Friday, May 1, 2009

The Art of Weaving

Last year, VB was wearing her favorite J. Crew linen jacket, (she's a "dedicated follower of fashion") out to dinner. Doggie was just a pup, with incisor like claws. Springer Spaniels like to, well, spring, and jump. She did so, and in the blink of an eye, VB's jacket had a massive (to VB's eye) tear. Actually, if VB were to stick a pin there, no one would notice, except that it was lower down on the jacket. It sat for a year. In the meantime, VB tried to mend it herself, but here's only so much VB can do - she's not Superwoman. Finally, in February, VB found a weaver. He's located on Road 153, just off of Road 7, in Maadi, directly below the bridge towards the Nile. VB had just had the jacket dry cleaned too. And wondered if the dry cleaner put spot remover on the rip, since it looked lighter in color. (Below): A close-up of the torn jacket after dry cleaning.

(Below): A view of what you might see had VB been wearing it (i.e. more realistic.)

Most weavers we have had in the past, including Wizard Weavers of Hyde Park, in Cincinnati, Ohio have a modus operandi. They remove a piece of the same cloth, from the inside of the jacket. Normally it's a site that won't be detectable. They then weave this into the damaged area, and viola! They also charge about $50.00 (well that was back in the early 1980's) for one piece. Now, the weaver off of Road 7 doesn't have a western (English) business card. He's tucked into a hole in the wall, basement area, next to a huge framing business on the corner of Road 153. VB went there and figured, "what the hell," it can't look any worse than it does already. Well, this guy, wove together the broken threads on the jacket, without removing anything else. VB kept looking, all over, for a piece of linen that had been removed from inside the jacket. Not one teeny weeny little piece! (Below): The woven product. Yes, the spot is lighter, but that's not his fault. Again, VB thinks the dry cleaners did this. Still his weaving skills - simply amazing!

He speaks English and just says, "Whatever you wish." The charge was only 40 LE, and he had it finished within a week.

From an Internet site called Without A Trace:

""Clothing is very expensive," Ehrlich explains. "It’s easier to fix than replace." The most common clothing injuries are small moth holes, cigarette burns and rips, most resulting from clumsiness. Repairing these in expensive, high-quality suits is well worth the $50 or so cost of reweaving. "It’s saving them a whole new garment," says Ehrlich.
The method of repair usually depends upon the type of problem. Without a Trace specializes in three types of reweaving: inweaving, French weaving and reknitting.
Inweaving is necessary with larger tears and works best with patterns. A patch of fabric, cut from the pocket or hem of the piece, is frayed along the edges and hand woven into the fabric.
Smaller holes are repaired using the French weave, also known as the invisible weave. The weaver takes strands of threads from hidden areas of the garment, then interweaves these threads together over the hole - as Ehrlich says, "recreating the fabric."

Reknitting is the process used in repairing sweaters. As in the French weave, the knitter uses yarns from other parts of the garment to repair holes and pulls."

And from The Washington Post, Reweavers Take a Delicate Approach to Fabric Repair:
"The work is time-consuming. Using high-powered microscopes so they can see even the finest individual threads, reweavers work by hand with special needles. "You have to weave one thread at a time to get the invisible look," explains Susan Kim, owner of Beverly Cleaners in Alexandria.
In this "French weave" process, the reweaver takes matching fabric from another area of the damaged item, picks it apart thread by thread, then weaves across the hole so it is no longer detectable."
"Reweaving professionals suggest that you decide how much the item to repair is worth -- and consider carefully whether you wouldn't be better off buying something new. Repairs for small holes (up to a half-inch) range from $20 to $50. Larger reweaving projects can run $70 to $100. Most jobs require at least a week, and complicated projects can take much longer."

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