Repairing a tear in crepe silk
September 24, 2011 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I tore a silk dress, a long way from any seams or pleats or details. How do I fix this?

I was wearing a silk dress (this one from last season at NW3 - it's a crepe silk with a slight stretch) at a work event and snagged the skirt on a small nail while moving boxes in a dark room. Boo! It's a corner-shaped tear with fraying, and the skirt is very light and quite translucent (over the lining). The dress stains even with rain splashes and this was the second time I'd worn it.

Here's a photo of the tear.

What's the least conspicuous way I can mend this? I realise it'll no longer be a pristine dress, but I'm really broke and love this, so I'll be wearing it again anyway. I can sew and haven't had the dress dry-cleaned yet since the incident.
posted by carbide to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ack. For scale, that's about 2cm/just under 1" in each direction.
posted by carbide at 7:33 AM on September 24, 2011

You might be able to iron some interfacing to the back of it.
posted by tamitang at 7:38 AM on September 24, 2011

Yes, try some interfacing, then try to gently weave the threads back in, inconspicuously, and you might be able to render it unnoticeable. If you can afford it, your dry cleaner or a tailor might be able to do this for you inexpensively. (I'm always shocked at how inexpensive these things are, so don't just assume it'd cost too much.)

If the repair is too obvious, you might want to consider embroidering over the repair in a coordinating color with a simple little design like a flower or a star or something, possibly as part of a little constellation for camouflage if it looks better that way.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:01 AM on September 24, 2011

I can sew, but have never sewn silk. This page recommends an interfacing called Wundaweb, which I think is an iron on tape? I would be concerned about interfacing affecting the drape of the silk, so I guess it depends a bit on where the tear is.

This other site suggests actually patching the tear with another piece of silk.

Personally, I would take something like that to a tailor who works on wedding dresses and formalwear and get their opinion. If they can't fix it, then I would try the interfacing method. Your local sewing store should have someone who can advise on the lightest fusible interfacing they have.
posted by cabingirl at 8:01 AM on September 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

I don't know anything about repairing silk, but what about sewing the tear then putting a pin, button, ribbon, rosette, or other decoration there? You don't mention where on the skirt it is, but if it is in a location where an ornament would be attractive, that's one thought.
posted by arnicae at 9:32 AM on September 24, 2011

I totally second cabingirl. This is the time for a professional. If you can't afford a professional then lightweight fusible tape or another non-sewing option will probably be best.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:33 AM on September 24, 2011

I think this calls for reweaving.
posted by brujita at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2011

Interfacing's what I was thinking, and perhaps I should check out professional prices. The location of the hole is on the back of the skirt, about ass-height, so a brooch won't cut it, and I really hate embroidery on clothes so would prefer to avoid that.
posted by carbide at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2011

Check with peachfuzz. She's got a lot of experience with knit items and is helpful and smart. Hopefully she has some suggestions for silk.
posted by runningwithscissors at 11:56 AM on September 24, 2011

Would you still love it -- very cute dress! -- if it was a bit shorter? Another option would be to remove the skirt part, cut it down just enough to remove the torn part, and re-attach it to the pleated waistband part...

Fine fabrics = very expensive for reweaving, but having it shortened like that would probably not run too high.
posted by kmennie at 12:50 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I might do a wide, high quality, heavy ribbon, same color... sew it on at the waist and have it go all the way to the hem, covering the hole. Kind of a tone on tone thing.....maybe do another on the front side so it looks consistent.
posted by pearlybob at 12:54 PM on September 24, 2011

Depending on where the tear is, a tailor might be able to do camouflage it by creating new decorative seams. She would repair the horizontal tear, and make a vertical seam down to the hem, and a matching one on the mirror side. You may or may not want to repeat on the front.

Awesome dress, by the way. I see why you want to fix it!
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:26 PM on September 24, 2011

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