Monday, May 9, 2011

Basic Mending

I'm not going to lie, mending is tedious and I kind of hate it BUT mending is a great way to extend the life of your clothes, keep them looking good, and avoid paying other people to do what you can with just a bit of patience. Also, you can do your mending in front of the tv, or while listening to music, audio books, podcasts, etc., and I suggest you do.

I love sewing, I honestly do. I'm not very good at it, but I can whip out a wrap skirt or a pillow in no time flat. I'm not talking about learning a while new skill or creating something from scratch when I say mending, which is exactly why anyone can do this. It's easy, you usually don't need a sewing machine, and like I said, you won't have to pay someone else to do it or replace your clothes.

Everyone, I'm sure, has bought something once upon a time and said "If this just had this, or didn't have that, it would be perfect" "Or, these pants are just a little too long, but I can't pass them up." Then you wear your imperfect garment and realize that it's not as great as you thought, or your too-long pants drag in puddles and look disgusting after a few short months. All of this can be avoided, and it's not even that hard. The fact is that people are shaped drastically differently, and clothing manufacturers cannot design for every body shape/size. If they did, our clothes would cost a lot more. Thankfully, I don't have any crazy unique body issues, just a few quirks, so I've figured out how to fix my own clothes to fit me better.

You do not need a sewing machine to do basic mending, just a few cheap supplies.


Neutral colored thread--I recommend a spool of black, navy, and tan. These are colors that will blend in with most clothes, but if you need different thread, just buy some. A spool of the high-quality stuff only costs $1.50 and it will last forever. I've been sewing since 7th grade and now have a sewing kit I inherited from my grandma, and I've never used up a whole spool of thread.

Good scissors-- If you're just cutting thread, don't buy good scissors; if you want to start hemming clothes, taking things in, etc., buy good scissors. Yes, they can be expensive, but not nearly as expensive as replacing a pair of pants you ruined by hacking at them with your 3-for-$10 scissors from Target. Buy good scissors, and dedicate them to sewing.

Fabric Glue-- Fabric glue is the greatest thing ever. It works perfectly for tiny fixes and tears, you can use it to seal fraying ends, it helps your cuffs sag less--basically it's just the greatest thing ever. Because it's designed for fabric, you can expect it to last through many washings and it's cheap.

Pins--Essential to make your cuffs straight when hemming pants or skirts.

Iron--Essential to make hems look professional and not like something you did while watching Gilmore Girls (even if you totally did). The point of hemming your pants is to tell the world "Hey, my pants/skirt are just the right length for me, I must be magical." Not, "I hemmed my pants--check it out!" I hate ironing too, but you have to do it.

Seam Rippers Rule!
Needles-- Buy a packet of needles, and put them back when you're done using them, or buy a pincushion to keep your needles in. Whatever you do, keep track of those things because you will lose them--I promise, and then you will find them later with either your butt or your foot.

Seam Ripper--This little guy will quickly become your best friend.  Seam rippers cost between $.84 and $2, I suggest you go for the higher end one, but maybe get a little one too.  Seam rippers do exactly what their name says--the rip out seams.  If you try to rip out a seam without a seam ripper, you run the risk of tearing, or of cutting a hole in your own clothes (I've done it).

Up next: Hemming!

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