A Friendly Beginner’s Guide to Mending Clothes

by Rebecca McCusker January 26, 2019
ReadA Friendly Beginner’s Guide to Mending Clothes Photo by Annie Spratt

In this day and age, sewing is a quiet rebellion against throw-away culture. It’s about fixing what we have instead of always heading out to purchase something new. Whether you ripped the hem of a sundress or had a button pop off a shirt, it’s more economical (and eco-friendly) to prolong the garment’s life by repairing it instead of tossing it.

Throw a simple sewing kit in your camping gear, in your car, or keep it in your linen closet for those times when you need to fix a garment in a pinch.

How to sew a button back on a garment

First, thread your needle. You’ll need about 24 inches of thread for a single button. Make sure your thread is the same color as the garment.

Pull the thread through the eye of the needle until both sides are even. Knot the ends of the thread together, and knot once more for good luck.

Position the button onto the garment. Pass the needle and thread up through the first buttonhole, then diagonally across the second, and up through the back of the fabric. Go through all the buttonholes approximately six times.

Pass through the back of the fabric going through the first buttonhole, continue going front to back, back to front through all the buttonholes in a diagonal or adjacent fashion.

Don’t forget to leave a small space between the fabric and the button for easier button fastening.

Once the button feels firmly attached, push the needle up from the back of the fabric to the front, but not through any buttonholes. Wrap the thread tightly in the space between the button and the fabric about six times.

Pull the needle through to the back of the garment again, snip the thread, and knot the ends together. All done!

How to mend an unraveled hem

First, thread your needle and knot the ends. Second, flip the garment inside out so you can work from the back of the fabric.

Where the hem is ripped, fold the fabric inward over itself about ¼ inch to reinforce the hem.

Position your needle about one inch from where the hem starts to unravel and make a small stitch to anchor the knot on the inside of the garment.

Moving from left to right along the raw edge, insert the needle diagonally to the right, dipping just below the raw edge, then come back up through the top of the edge.

Continue moving from left to right in this manner, keeping your stitches as tiny and even as possible. This way, the thread barely shows on the other side of the garment.

When you’re done, trim and knot the thread on the back of the fabric. Hem all fixed!


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