Tag Archives: wool

Fixing a Hole

After showing photos of dozens of shoes I do not wear, I thought I’d better hurry up and post about a piece of vintage clothing that I do wear.  Most of the vintage in my closet is outerwear.   I have so many coats and jackets you’d think I lived at the North Pole.  The truth is that I love and wear them all, but the last thing I thought I needed was another coat.  But them I spotted this plaid  Pendleton at the local Goodwill.  I tried it on.  It fit.

The nice thing about outerwear is that the fit is forgiving.  You usually don’t have to worry about your waist size and precise measurements.  A coat is meant to be worn over stuff, and so if it is in your general size range, it will usually work.  Maybe that is why I have so many vintage coats!

After getting over the greatness of the plaid, I couldn’t help but notice all the nice little details – the way the collar can be worn open or tight against the neck, the adjustible sleeve bands, the wonderfulness of the shoulder seam with its little pleat in the back.

But then there was the bad news.  If you look at a lot of vintage wool, you will already have guessed that there were several small moth holes.  But I didn’t let that keep me from my purchase, because I know a little about reweaving.

Reweaving is exactly what the word implies.  You take some of the yarn from the wool garment, and carefully work it over and under the hole.  The bulkier the yarn, the easier it is to fix a hole.  Solid colors are easier than plaids, and plain tweeds are the easiest of all.  It is possible to reweave a fine wool, but that is a job for experts.  I know my limitations, and this Pendleton wool was just bulky enough for me to be able to accomplish the job.

This hole is relatively easy to reweave, as it is mainly in the blue area.  Because of that, I treated it as I would a solid color.  First, I went under the lining to see if there was enough yarn in the seam allowances.  There was, so I pulled off a strand of blue. ( If the seam allowance doesn’t have the yarn you need, you can pull it from the inside of a pocket, or even the hem.  I took some red yarn from a pocket, and you cannot even tell where I pulled the yarn out.)

You have to have a needle with a large eye, or one of those trick ones that has a slit where you pull the yarn down through the eye.  Honestly, threading the needle is often the hardest part!   Then, carefully work the needle under a strand of the weave that leads to the hole.  Attach the yarn on both sides of the hole, just by working your yarn into the fabric.  Depending on the size of the hole, you may need to go back across a couple of times.  Then do the same in the perpendicular direction, but this time, weave over and under the yarn you have just attached.

Basically, you are putting in a little woven spot to replace what the moth ate!

And here is the final product.  It isn’t perfect, but it looks a whole lot better than a hole.

If you want to try this, I suggest you practice  it on a very bulky tweed.  Note that it does not work on sweaters and knits – only on woven fabrics.  And if you need a visual on how this is accomplished, check out this video by a professional reweaver.

15 Comments

Filed under Sewing

Ad Campaign – Harris Tweed, 1951

I bet you are not surprised to see that I have a bit more to say about Harris Tweed.  These two ads are from 1951, while Britain was still operating under the utility scheme and clothing rationing.  During that time most of the Harris Tweed, (and other British clothing items such as cashmere) was being produced mainly for export, as the trade was badly needed.

As you can see on the fabric scrap in the second ad, there is an actual stamp put on each piece of Harris Tweed, a guarantee that it is the real deal, produced entirely on the Isle of  Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides.  The orb and cross trademark has been in use since 1911, making this the 100 year anniversary of the usage of the trademark.

Today, each length of finished cloth is still stamped by hand at regular intervals.  The Harris Tweed Authority registers every piece produced, and the label always has a number stamped on it for identification purposes.  The Harris Tweed Authority has books containing every number, and so they can tell when the piece was made, who the weaver was, and to whom the piece was sold.  It’s an amazing historical record, and unless they have put it on computer in the last few years, the books are still referred to whenever a question arises.

Three years ago, the BBC4 did a three part series on the troubled Harris Tweed industry, and though things have changed since then, it is still a very good look at the industry, and the crisis it was facing at that time.  For a while in 2008, all the spinning and finishing mills had closed, but today there are three in operation.  There have been several high profile collaborations – including one with Nike – this year, and awareness of the historic fabric is increasing.

Do yourself a favor and watch this series, if for no other reason than to see all the fabulous examples of the tweed.  There are over 8000 tweed patterns, and the variety is truly amazing.  There is also some great historical footage, and for those who like a little drama, there is even a villain!

Amazingly, there is a scene in the documentary where a visitor to the island goes in search of Harris Tweed garments.  The only place he found that sells them is the charity shop!  I’m always looking for the tweed in my own thrift stores, and I’ve found some really remarkable pieces.  Most of what you will find is in the form of men’s jackets and coats for men and women.  I look for garments with holes, and then I take the garment apart to use the tweed in projects.

You can also buy lengths of the tweed online, and there are several sites that sell finished products of Harris Tweed.  All are beautiful!

15 Comments

Filed under Advertisements, Viewpoint

Another Vintage Dating Tool – The Woolmark

Look carefully just below the ad text and you’ll see the Woolmark®.   When Pendleton created this ad in the fall of 1964, the Woolmark was very new, having been launched that year.  If you know a little about this symbol, it can come in useful from time to time.

A vintage friend was telling about a jacket she had.  She was pretty well convinced that it was from the 1940s until she found a little Woolmark tag.  Knowing that the symbol did not exist in the 40s led her to the conclusion that her jacket was a very good 1970s representation of 1940s style.

Woolmark is not a brand label; it is a label originally issued by the International Wool Secretariat to identify various quality wool products. The mark was designed by an Italian graphic artist, Francesco Saroglia, and was first used in 1964. The mark indicates that the garment is made from 100% pure new wool.  You can find the label on garments not just from Australia, but also from the US,  Europe and Japan.

Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing