How can I repair or disguise tiny holes in wool gabardine?
October 4, 2011 3:16 PM   Subscribe

How can I repair or disguise small holes and tears in wool gabardine (skirts)?

I have a couple of wool gabardine skirts, one black (lined), one gray (unlined). (Gabardine is the fabric that many men's suits are made from--this is not a chick-specific question.) Over time (they're about 15 years old) they have accumulated a few tiny holes and nicks each, maybe from moths, but I think just from wear and tear.

Sometimes I deal by (steaming the skirt nicely and) wearing a black slip under the black one.

There is a three-cornered tear (tiny) in the gray one that I have disguised by sticking a piece of packing tape to the wrong side and tamping the torn "flap" down onto it. (They don't make a slip that color of gray!)

Any other similar ideas? I can darn pretty well, but not well enough for it to be a first resort. A couple of the lower holes I could even "repair" by hemming (the scorched-earth option), but at my level of sewing it's a somewhat risky approach, and I'd like them to stay the length they are.

I cannot afford to hire any sort of professional! This is strictly DIY. I'd like to get a few more years of respectable in-public use out of these. Thanks, everyone.
posted by skbw to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
I use very small iron-on patches in the inside (cut to be a weird shape, so they aren't obvious squares), or a few tiny stiches. Would that work in your case?
posted by small_ruminant at 3:26 PM on October 4, 2011

Also, that "stitch witchery" lasts longer than you'd expect, and doesn't make the fabric too stiff.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:27 PM on October 4, 2011

You can either use stitch witchery or fusible interfacing (cheap, you can get it in the sewing/craft area of walmart) to cut an iron on patch for the inside of the skirts.
posted by lemniskate at 3:42 PM on October 4, 2011

Well, don't fret—even pro reweavers often won't guarantee invisible results on gabardine, because it's such a fine weave. So no shame in DIYing! Can you get fabric that matches very, very closely? If so, take a little patch and apply some iron-on bonding agent (available at craft and sewing stores). Set it and forget about it if the hole really is tiny and has relatively clean edges (i.e., doesn't seem likely to spread further). Note that patches *may* change the way your skirt hangs, particularly if they're in certain areas (full hip at either side, bottom of the butt, crotch).
posted by peachfuzz at 3:58 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you really sure you can't afford to hire a professional? I had a problem like this with really fine wool, took it to my trusted tailor (not a fancy restoration/repair place) and it was under $10 for 1-2 holes. There is a little mark, not totally perfect, but so much better than when I tried it myself.
posted by *s at 10:02 AM on October 5, 2011

Thank you, everyone. I will report back for the good of science.
posted by skbw at 11:11 AM on October 5, 2011

Does anyone know--is there some equivalent of matte clear nail polish to keep the hole's edges from fraying?

And here's a tip for you guys: cloth first aid tape, you know, the kind that is actually made of grosgrain, works fine as a long-term temporary hem tape. It can even survive repeated handwashing.
posted by skbw at 11:14 AM on October 5, 2011

Fray Check or Fray Block.

And I see that in my previous comment I didn't say to apply the patch on the wrong side of the fabric, which of course is what I meant.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:26 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you use Fray-Check and don't like the way it gets hard when it dries, as soon as you apply the liquid to the fabric grab an iron and steam-iron it dry.
posted by Lexica at 3:03 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

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