysun.com/on-the-town/reweaver-spins-his-yarns/9832/

Some research also pointed us to an interesting company that helps you repair damages on your clothing. We’ve never tried it out at SuitUpp, but it might be worth a look.

http://www.withoutatrace.com/ – Just Send your suit by mail and they’ll fix it up and send it back.

9 Comments

  1. 1

    Michael

    April 14, 2009

    4:06 pm

    That was exceptionally helpful. Thanks again!

  2. 2

    seaamigo

    July 11, 2009

    5:47 am

    You don’t have to go to New York to find quality reweavers. I live in Houston, and I have quality reweaving done, and at more than one tailoring shop. Martins on Feagan Street in the Houston Heights has done a couple of jobs for me, and the results were outstanding.

    The company was founded in 1955 and is now run by the founder’s kids. I met the original Martin’s son in a resale shop, while I was trying on a gorgeous Hickey Freeman Loro Piana suit with the rediculous price of $10.00. He was there shopping for himself, and as I slipped the jacket on, he turned to me, with the practiced eye of an expert born to the work, and said: “Good fit! Needs to come in on the sides, but otherwise perfect.” I could tell he knew what he was talking about, and we started chatting. I need to add that he wasn’t looking for work: Later when I went to his shop, the place was packed with a three-week waiting list.

    The suit had a hole on the inboard edge of the lapel, and rather than weave it, he simply reset the fold and it was gorgeous.

    Later, I brought him a brand new Hickey navy blazer that looked like a cat had climbed the sleeve while it was hanging in the closet. He fixed it for about $40, and I couldn’t find anyone who could see the repair. It was solid navy, but still an impeccable job.

    Departing from Martin’s skill for a moment, I need to disclose that I sell quality used clothing, and bring up an ethical issue:

    Resellers need to disclose these repairs, no matter how perfect, because shoddy dry-cleaning and pressing can make the repair stand out over time.

    I’ve looked at a lot of clothes, and have seen weaves on suits that were expertly done, but when over-pressed, stood out.

    A good natural fabric suit rarely needs to be cleaned. Air them, brush them, and they will last for years without dry-cleaning. Commercial dry-cleaning, in the way it’s done today, will shorten the life of a quality suit.

    Shine on suits can result from wear and rubbing, but in most of the clothing I see it is literally burned from pressing.

    An excellent alternative to cleaning is a product called “Dry Cleaners Secret” made by Woolite. It’s a moist dryer sheet, and you can tumble two suits for a cost of about $2 in a cool dryer for 20 minutes, and get damage-free deoderizing. Hang it up immediately, and you’ll see no wrinkles.

    I’ve found and sold 20 or even 30-year-old Oxxford, Canali, Brioni and other quality suits with a current replacement value of $4,000 or more in literally mint condition because of the care they were given.

    In short, a cheap department store suit – even those with famous names and “Super” thread counts may only last a few years, but quality, conservatively styled expensive suits will be wearable for decades with minimal care.

  3. 3

    Jerry McHenry

    January 28, 2010

    7:15 pm

    I have a Yankee Jacket since 1952 and it needs a few repairs. It’s an official New York Yankee Jacket and I do have a great letter from Joe DiMaggio which makes it special.
    Jerry
    281 513 0073

  4. 4

    Nenna Phillips

    November 10, 2010

    8:33 am

    Desperately need help in finding good reweaver to repair moth damage to suit. Moth holes in jacket sleeve just out from shoulder seam are visibly noticible… Need help!!! Thanks, so much!

  5. 5

    Nenna Phillips

    November 10, 2010

    8:36 am

    I need help in finding a Reweaver to reweave moth holes in son’s suit. Holes are visible and are located near the shoulder seam… Thanks so much, Nenna Phillips

  6. 6

    paul forbes

    December 22, 2010

    2:52 am

    Just bought 3 old suits from a local resale store for about $75 all in all however when I got home I noticed that two of them had each one small hole in the back pocket and the third had a small hole on the back right below the arm near the side seam. All are solid colors and made of pure merino if anyone could suggest a reputable re weaver in the NY area that would be great.

  7. 7

    Gmoney

    October 17, 2011

    3:26 pm

    What about gabardine suits? This one reweaver messed up my suit that was dammaged by moths. This is an expensive suit and he put square patches on them. I was pissed.

  8. 8

    Bobbi Baltzer-Jacobo

    February 20, 2012

    9:40 am

    To those who may have a garment that has holes that show because of white or other contrasing linings or fusings showing through the moth holes, here is what I have found that works, many times: Acrylic (artists) Paint, mixed to match the garment and carefully painted unto the showing lining or fusing will work miracles in many cases, and many places!Mostly for small holes with underlining showing through the hole. Caution must be taken, though, to mix small batches of the paint and put it on a surface and wait for it to dry. Then compare to the fabric to be repaired. The reason is…Acrylic dries darker than what it is when it is wet! Maybe an Artist friend or relative or teacher can help with this, offer to pay them, of course!

  9. 9

    Laney Bloomquist

    March 12, 2012

    12:05 am

    I like and appreciate your blog post.Many thanks again. Much obliged.

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