Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cashmere shawl restauration - Chantal Rammendo Invisibile

My favorite cashmere shawl, the Hermès 'Ex-Libris' in black/naturel, has been in a sad state for some time, it acquired pulled threads, snags, and pillings,

and a small, but visible hole. It was mainly because of the hole that I stopped wearing it, for fear it would become bigger and bigger, hereby damaging the scarf beyond repair.


While too precious to be left in the drawer, I was also aware that a less than perfect repair job could easily ruin it forever, which left me in a dilemma.. The solution came when I found Chantal Roy, a born Parisian who is based in Italy's fashion capital Milano (she speaks fluent english, french and italian), and owner of Rammendo Invisibile, specialising in restoration of fabrics. Her unparalleled service has brought her clients from all over the world, individual customers, as well as high-end fashion houses who trust her with their after sales services (our cherished Hermès and the fabulous Loro Piana amongst many).

When looking at the before/after shots of the restored shawls and stoles on her site, I thought she could not have named her company in a more fitting way: Rammendo Invisibile is italian for invisible mending. Invisible mending has got a deeper meaning though, it is an ancient technique which involves tremendous skill, and consists of taking individual threads from hidden parts of the fabric (which sometimes get dyed or undyed to provide an exact match), and reweaving them one by one, stitch by stitch over the damaged area, thereby recreating the original part. The end result is like a miracle, as if the damage never existed.

When I received my cherished Ex-Libris back, I was blown away by how she had transformed it from a poor wreck to it's former glory. All pulled threads have been put back into their original position, resulting in the printed design being restored in all places.

I wish I could have taken better pictures of the miraculous transformation my Ex-Libris went through, a professional photographer could have done a much better job. Also, every little particle of dust and fluff looks like a snow-capped mountain! So please excuse the rough look on some pics, which is much exaggerated, but I preferred not to retouch any of them.

THE DAMAGE


PART ONE:
These two pulled threads were the longest, measuring 30 cm on the vertical run (marked in pink), and 25cm on the horizontal run (marked in blue)
click image to enlarge

IN DETAIL
2/3 of the vertical run, before

and after

Top of the vertical run, before (includes also a stain)

and after

Part of the horizontal pulled thread, before

and after

horizontal pulled thread continued, before

and after

PART TWO
click image to enlarge

Details, before

and after

PART THREE - MISC. DAMAGE
A pull in the border, before

Close-up

and after

another snag, before

close up

and after

PART THREE - The hole presented a bigger problem, as the missing fabric included a part of the print, which happened to be very thin and in high contrast.

the area was too weak to be restored by reweaving alone, so additional embroidery was applied, and although difficult to photograph, the result is simply a 'miracle mending'.

Like Phoenix out of the ashes,

my favorite GM is ready for many happy autumn and winter outings...

Happy faces at last!


The good news does not stop here.. during the process, Chantal Roy has been most gracious and kind in answering my many questions about cashmere shawls, especially how to treat, store and clean them. Her knowledge and experience of these subjects is exceptional (I only ever had vague ideas, and as it turns out, some of them have been plain wrong). I am most happy and grateful to announce that she agreed to share her advice and expertise here, which will result in a new series 'All about cashmere', each episode featuring another cashmere topic. Please feel welcome, dear ladies, to submit your questions in the comment box below. Between all of us, there should be no cashmere/shawl related topic left unanswered! Mille merci, dear Chantal.

CHANTAL RAMMENDO INVISIBILE
Via Cernaia 6 - 20121 - Milano - ITALY

Phone: +39 02 29001310
Mobile: +39 348 5851 365
E-mail: chantal@rammendoinvisibile.com
Web:
http://www.rammendoinvisibile.com

Wishing you all a great weekend, and many happy 'boo's!' for tomorrow ;)

39 comments:

  1. What a miracle, my dear MaiTai!
    I know this kind of artisan from my home country but unfortunatelly there are not many of them left.
    I am so happy for you, my dear MaiTai. What a perfect work Chantal has done with your beautiful cashmere shawl! Thank you so much for sharing that precious information. I have already written it down. You never know if it will be necessary. Does Chantal accept orders from abroad?
    Wishing you a lovely Sunday, Warm hugs, Mxx

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  2. This is truly amazing! And great news too for ladies who were heartbroken over their damaged C/S shawls. The after pictures left me speechless. I knew some kind of mending was possible but not to that extent and certainly not with such a wonderful/as new result. I can't wait to read your new series with Ms Roy. And I do have a question re cashmere. I have been told that you can wash knitted cashmere only, but that woven cashmere (like stoles and shawls) should be dry cleaned. Then someone from H told me not long ago that they wash their C/S shawls on a regular basis... I'd love to know what Ms Roy recommends.

