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help with moth damage

timesaver | Posted in General Sewing Info on


I just discovered this site and I hope there is someone who has an idea for me.

My son has a wool suit that is damaged by moths.  It is surface damage, and he actually had to wear it to a wedding, meaing that it doesn’t go all the way through but is the first layer of a pocket, waist band and jacket hem (the interfacing shows).  Has anyone tried to repair this kind of damage without it showing to awfully?  I do have matching material from the pant hems. 

Thanks for your insight.  I’d like  to save the suit, he’s only worn it twice.


  1. BernaWeaves | | #1

    If you can find a good "reweaver" they could take the spare fabric, unweave it thread by thread, and reweave the damaged areas.  However, I think reweaving is a lost art, and I suspect the reweaver's fee might be more than the cost of a new suit.

    Patching the suit will just look tacky, if it's a dress suit.  Patching is fine for jeans, cords, and casual wear, but patches don't work on a dress suit.

    It might be better to rent a nice suit to wear to the wedding.

    Good luck,  Berna

    Edited 7/8/2008 11:20 am ET by BernaWeaves

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    I mended a thrift store suit for my son, using thread exactly the same color as the suit fabric and tiny machine and hand stitches through both the suit and the lining fabric. 

    However, first I had him try it on and move a bit in it to determine which holes needed repair and which wouldn't be very noticeable left as-is.  He was going to a dance rather than a formal affair, so it didn't matter tremendously.

    Moth larvae will eat through natural fibers in any place with food/human residue, so if you buy a new suit, make sure that it is drycleaned between wearings and make sure to take it out of the closet and move it around a few times per year.  Men wear formal clothes so infrequently nowadays that it's hard to keep them protected from moth damage.

    1. Susan -homedecsewing | | #3

      speaking of reweavers , in all my years of sewing I've only met 2. one was a little lady across my street and I asked if she would show me how to reweave, she looked shocked and said Oh no , I just couldn't. She had gone to a special school to learn the trade and wasn't about to show me any part of it.When she passed away, I bought all of her sewing supplies, and it was sad that she died and didn't want to pass it on.I still treasure all of her little drawers filled with notions.but from what I could tell a reweaver takes threads from a hem and with tiny little needles weaves over the hole, quite a tricky endeavor for sure.Do they even teach it anymore ?there was a little lapel pin that said reweaver on it that she had recieved for graduating from that class.It was in with her sewing gear I recieved.Susan

    2. timesaver | | #6

      Thanks for your advise, I'll try the stitching technique and see how it looks before paying reweavers and I will make sure to pay more attention in the future to what's in my closets. 

      1. katina | | #7

        Ah, the dreaded munching critters. It might be a good idea to vacuum your closets out throroughly in case the little lurkers have taken up permanent residence in dark corners and crevices. I learned this the hard, hard way when some yarn in a basket was attacked. I read that museum curators store items in deep freezers. Of course this isn't practical for most of us, but I do keep a couple of really specially woollen garments in ziplock bags in the freezer. If you do this, remember to take the items out of the bags immediately if you remove them from the freezer so that they air properly before use.


      2. BernaWeaves | | #8

        The freezing idea is a good one, but you don't have to keep your garments in the freezer.  24 hours in a sealed plastic bag that has all the air squished out, is all it takes to kill the eggs laid by the moths.  Then let everything come back to room temperature still in the bags, so that condensation forms on the outside of the bag and not on the fabric.  While everything is in the freezer, air out and vacuum your closet and line with cedar or lavender or whatever, and make sure to check the items regularly.



        1. katina | | #9

          Berna, I didn't know that about killing the moths. Useful, thanks.

        2. sewslow67 | | #10

          Berna:  Thanks so much for sharing this method.  I had no idea either, and will get some of those bags to store my lovely knits in as well as other wool items that I enjoy.  Thankfully, we've got a large freezer for the initial "shock" (death) treatment of those little monsters.  Thanks again.

          1. BernaWeaves | | #11

            I'm not sure I was clear about this, but don't store the wool clothing in the plastic bags.  After they come back to room temperature, remove them, give them a good shake and brushing with a suit brush, and make sure they have plenty of air room in the clean closet or cedar closet.


          2. sewslow67 | | #12

            Thanks so much for the clarification, Berna.  I'm sure you were clear and I probably just misread your directions.  Either way, I appreciate you taking the time to clarify.   Thank you for your thoughtfulness. 

