One of the most understated sustainable approaches in the fashion industry is mending our own clothes! Many of us dismiss the idea as too time consuming, old school, or go so far as to deem ourselves as entirely incapable of sewing a stitch. We are here to hopefully lift the burden of complexity and share with you some simple, quick ways to fix a garment. This also comes in handy when we thrift an items we LOVE but need a slight adjustment in order to fit us right.
1. Ways to Fix a Hole
Important to note that the kind of material in the garment plays a huge factor here! A lot of the times, just recognizing the feel and texture of a garment tells you a lot. For instance—silk is made up of very fine, hairlike threads requiring a thinner needle for mending versus genuine leather which is an intense, durable hide that would most likely break a thinner needle and require a heftier one. No need to be an expert—just feel the thickness or slipperiness of the garment.
A few ways to go about this, some prefer the style of a patch or require it for practicality purposes (like an elbow patch).
Begin by turning the garment inside out.
Place a small square of the desired material (either contrasting the material in color/texture or preferring it blends in as close as possible to the original material) over the hole. We recommend that you cut the size of the square to be about an inch larger (on each side) than the hole itself.
No machine necessary! Hand sewing works here even though it might not be as straight and even sewn as a machine. Sew the patch onto the garment. Here is a video demonstrating how to carry out the stitching.
2. How to fix a sweater snag or sweater fuzz
When you have a snag on a loosely woven sweater (in which a big loop is now hanging outside your sweater and getting caught everywhere)—cut the loop and tie the two ends into a simple knot. If you happen to have a seam ripper hook—have your sweater inside out and pull the thread back in from the inside of the sweater.
A lifesaver for sweater fuzz…take a razor to it! We are not joking, grazing a cheap shaving razor over the fuzz of the sweater takes off the excess shedding/knotted material.
3. How to sew a quick/loose hem
Whether you have a fraying hem or a garment is far too long—knowing how to sew a hem is gold that saves many garments.
Two words: hem tape. Even though this does not work with all materials, it is helpful when you are in a pinch and do not have time to sit down and sew the hem.
We recommend borrowing a sewing machine if you want a perfect, straight, seamless hem. But if you want something temporarily and need it rather quickly, we recommend purchasing some tailors chalk (which washes off) to mark where you need to cut/hem. Put on the garment and grab a friend to mark the desired length with a small dash or dot of chalk. Turn the garment inside out and if the hem is only an inch, fold up the material until the chalk mark shows at the tip of the garment. Sew across the old hem. If the garment requires a hem larger than an inch, be sure to cut off the material an inch below the chalk mark and sew the hem accordingly. We definitely recommend a second pair of eyes in this instance in order to insure accuracy of length. Check out: How to Machine Sew a Hem or How to Hand Sew a Hem
4. How to add a button
Whether it is as straightforward as sewing in and out of a two-holed button, sewing around the back of a one-hoop button back, or sewing a cross through a four-holed button—we have attached a video below! The situation for sewing buttons is not only for when garments lose a button, but also excellent for added creativity to a garment whether you want it as a functional button (in which you have to make a buttonhole) or just for aesthetic.
We hope this can spark creativity and help garments last a little longer. Let us know if you try any of these ideas or if you have any preferred way of mending clothing!