When it’s a small job, sometimes you don’t need to spend money at a tailor. Here’s how to replace a zipper and hem a skirt the way the pros do.
Before you begin…
Before you do anything else, you must first thread a needle. However, trying to get super-thin thread into a tiny eye of the needle can be frustrating! But not if you follow these 6 easy steps:
- Measure the thread you’ll need, double the length, then add a couple inches at the end for the knot.
- Use scissors to snip off the thread from the spool, so you’ll get a clean line that’ll make it easier to thread through the needle.
- Tie the ends of the thread together to form an anchoring knot that’ll prevent it from sliding through the eye.
- Twist the looped end together and wet it slightly so it keeps at a point.
- Hold up the needle close to your face and close one eye so you can focus on the small eye more efficiently.
- Gently poke the looped end through the eye, and pull it through the other side.
Replacing a zipper
Try to pick a replacement zipper that’s at least the same length as the broken one.
- You can always cut a bit off the top if it’s too long.
- Match the material (plastic or metal) to the one you had before.
- Actually zip it up and down beforehand to make sure it works before sewing it on.
To get the old zipper off:
- Use needle-nose pliers or small pointy scissors to remove the existing stitching. It’s that simple!
To sew the new zipper on:
- Put the new zipper on the right side of the material.
- Insert pins every couple of inches to temporarily secure it in place.
- Add about an eighth of an inch of clearance to make sure the zipper doesn’t catch in the fabric when you use it.
- A denim weight needle will work for most fabrics, except leather. (You’ll need a special needle for that.)
- Stitch on the inside of the material. You can use a sewing machine or do it by hand.
- If you choose the latter, use a long length basting stitch for the best results.
- Just be patient with whichever method you choose, and your zipper will soon be attached.
Hemming a skirt
Because of a skirt’s shape and line, sewing a hem is one of the most straightforward jobs. The most difficult part comes in deciding how much of a hem you want, then setting it in place. Most skirts look best with a hemline of an inch or less.
- Use a ruler or measuring tape to carefully measure the hemline and mark it out with chalk.
- Then insert pins every couple of inches to mark the line you’ll be sewing.
- As with the zipper, you can choose between a sewing machine or doing it by hand.
However, there’s a bit more flexibility with the type of stitch you can use, with these four options being the best ones:
- Blind stitch for near-invisibility.
- Fell stitch for heavier fabrics so the thread only goes through half of the top layer.
- Left-to-right catch stitch for elasticity and strength.
- Slip stitch if you’ve got a double-fold hem and want to hide the stitch line.
Although it may take a bit of time, dedication and practice, soon you’ll be threading a needle, replacing a zipper and hemming a skirt like a pro before you know it!