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Best Things First: Weaving Legacies

William Kissel

Even with climate-controlled cedar closets to preserve fine fabrics and keep moths at bay, clothing takes a pounding from the wear and tear of frequent use. When it comes to repairing insect holes, pulled threads, and large tears in superfine wools, no one has more experience than Without A Trace (800.475.4922, www.withoutatrace.com).

The Chicago firm, which was founded by Michael Ehrlich more than two decades ago, is one of a handful of companies still specializing in the dying art of French weaving. The practice involves dissecting the garment’s original fabric structure, snipping threads from unseen areas such as inside seams, and interweaving the exact same pattern over the hole, one thread at a time. For a small moth hole, the handwork can require two hours or more. Another process, called inweaving, is used for larger tears and involves placing a square of cut cloth over the damage and reweaving the garment threads through the patch for a seamless match.

Without A Trace uses similar techniques for knitwear and can also repair damage to leather.

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