"Repairing Fabric Threads"

Fabric Thread Repairs


One of the first things novice Hardanger stitchers encounter is a missing or cut thread as can be seen at the right side of the image above. As you can see I ignored it and kept on wrapping my bars.  

In this photo the missing fabric thread has been rewoven with a parallel thread from the top of the fabric. I like to use a fabric thread that is woven in the same direction as the missing thread was woven. For the reweave I start the tail in the Satin stitches on the back side of the embroidery and often times when I finish the repairs I leave the other end loose if it doesn't peek out of the grid, usually I leave an inch and half of thread and it doesn't show through the front of the fabric as it is the exact color, but this can vary and you will need to check it for yourself. You will see photos of this later in this article.

I do not shorten the fabric thread before I start reweaving and I look for the strongest end to thread on the needle. By not shortening the fabric thread I can pull it through the weave until I find the right thickness or the tightest twist. I follow the over and under pattern that the missing thread took. And before I stitch I remove any remanant fibers and undo the remaining fabric thread a couple of inches and leave that tail loose on the back of the fabric. Again you will see photos of this later in the article.

Please note that a lot of the distortions you see in the top image will disappear when it is ironed as can be seen in the second photo at the top of this page.

Repairing Multiple Fabric Threads

Front side of the fabric

I pulled the horizontal fabric threads out of the Satin stitches on the right side of this bar when I tried to shove a button through the opening.  Actually Mistress Oops did it!  

And I get to fix it!

I turned the embroidery to its back and cut the Satin stitches in the middle of the row that needed repairs. The perle cotton thread used to make the Satin stitches was tightly coiled and would have been difficult to run through the other rows of stitches so I shortened the perle cotton once I got it in the threading loop of the dololly and pulled that much shorter thread through the short rows of Satin stitches. I had to do this for both ends of the perle cotton that had formed the row of Satin stitches.


I pulled the adjacent fabric threads that were around the dislodged thread. Then I pulled the fabric threads away from the area and left them so that I could bundle them with the new fabric thread. I pulled a horizontal fabric thread from the top of the sampler for this repair because the thread had run in the same direction, had the same crimps and had the same characteristics as the fabric threads that needed to be replaced.

The back side of the fabric with two rows of fabric rewoven

The loose fabric threads tied out of the way and the 'loop' is marked in this photo.

You can see the reweave where the loop is at the end of the fabric before the cut away fabric thread that forms the opening. You could not produce that loop in the normal course of weaving as those fabric threads run across the fabric.

To continue, I started the new fabric thread just above the area where the cut fabric threads were pulled back and left a tail long enough to run a loose loop around the fabric threads I had pulled out. I made this holding stitch loose, because later I undid the holding stitch and finished the tail of the new fabric thread.

I then took the other end of the new fabric thread and started reweaving the space as shown above. I did not cut this thread at any turn I just turned it under or over the vertical fabric thread at the edge of the space where the Satin stitched had been (see 'loop' in the photo above) and kept on weaving. I followed the weaving pattern that the old threads followed. That is over one thread, under one thread.

Back side of the fabric with the Satin stitches replaced

In the photo above I have made the fabric reweaves and cut away the tails, but I left a small portion of each tail so it would be difficult to pull out. As I wove the tails I used a dololly. I did not leave any tails on the front of the embroidery only the back, I also cut the tails short enough so that they could not peak out of the cut area. I went over some of the the previous weave to end the tails of the fabric threads reducing a lot of bulk.

To replace the Satin stitches I did the same procedure already mentioned in the Repairing Klosters topic that you can see by clicking on that topic, one additional thing I would add is that I started the perle cotton by making a long away knot below the area then I took a single Straight stitch over one thread in the middle of the repair area and started the row of Satin stitches at the top of the block as seen in the photo above. I stitched over that anchoring stitch and the tail from the away knot so that I could cover them and then cut the away thread after I finished the row of Satin stitches.

Front of the Fabric now repaired, see the away knot?

There is some fuzziness from the repaired threads that can be eliminated by running a starch or sizing soaked perle thread through each intersection. This is a tedious job that I would do after I finished the embroidery and had washed it and was ready to iron it for finishing. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times. While you are at it go over the double weaves and line them up using a sizing soaked fabric thread to 'glue' the repairs into place. ©2003 Linda Fontenot, www.AmericanFolkArts.com All Rights Reserved