Every now and again, bad things happen to good costumers. Usually, they happen at the worst time possible. I pulled out Ye Olde Disney Peasant dress for a Halloween party over the weekend, and being my normal timely self, I was done washing it about a half hour before my guy was supposed to pick me up. And that’s when I noticed disaster: a three inch rip up the center back bodice, through both layers, which had also loosened a few inches of skirt pleating. Oh, joy…. I love a last minute repair. Should you find yourself in the same situation, here’s how to fix it.
You will need:
- Thread, to match your fabric
- A small bit of muslin
In a perfect world, you’ll find your tears before you chuck things into the wash. The problem is that washing loosens the threads around the tear, and frays out any severed threads, thus making a simple tear into an active hole. A hole, being wider than a tear, is exponentially harder to fix nicely. Bother….
If your pick stitch is good, you’re only picking up a single thread of the fabric every time. This results in stitches that are nearly invisible. (You can see a few on the left side of the mend – I was in a hurry!) The easiest way to make a very neat pick stitch is to push the needle through the fabric, then insert it one thread behind where you brought it up to make the next stitch. My stitches here are between 1/4″ and 1/2″ long – it’s not all too important, since you’ll want several rows of them going around the tear. In a perfect world, all of your stitches will be staggered. Basically, you’re securing the torn fabric to the muslin, creating a new piece of solid cloth. I start far away and work in because it’s easier to control, and to fidget with things if the tear doesn’t look all the way sealed.
Now, let me be totally honest for a second: if you’re really in a screaming hurry and you can find the right tools, it’s a heck of a lot faster to fix a tear with iron-on interfacing (place it on the inside, straighten everything out, and iron like your life depends on it). I’m doing this this way because iron-on interfacing and I have some sort of tragical misunderstanding – I say “Stay, gosh darn you” and it say “Quoi? Peel off? Well, if that’s what you really want….” I just don’t trust it to make a repair that needs to be structurally sound, like the back of a boned bodice. If this was a tear in a skirt, I’d be on that interfacing like white on rice.
So, total time to finish a tear this size is about 20-30 minutes. Fortunately, my date was running late as well….