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  3. A miracle indeed, my dear Manuela! I could not be happier with the result. Interesting to hear about the artisans in your home country, and very true that there are not many left who master this technique.. Chantal has clients worldwide, and since the garments travel for restauration/repair purposes only, custom duties do not apply, even if sent from outside the EU.
    Enjoy a most lovely Sunday too! <3

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  4. Happy Sunday, dear booksnchocolate! I could not believe how amazing the results were either, even though I saw the pics on her site beforehand. Great question re washing vs drycleaning, I am sure we will get an expert answer on this soon :)

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  5. Dear MaiTai, Chantal appears to be a magician. Very impressive that she was able to restore your Ex-Libris shawl to look new again. I am looking forward to her series on cashmere.... any chance she has advice on how to prevent cashmere from piling or at least keep it from piling as much?

    Have a wonderful week MT. xxS

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  6. Ever since I was a little girl I have been in thrall to the skills of invisible menders - my mum used to take all sorts of things to hers and it really was like magic.
    So glad it worked for you!

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  7. Thanks for letting us know about this amazing service. Would you mind telling me approximately how muh you were charged for the work?

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  8. What a fabulous restoration MT -thank you for featuring and sharing your lovely shawl's outcome! I look forward to reading about the care of GM's and cashmeres. I also think it is quite wonderful your beloved EL shawl has been highly used and lovingly worn! xox L.

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  9. Thankyou for sharing this wonderful story, you must love your shawl very much , and doubly so now . It is indeed an iconic design and colourway , I just wish it had suited me but sadly I had to pass .

    I've just bought my first GM cashmere [ La femme aux Semelles de Vent ] and am a little wary of using it too much .[ and that's a struggle LOL] as many ladies have reported a problem with the more recent shawls being very prone to pilling .
    Is this true ? And if it is how can we treat the damage at home ?. My most expensive cashmere sweater ever pilled very easily, and I was told the very top cashmere is actually more prone to that because it's softer . That was way before cashmere became so affordable , in those days it really was a special luxury.
    Is that a myth ? Has the quality in days of mass production declined ?

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  10. So happy you have made this wonderful find and acquaintance! Also, glad you have your fav shawl to keep you warm in he coming days.
    What a wonderful skill Chantal has and thanks for sharing.
    Curious to know her thoughts at keeping moths at bay!
    Have a "sweet " Halloween, T xx

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  11. Dear Mai Tai, thank you for giving me the opportunity to discover Rammendo Invisibile. I too have an Hermes cashmere-shawl and one day I pulled the threads. There have been a whole day to fix them one by one alone. For me it's also close (80 km from Milan) so thanks again!

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  12. MaiTai, Thank you so much for sharing this information. The "invisible mending" done by Chantal on your shawl is truly remarkable! I am in awe of her skill. I look forward to reading posts with advice on caring for our precious cashmere shawls.

    Enjoy wearing your Ex Libris!

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  13. Whilst I do not own any GMs this is simply amazing workmanship - brava to Chantal! Thank you MT for introducing Chantal to us. SA:-)

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  14. P.S. can H silk scarves be repaired as well for example with thread runs? Your ExL is like new Thank you MT.

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  15. One word: Wow! I have five shawls, and one of them is the elusive Marwari in Bois de Rose. That one has only been out of the box to admire and then replaced because I cringe at the mere thought of it getting damaged. Now that you've shown us the way to shawl renewal, I may actually pull it out to--gasp--wear. ;-)

    Thank you so much for this vital information, and the photos that clearly illustrate the miracles that can be performed.

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  16. P.S. Your little friend is in great need of some serious eyebrow mending! Boo back at you<3 T xx

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  17. After this post, wearing cashmere scarf seems so much easier and more relaxed. Although I have none, I am very much astonished by the workmanship you presented. We, silk owners only, will obviously be interested in the topic Scarf Addict mentioned - whether the silks are also repaired that way (I guess it must be even more difficult than cashmere). In the cashmere series, please do not forget about us who like your silk outfits so much and please post one of them here and there, at least in one of the corners of the posts dedicated to cashmere, LOL. Hugs, Lilian

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  18. I know I shouldn't, but can I ask how much did it took for the repair? Because I have a tshirt that should be repaired, and I really like it. I thought it was impossible, but maybe with this service...
    Thanks!

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  19. MT, first of all, I'm so sorry that happened to your EL, I covet it so much that I barely wear it at all for fear it gets damaged. Thank you for posting this super interesting entry, I'll wear my GM's in confidence now that I know somebody can fix them.

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  20. PS: Does she mend scarf roulottes? I'm thinking about my vintage collection... :-)

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  21. What a treasure you have found in Chantal! She is indeed a magician. You EL looks wonderful and must give you more pleasure to wear having been so lovingly restored. Has Chantal worked on other H C/Ss and/or noticed a change in the quality over the last several years?

