Wednesday, January 19

A Stitch in Time: Simple and Simple Techniques for Mending and Altering Clothes | fashion

SUBWAYMy memory of my mother’s sewing basket goes back as far as I can remember. Even now, if I were to look for it, I’m sure the scraps of fabric, the loose buttons, the thimbles, the pink cushion, and the colored spools of thread would look exactly as I remember them.

It seemed like something every grown house would have: the relevant tools for sewing lost buttons or sewing ballet costumes. But as an adult, I have never owned a sewing kit. I subcontract all my clothing repairs to my dry cleaner or tailor.

Talking to Nicole Mallalieu, a fashion professor at the Australian College of the Arts, about simple home repairs, made me realize that I was missing one of life’s simple pleasures. The satisfaction and meditation of fixing something for yourself.

How to sew a button

Before sewing a button, Mallalieu says “take the time to examine the other buttons on the garment” so you can see which sewing pattern to use and where to place it. She says start by threading a needle with thread, folding the thread, and knotting it at the bottom.

Next, hold the button in place and starting from behind the fabric, insert the needle through the fabric and a hole in the button and pull until the knot hits the back of the fabric. Then reinsert the needle through the other hole and push it to the other side of the fabric. “Keep doing this until the button feels pretty secure,” he says. If the button has four holes, you can either sew in straight lines or make a cross, just follow the same pattern as the other buttons on the garment.

To finish, insert the needle through a hole in the back of the fabric and tie a knot by wrapping the thread around the needle two or three times before pulling it through and cutting off the tail. This is called a French knot. If you want more guidance, Mallalieu suggests looking at online tutorials like East.

How to darn a sock

“The act of darning brings you into a meditative state,” says Mallalieu, “you are fixing the sock instead of fixing life, but you are also fixing life.” To darn a sock, she says you need a darning mushroom which is a piece of wood in the shape of, well, a mushroom.

A person darning a sock with a darning mushroom
“Sew with the thread and a needle to cover the hole in the sock with what looks like bars in a jail.” Photograph: Zvonimir Atletic / Getty Images / EyeEm

He places it inside the sock so that the hole extends over the curve of the mushroom. She suggests getting yarn to match or complement the color of her sock. Starting from one corner, it says “sew with the thread and a needle to cover the hole in the sock with what looks like bars in a jail.”

Once you have captured all the fabric with vertical lines, move the needle back through the stitches horizontally, “one below, one above, one below, one above as if you were weaving fabric.” She tells me that there are many online videos They provide clear instructions on how to do this.

How to sew a patch over a hole

If you don’t have a lot of skills, Mallaelieu thinks patching can be a really fun way to cover up holes or stains or embellish clothing. She says she embraces the visible repair trend so that “it doesn’t matter if you’re not very good at sewing.”

She suggests using a “colored thread or thread” and making a “continuous stitch in and out with a needle” around the edge or along the fabric that “may need to be pinned.”

Drop Hem Repair

Adjusting the length of a hem is a two-person job to make sure it is even.
Adjusting the length of a hem is a two-person job to make sure it is even. Photograph: Todd Pearson / Getty Images

The easiest way to repair a fallen hem is to use hem tape, which you put inside the hem and press with an iron, but this is a cap that will only last until the next wash.

Alternatively, you can sew by hand using a needle with a single thread, knotted last. Mallalieu says to first press the hem and then sew between the two edges of the fabric, “your goal is not to show it on the outside.” Suggest watching an online tutorial that demonstrates different techniques like thorns of fish or whip stitches.

If you’re handy with a sewing machine and the hem was machine-stitched, she says, “you’ll have to go back to a sewing machine, press the hem to shape, and copy what’s been sewn.”

According to Mallalieu, adjusting the length of a hem is a two-person job, because you need “someone else to measure it from the floor and hold it for you” to make sure it’s even. She advises pressing down on the hem and then putting the garment back on to make sure it’s positioned where you want it, before cutting and sewing it in place.

How to safely turn your jeans into shorts

To cut your jeans into uniform shorts, Mallalieu says you need to lay them flat and match the crotch from crotch to ankle, then fold them in half so that the legs are on top of each other.

Caucasian woman's hands measure the desired length with a tape measure on a white table.  Shorten the jeans with scissors and a sewing pin.  DIY summer clothes.  Top view.
Carefully match the crotch of a pair of jeans from crotch to ankle before cutting, and always leave a couple inches free for fraying. Photograph: Veni vidi … shoot / Getty Images / iStockphoto

With large scissors, cut both legs at the same time. Note that the denim will fray an inch or two after cutting, so you should leave a little more length.

How to change the length of a sleeve

A young man dressed in a white cotton T-shirt with raw cut sleeves and collar.
When cutting the sleeves of a cotton T-shirt, it will not require hemming, because the fabric will naturally roll. Photograph: Westend61 / Getty Images

Mallalieu says that sleeve alterations really depend on the fabric of the item and what finish you want. If you just want to cut the sleeve and leave an raw edge, you need to consider the weave of the fabric. “The tighter the fabric, the less likely it is to unravel, thinner fabrics with looser fabrics are more likely to fray.” To avoid fraying, it is recommended to “run a small zig zag stitch around the edge”.

Alternatively, he says that you can cut the sleeves off a T-shirt or anything else made of cotton jersey without worrying that “it doesn’t fray, it just rolls up the sleeves.”

She says if “you are turning a shirt into a short-sleeved shirt, cut it to the length you want plus an inch, so you can fold it more than a centimeter and then an inch,” and hem it with a sewing machine. around the edge, or if you’re doing it by hand, use a herringbone stitch.

Mallalieu offers one last piece of advice, applicable to any home repair job: “Know it’s not that difficult and give it a try. The most important thing is to know that you can do it, especially if you spend a little time. “

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