Fine Wine, Travel & The Fine Art of Suit Repair

This article is for serious businessmen with extremely fine taste in wine, travel, and suits. It doesn’t matter what the business is, whether high-end corporate or a start-up, you aim to always look your finest. Dressed confidently to lead, your suit is your armor. You shine in an amazing ensemble that projects your confidence. What you wear speaks volumes about you, skipping contrite verbiage and making an immediate impression. Owning a fine suit & suit repair is just one more business expense like a corporate car, office space, or even the tap dancing shoes of an entertainer. The way you look and carry yourself is a welcome business expense, easing your clients’ expectations when your looks match your wit.

However, even the finest businessmen can hit a snag. Imagine as you start to close a deal, signing on the dotted line, your arm outstretched, your finely sewn sleeve catches on the sharp corner of your desk.

The ripping sound of fine fabric, sewn by an artisan, can be heart wrenching. Maybe rips & tears don’t matter to you. Or, maybe you view your suits as an investment into your personal brand. 

The Art of Suit Repair

Investments need maintenance. With fine fabrics you need a maven, an old-world craftsman, whose talent is a rare human condition that cannot be replaced by automation.  Rips and tears in fabric, while commonplace, must be repaired to ensure your clients take you seriously.  

There are not many ways you can fix fabric whether it is a suit, a designer gown, or pants.  Fabric comes in so many weaves, colors, and patterns that matching fabric is almost impossible at a later date. How a suit is repaired is determined not only by the type of fabric, but the craftsman’s judgment, born from boundless experience. Any result from a repair has to be imperceptible so the suit’s pattern and weave are like the original.

Examples of Without A Trace repair.

However, suit repairs can be expensive with no guarantees about the fabric matching.  The worst jobs are patches sewn or ironed in while some fabric stretches too much and does not lend itself to any kind of repair.

Who knew that keeping a fine suit looking good could be so much trouble?

The Solution is in Chicago

Luckily there is a little shop in Chicago that can help – Without A Trace Weavers, an unassuming storefront that is home to expert tailors. I found it quite by accident while visiting a friend, now Without A Trace has gained another business patron.  I had a chance to stop in and talk to the staff.

Patterned Suit Pocket Repair
Patterned Suit Pocket Repair Matches Perfectly

The Weaving Technique

Much to my surprise, I saw a William Floravanti suit being packaged up for the owner, it looked fabulous and could cost $22k.  So, I realized quickly Without A Trace was an extraordinary resource for a businessman like me.  I was not going to leave without learning more, and luckily the owner, Michael Ehrlich was there.

Mr. Ehrlich answered my barrage of questions and I received an education about fabric, tensile strength, weave, patterns and wear-ability.

Michael Ehrlich started Without A Trace Weavers in 1985 on West Bryn Mawr Avenue on the Northside of Chicago. This quiet little neighborhood storefront houses his extensive shop, with racks of clothing made up of furs, suits, and sweaters.  Along one wall are several people working on weaving, leather, fur, and designer handbag repairs.  It was clear to me that Without A Trace Weavers held a niche spot in the world of high-end fashion repairs.  You can also find a hidden storefront on East Walton off Downtown Chicago’s Magnificant Mile.

Weaving is not just one technique to my surprise.  Mr. Ehrlich explained weaving to me based on the type of fabric; French reweaving, in-weaving or re-knitting are the different weaving techniques used in his shop for different types of fabric. It was clear their reweaving techniques unique while the staff is patient and hardworking to ensure all Without A Trace standards are met. 

Suit Repair, The Test

One of my suits had sleeves that was showing wear and the other had some fabric fraying on one lapel as well as a ripped pocket. Shipping to Without A Trace was easy! I printed their shipping label and went to FEDX. Three days after I shipped my suits, I got a phone call from the manager, Linda.

She gave me an estimate with a clear description of the work that would be done.  No fix is completely invisible but, in their words, “imperceptible” – a term that describes an impressively finished job.

I agreed to the estimate and I received my repaired garments about three weeks later. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that I found Without A Trace Weavers. Imperceptible is a good description of the work.  I could hardly see where the rips and frays in my suit were. Loose threads in the lapel were gone.  Their weaving has been the best I have ever seen for a suit repair.  I was amazed and relieved that I finally found a way to fix and maintain my suits.  Whether the suit is $2000 or $22,000 you want a craftsman you can trust to fix your suit.

At Without A Trace Weavers, threads are taken from an unseen area of the garment to make a seamless repair, using just enough thread to allow for a complete re-weaving.  With this technique, ragged edges vanish.  Without a single patch, the threads are literally weaved together to create new fabric.  It takes time and it is an art.  Mr. Ehrlich is a master artist who is out to please you.  Mastering the art of reweaving requires training every day for a year.

Weaving For Other Garments Too

If you do not wear suits regularly, Without A Trace Weavers will still cater to you. Whether it is an old garment with sentimental attachment or your favorite leather jacket, Without A Trace Weaves will make your clothing look new .

If you don’t believe me, just scroll to the bottom of Without A Trace Weavers home page and you will find an unsolicited video of Mr. Jillette, of the famed Penn & Teller magicians  talking about how Without A Trace Weavers fixed his leather jacket from the 1970’s.  Mr. Ehrlich has fixed many items for celebrities.  Just recently, Without a Trace Weavers got a call from Barbara Streisand’s production team requesting they dye her leather boots for a performance in Chicago the next night.  Certainly, Without A Trace Weavers is a Chicago gem that Hollywood celebrities know about.

I hope you will check out their services. Without A Trace Weavers is high on my fashion resource list for suit repair.  In these days of automation and the loss of craftsmanship, it’s nice to know there is a place out there that will still maintain and repair my clothes with a sharp eye and discerning hand.