There was a question recently over on Metafilter about how to fix small holes and tears in a set of sheers that the asker didn’t want to let go of yet. They looked something like this:
The answer is that you can’t really repair the holes or recreate pristine fabric, but you can mend them so they are as inconspicuous as possible.
Here is the best way to do it without driving yourself crazy.
Get some sheer fusible interfacing. Nothing too heavy. You are looking for something like Pellon SK135 by the yard. Get a yard or two of it. Have an iron, a pair of scissors, a pencil, paper, and an old sheet.
Now for the fun part: Take some paper and trace out the pattern of the embroidery that surrounds each hole or tear on the paper. You are going to be using this for a template, so do it right. You want to isolate the area to be stabilized and just a bit outside of it.
Cut your interfacing pieces based on your templates you traced on the paper. Make sure that the textured side of the interfacing (that is the heat-activated adhesive) is going to go to the back of the sheer. You will have this:
Now take your old sheet and lay it over the ironing table or any flat surface. If you are using a regular table or a countertop, put a couple of towels or a wool or cotton blanket down before the sheet to protect the surface. If you use a synthetic blanket or padding you may end up ruining both your pad and the surface.
Now fuse it making sure that both your iron and the ironing surface are protected from the adhesive. Trust us, skip this and you will be one sad little puppy.
If you wanted to go the extra route of then using fray-check on the edge of the scar, go for it, but it shouldn’t be necessary.
Cutting precise patterns that will blend in with the circular embroidery will help hide/camouflage the extra bulk that the interfacing will add. Here it is against the light in the workrooms:
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of cutting precise patterns, you can always just cut squares/rectangles that will cover the area and put them on the same way, but you will see the edges of the interfacing through the sheer and it will look a little more “fixed” like this:
And that’s about it. There are tons of sewing methods if you were going at it from the point of a conservationist, but they require learning special skills. Having someone do them is expensive and not entirely appropriate for fabric that is still in use daily.
And that’s about it. We hope this helped out a little.