This poor, poor couture jacket had been mistreated. When spied at an inner-city Salvation Army store in Los Angeles, there was a 4-inch tear down the right front, and all the buttons had been carelessly snipped off, leaving scissor holes in the fabric.
Still, it was a fine wool Salvatore Ferragamo blazer, made in Italy, and had no other defects. Could this garment be saved?
The tag stated $6.99, but when Allison pointed out the obvious damage, the price dropped to $1.99. She happened to be going to F & S Fabrics in West L.A. (10629 W. Pico Blvd.) that has a terrific button selection, and decided to mix it up with both square and round purple wood buttons for the front. (The buttons were plain purple on the backs, and could have been used with the white stripe up or not.) The square buttons were $1.50 each and the round ones were $1 each, so $10 was spent there.
The appliqués came from Trim 2000, one of our favorite trim shops, located in the LA Fabric District downtown. The four purple sprays totaled $10.
Allison was shopping with costume designer Angela Lampe from the Des Moines Playhouse, who had come to L.A. for one of her regular fabric-buying forays. Angie suggested stabilizing the tear with Pellon fusible interfacing. Allison bought 1/8th of a yard and cut a strip the length of the tear and slightly wider. Using a damp press cloth over the Pellon strip, she pressed it with a iron on the wool/steam setting for 10 seconds.
Since the blazer had not yet been cleaned (a step we always take after buying from thrift stores), she then took it to the dry cleaners. The Pellon strip stayed on after cleaning, and then it was a matter of stitching on the appliqués. Allison found thread that exactly matched the appliqués and arranged the appliqués to cover the Pellon strip. Using a single thread, she simply took small stitches into the appliqués all around the vining design. (Pieces of tape helped keep the vines in place while stitching.)
Before sewing on the buttons, Allison hand-stitched the holes in the jacket shut. Those stitches were covered by the new buttons.
The stitching took a few hours, but it was fun to see the design come together. The result: a well-made blazer that got a second life.