    Silken hugs,

    Maisie

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  22. Oh MaiTai, this is really cool!
    Thank you for sharing this miracle with us. Congrats on your "new" Ex-Libris!
    Can I ask how to wash the cashmere? Can we hand wash it as the silk ones?
    Thank you!
    mimi

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  23. Happy faces, indeed, dear MaiTai! I am so pleased for you that your beloved Ex-Libris has been restored to perfect condition. Ms. Roy's work is truly impeccable, isn't it? Congratulations, dear.
    Hugs,
    CS

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  24. Wow, this is incredible!!!
    I can't wait to read about proper cashmere care. Enjoy your 'new' GM ;)
    xo
    Leona

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  25. Great news on the scarf restoration and even better that Chantal has agreed to share her knowledge. How about a post of 'how to care for your silk scarfs' ?
    Best regards
    Pat

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  26. This information is so timely. I was about to attempt washing a white cashmere stole. It has several differnt types of soiled spots. Now, I will wait for more discussion. Thank you so much for sharing this discovery.

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  27. Yay for invisible mending and congratulations on the super success. Of course damage shows most easily in a monochrome shawl, so I am doubly grateful to hear that it has been repaired so skillfully.

    I shall look forward to Chantal's view on handwashing vs drycleaning (I am firmly in the handwashing camp unless a had a nasty foodie accident), is Woolite as bad as some websites make us believe, is baby shampoo as good as some websites make us believe?

    Birkinmary, Hermes will re-hem a scarf as well, I have had old scarves rehemmed, they will end up a little smaller to allow for the new hem.

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  28. My dearest MaiTai,
    A huge thank you for sharing your perseverance in finding the miracle worker Ms. Chantal Roy and for coming to the rescue of all cashmere/silk lovers. I'm so very happy for you to have your beautiful Ex-Libris back, what magnificent rebirth! - one could not possibly have imagined such flawless restoration without the before/after comparisons. It is so generous of Ms. Roy to share her knowledge and wisdom here - a big thank you! Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief with renewed hopes of enjoying our very special cashmere shawls again - you've made so many so very happy <3 Wishing you a most wonderful week ahead. With all my love and heartfelt hugs xx

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  29. This is absolutely great - thank you so much for sharing! hugs and looking forward to more cashmere "education", Macs

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  30. SMR. Bourbon&Pearls, Paperdeer, lanit, Estrella, Trudye, Emanuela, HK, Scarf Addict, Laura in Georgia, Lilian, hermes, Birkinmary, Maisie, mimi, CS Leona, Pat, Anonymous, Bienchen, Scarf Enthusiast and hair-mess, thank you so much for sharing! Your warm words of welcome-back to my cherished and renewed E-L are so much appreciated, and I can only join you in the praise and admiration of Chantal Roy.

    Regarding the possibility of mending other fabrics than cashmere shawls, please contact Ms Roy directly, or check the section ‘REPAIR OR NOT’ on her website, which gives a good indication too.

    Regarding cost, the blog post shows only part of the work carried out. The other damages (more pulled threads, another hole) were very similar, so I left them out. It is therefore hard to estimate how much just the work shown above would have cost, so again, it is best to ask Ms Roy directly for an estimate. Her contact details can be found at the bottom of the above post.

    Looking forward to continue the series, and to hearing Chantal Roy’s thoughts on the questions you have asked. Thank you all so much for participating! xx

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  31. Oh wow MaiTai! Thank you much for sharing your experiences with us- and I'm so glad they were positive! Cannot wait for the cashmere care information!

    My question is what is the proper storage? (I recently pulled out a cashmere sweater and wore it out unknowing that there was a hole in back - a nice lady pointed it out to me). I thought that I had stored it properly but must not have because of the hole?

    And like other ladies, I am curious about the proper cleaning for cashmere also!

    Again, thank you so much!! :o)

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  32. Thank you for sharing this, MT. I was dismayed when I managed to snag a big area of my shawl. I managed to snap them back in place to a certain degree but the damage is still visible. I'll check out the website now. Thank you.

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  33. Truly amazing restoration. Thanks for your hard word in sharing this with us! Jxo

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  34. Amazing! Thank you for sharing this post. My question on cashmere is how to best remove pilling without damaging the garment and also how to prevent it from occurring. Have some expensive items with bad pilling that I am too scared to try removing for fear if damage!

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  35. Thank you, dear Jan <3

    Excellent question, Anonymous, many thanks. No doubt a topic which interests many of us!

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  36. Dear MaiTai, Thank you to you both for this very informative tutorial. I live in Canada and am somewhat isolated even from my nearest H store. I have only a few small pulls on a couple of C/S items, do you think it possible that Mme. Roy would be open to providing a solution to repairing very simple, small pulls in GMs for us at home? I have searched several sites and would still feel the most comfortable with Mme. Roy's advice if at all possible. What are your thoughts?

    Warm regards,

    Maisie

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    Replies
    1. Hello dear Maisie, I've forwarded your request to Chantal Roy :-)

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    2. Thank you very much! Maisie xox

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  37. Thank you for sharing this valuable information, MaiTai. I have 2 Cashmere GMs that are in dire need of repair and have been trying to reach Madame Chantal Roy via email and telephone to no avail. Do you know what's the best way to get in touch with her? Thanks so much in advance. :)

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