Make emergency clothing repairs right the first time and you won’t need professional help. The following sewing repair tips are simple and will help save you money in the long run.
Res-ewing a button
Sewing on a button is a common and easy sewing repair.
- If you lose a button, look first to side seams, where manufacturers often sew in an extra button.
- If an extra button is not available for a shirt, borrow one from the bottom, which is usually tucked in and won’t show. Then sew a similar button to the bottom.
- Coats, which often are made of thick fabrics, typically have shank buttons. To allow enough space for the buttonhole to fit under the button on bulky fabrics, you can create an extended shank by placing a toothpick between the fabric and the button. Sew on the button, remove the toothpick, then wrap extra thread around the stitching a few times before knotting it.
How to sew on a button
- To sew on a button in the right place, first button all of the garment’s buttons, then place a pin or a chalk mark where the new button must be sewn on. Once the place is marked, unbutton the garment to make the sewing of the button easier.
- Use a double thread. Hold the button in place and stitch through the holes — from underside to top of button and back — several times. Stitching over a straight pin helps keep the stitching even and not too taut. To end, make a stitch knot on the underside.
Sewing on snaps; hook and eye fasteners
Snaps and hook and eye fasteners are meant to be invisible, so stitches holding them must be made on the inside of a garment. Here’s how to do it.
- First sew on the upper part of the snap or hook.
- Chalk it and rub it on the fabric where the opposite part of the fastener will be placed.
- Sew only on the outside edges of the fasteners so that the snap or hook will close.
Sewing a ripped seam
Ripped seams are best repaired with a sewing machine. If you don’t have access to a machine, you may want to hire a tailor or your dry cleaner to make the repair. However, a ripped seam can be repaired by hand, using a careful backstitch.
- Start by anchoring the thread with a knot.
- Direct the needle through both layers of fabric and back out, making a small stitch.
- Insert the needle three millimetres (1/8 inch) behind the emerging thread and take a 0.5 centimetre (1/4 inch) stitch to come out three millimetres (1/8 inch) ahead of where you began.
- Begin each following stitch at the front of the last stitch. On the underside of a row of backstitching, the larger stitches overlap a bit, but the smaller stitches on top will look like machine sewing.
- Finish with a knot.
These basic steps will help make sewing repairs easier and potentially save you from hiring a professional.