In an age when clothes can appear to cheap in the stores a whole generation may forget that it is possible to extend the life of a garment whether it is a favourite or not. Some of us may be a little daunted, with little understanding of the best way to go about some minor repairs. So, to help, here are a few of my top tips.
1. Seams. Split and unravelled seams can be relatively straightforward to repair. The best thing to do is study the inside of your garment before you start and try to gain an understanding of where the original seam line sat and which other seams it may join with. If you follow the original seam line as best you can you’ll ensure the best fit. Where splits or tears have occurred you may need to deepen the seam allowance. Do this very gradually over a long length of seam to get the best results. If you don’t have access to a machine to complete your repairs hand sewing will work just as well, and can sometimes be easier depending on where the seam is. Just remember to complete the repair with a back stitch rather than a running stitch. It will give a better finish and will be much stronger in the long run.
2. Holes. Address them, early. Small holes are like small children. They grow and get messy! Take charge. Small holes may be able to be ‘caught’ and sewn closed (darning). Larger holes may need a little disguising with perhaps a patch. It may be possible to match patch from the rear/inside and sew the frayed edges to secure. Or, you may need to patch from the front, this can be made into a feature – very easy to do on children’s clothes. Just don’t forget to patch the back as well to prevent it from worsening due to further friction.
3. Woolens. Getting a hole in anything woollen can be soul destroying as you witness it unravelling in front of you. I have this issue currently with a favourite scarf and a playful kitten. As soon as any yarn appears to be ‘pulled’ do your very best to push the ‘pull’ through to the inside of the garment. A crochet hook can come in handy here. Never, ever, cut the pull to get rid of the excess. The moment you do this it is free to unravel. If the pull has created a snag across your garment you can also use your fingers and fingernails to ease the snagging and thus reduce the size of the ‘pull’. Sometimes the pull can disappear completely. When you have the loose ‘pull’ on the inside of the garment you can then see if it is possible to knot this to secure it or weave it in to another place on the inside hereby tucking it out of the way. It is also sometimes possible to use clear nail varnish or fray stop glue to prevent any further deterioration to any holes left.
4. Zips. Zips in garments can be very tricky things and some repairs are not worth attempting unless you are quite confident in your abilities. That’s what tailors are for. However there are a few tips to know. If your zipper seems to get stuck as it slides up and down try rubbing a graphite pencil along the zips teeth. It’s sounds too simple to be true but I have done it and it works! If the zipper sticks because fabric or thread is caught in the zip pull stop pulling straight away. Take a look to see what is getting caught and see if it is possible to release it. If you need to move the zipper, it is generally best to pull the zip pull back in the direction it came. This will normally release any fabric and threads, though you may need to ease them down with your finger nail as you pull to help release them. Any individual thread can always be cut loose and then gently pulled through the zip.
As always the internet can be a useful source of advice on any mending matter and for the most simple of problems there will always be a choice of solution. So remember, when it comes to mending you are not alone and there are lots of us doing it.