            My husband is going to build a walk-in closet for me when he build the new bathroom (we're turning in an old, unused bedroom into a new bathroom and walk-in closet).  I'll be sure and ask him to make it a cedar lined closet ...and I'm sure he won't mind doing that, esp. when he finds out it will keep my clothes lasting longer.  ;-)

  3. sewslow67 | | #4

    Here is the link to a website that does re-weaving for clients all over the country.  They can probably help you.  http://www.withoutatrace.com/ 

    When I lived in Portland, OR., I knew a lady who did re-weaving, and she worked on several garments for me: a silk blouse with a 3-corner tear, a wool suit, several sweaters, including a cashmere sweater ...all damaged for one reason or another.  She also repaired a St. John knit dress tear.  These were all beautiful garments, and when she was done, you would not be able to see where the damage had been.

    I no longer need her services because I don't work in an office anymore where clumsy people walk by with letter openers in their hands ...waving them around when they talk.  Funny ...but I miss all my wild and funny work mates, but at least I don't have the cost of expensive repairs.  ;-)  Anyway, good luck.  I hope these folks can help you.

    1. timesaver | | #5

      Thank you so  much, I will deffinitely check them out.  I would love to save these suits.  There are actually two suits, from my younges two sons, which were graduation gifts 8 & 7 years ago.  I thought they  would last many years to come, but I forgot to use the cedar hangers in the closet.  Thanks again! 

  4. jjgg | | #13

    YOu may find a re-weaver at a local dry cleaners, or they may know of someone in the area.

    There are basically 2 types of re-weaving, one is for really tiny holes of only 3 or 4 threads. This is where they take threads f rom a seam allowance or hem and individually re=weave those threads into the hole. For larger holes, a patch is cut from extra fabric (facing, hem etc), the edges of the patch are fringed. The patch is placed over the hole on the right side of the garment (any woven patterns or stripes have to be matched perfectly) then the fringe are woven into the garment. This takes really good magnifying glasses (or very young eyes :) ) you use a latch needle - like doing latch hook rugs, only much finer. The first type of re-weaving can be done with blunt ended needles (tapestry needles)

    For both types, to look professional, the threads that are woven inot the existing fabric need to be woven just on the underside of the fabric - rather a tricky thing to learn.

    There are books on re-weaving that can often be gotten on e-bay, I just checked and there are 2 sets of them there right now. The Fabricon way! I know one of the posts had both books, I didn't check the second one to see if it had both books, and you do want both as each book teaches you the different ways. I have them, and they are really good if you want to learn to re-weave. It is a very tedious process, kills your eyes, you need very good lighting and magnification. It's a lot of fun, and I like challenges like this. practice will make perfect if you don't go blind in the mean time.

    If youget the books, you will be extra lucky if they come with the samples that came with the original books - swatches of different fabrics to re-weave with different weaves and different plaids etc.

    The latch needles and re-weaving needles can be gotten from Lacis

  5. SkiNsew | | #14

    If you do not want to go the reweaving route (which is quite expensive) here is another product that gives really excellent results.  I find it especially easy to use on tiny spots.  Basically you take a small piece of extra fabric and cut it into such small pieces that it looks like fuzz and then using some bonding powder that they sell you mix the fuzz with the bonding powder and iron it into the spot.  It is available at http://www.bonash.com/ and is called Bonding Agent 007 Starter Kit.

    Good Luck.

    Edited 7/11/2008 7:50 am ET by skiNsew

    1. katina | | #15

      Thanks very much for this tip

  6. melanie | | #16

    I clicked on your name to see which side of the Atlantic you were on because in the big sewing shows in London and Bermingham one of the most popular demonstrations is for Supermend which I think is just what you need. The bonding agent skiNsew recommends seems to be the same product. Exactly as she describes for a small hole, you cut a spare piece of the fabric or matching wool/yarn until it is as fine as fluff, then with the fabric face down on greaseproof paper put the fluff into the hole with a sprinkling of the supermend (a kind of powder) cover it with another piece of greaseproof, press/iron it and bingo! no hole. It is particularly good for small holes in flannel or tweed type fabrics which won't show and doesn't get hard, the original texture being maintained. Should you get a tub of it is also good for rips and corner tears, bonding fabric to fabric, doing canvas repairs, applique and even inserting zips.  I haven't tried all these but have seen them demonstrated, but I can vouch for the success of the small hole operation since it worked perfectly for me. In case you need the details for comparison the UK one is called Supermend, P.O. Box 300, Basildon, Essex, SS14 3RT. On the tub it says with Flexolene, non-toxic, and only needs ironing. I think the 80g size cost about £7 but it would last forever!

    I hope you have success with the mending, it is so frustratingto have a small flaw in an otherwise perfect garment.

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