French fashion house Chloé is famed not only for its handbags but also its chic, feminine ready-to-wear collections. Afterall, founder Gaby Aghion invented a luxe version of ready-to-wear with her signatures being effortless chic; shirtdresses, blouses and near cigarette silhouettes. This appealed to a growing demographic of working women who, even if they had the money, didn't have the time for couture's endless fittings.
A Chloé blazer recently came into the atelier with large rips in both elbows. It was a sure favourite of the client, with damage from over use, who was excited at the prospect of finding a solution to revive the jacket and get in back in working order again.
As it was a fabric item rather than leather, it was an interesting challenge for our atelier team. We frequently work with fabric lining repairs on bags and occasionally repairs on fabric bags, but this was an item we hadn’t seen more and allowed for us to tap into the additional (and endless) craft skills of our team.
After a physically assessment it was clear the rips in the elbows were too close to the seams for us to be able to just sew them up again. Normally this would be possible, but the placement of this particular damage meant that it would continuously keep fraying after being sewn.
After a team debrief, the solution was the make leather elbow patches to sew onto the jacket over the damaged areas. The placement of the rips was mismatched so the patches needed to be large enough to cover the tears and the team decided to make them more a feature by embellishing them.
Our artisan drew some templates in different shapes, sizes with varying embellishments for the client to choose from. Once the preferred option was chosen, our artisan then created several physical samples of the embellishments which included beading, embroidery, and crochet. We used a crochet edge as it is flat, unlike beading, and is more practical allowing for better longevity, whilst remaining decorative and interesting.
Next, the team made rough paper patterns and pinned them onto the jacket to develop the shape and scale of the patches. Once they were happy with the shape, a final pattern for the patches was made and a leather was selected to cut out the shape. A lamb leather was used as it is soft and has a smooth texture but most importantly it has some stretch in it which was needed due to the placement of the patches. To be over the elbow joint meant they needed to be supple and comfortable whilst it was worn, accounting for enough movement.
The next step was to create the crochet edge. To crochet around a piece of leather, our atelier assistant needed to punch holes through every point that was needed to crochet through. During the sampling stage, the artisan had tested the placement of the holes in relation to the edge of the piece of leather, including how far from the edge and how far apart they should be. Using a special tool that allows you to measure and mark at the same time, the artisan marked out the placement of all the holes on the leather. Then, almost over 100 holes per patch were punched out individually. The artisan then crocheted through the holes and around the patches, creating the decorative edge.
Before the patches could be sewn on, the rips on the elbows needed to be addressed so that they didn’t get any worse under the new patches. The rips couldn't be sewn up, so the artisan sealed the edges of the rips with a gentle, diluted glue that stops fraying. Then the patches were pinned in place over the rips and stitched into place. The artisan stitched the underside of the crochet edging onto the jacket sleeves so that no stitching could be seen from the outside once it was complete.
We love a challenge at The Restory so if you have something in need of repair or restoration that isn’t shown on our website, don’t hesitate to get in touch through our preliminary quote form for the team to assess and see how we can help.