November 28

ZIPPERS: To Replace or Not to Replace? – That Is the Question.

zipper

Sorry, couldn’t resist that play on words.

Regardless my poor humour, zippers are a wonderful invention and do a great job, when they are not damaged. The most common zippers on jackets are plastic teeth zippers, but there’s also plastic coil and metal teeth.

Now here’s a tidbit that few people know. A non-working zipper does NOT always have to be replaced.

That’s right!  Of all the jacket zippers I see in my shop for replacement, I only actually replace about 20%. The other 80% simply need the slider replaced. Replacing the slider will see that zipper back in operation in less than 5 minutes.

Since zippers are costly to replace, just replacing the slider is a VERY attractive alternative to most people. Consider 7.5 – $12.5 for replacing a slider versus $25-$75 to replace a zipper.

Self Test to Judge if it’s a Damaged Slider or Zipper:

Continue reading

May 7

Jean Seat Repair

The Rip

This is a continuation of my initial post on Rips & Tears which contains all the instructions in detail.

The Rip
The Rip
Gluing the Patch
Gluing the Patch
Initial zig-zag around damaged area.
Initial zig-zag around damaged area.
Finished repair filled in to make less visible.
Finished repair filled in.
Repair at a distance.
Repair at a distance.

Please let me know if anything is unclear, or if there are other tutorials you’d like to see. I’d also love to hear  your sewing stories, how my tutorials help, or any other comments you have to offer. :)

Happy Sewing!

May 7

Conquering the Dreaded “Jean Hem”

Jean Hem

Wait! Don’t run away! I’m serious! Yes, you can CONQUER the dreaded jean hem! No more broken needles and endless frustration! Read on!

A little over -dramatic? Not for those who have been left in tears, or just about, after having broken needle after needle trying to hem jeans. Needles are NOT cheap! For many people, few repairs in the sewing room inspire as much dread as dealing with jeans, especially hems and zippers. In this tutorial, I’m going to show the trick to getting over the “hump” in the hem, without breaking needles, or losing your sanity. 🙂

First, if you understand why the issues are happening, you can avoid them. It’s simple. The needles are breaking because the presser foot doesn’t stay level when going over the thicker side seam. Keep the foot level, and you won’t be breaking needles.

No, you do not need a heavy industrial sewing machine to accomplish this… Continue reading

May 6

Rips & Tears

wpid-20140428_124724.jpg

One of the most common repairs in clothing is rips and tears, especially in pant seats. This one was a little different, as it was to the front of a leg on some coveralls, but the procedure is the same.

Achieving a patch that hides well can take a bit of practice, but these instructions should help you achieve it much more quickly, especially if you follow the lines of threads in the garment.

Instructions:

Tear in coveralls
Iron tear flat

 

Choosing Patching fabric:

I keep a bin of cut offs from hemming jobs and choose the closest in color or color tone, stretch, etc. The right color or tone insures the best blending to the eye of old and new fabric. The beige fabric in the above repair was chosen on purpose for visibility.

Choosing the Right Thread:

To ensure the best blending, choose a color similar to the garment and one shade darker.

Securing the Patch:

Using a water soluble glue (same solid stick used in kid’s crafts), glue the patch to the back side of the garment. Whether the patch is first secured with straight stitching or zig-zag is determined by the type of fabric. For fabric with little or no stretch, use a straight stitch, but for jeans, knits – anything with stretch – use a zig zag stitch, otherwise the repair will either tear or stitches will break when the clothing is put to use. Stitch around the tear about a 1/2 inch  away, then another line of stitching close to the tear.

 

Back with supporting fabric
Back with supporting fabric

 

Glue patch down with water soluble glue
Glue patch down with water soluble glue

 

Filling In:

Once the patch has been secured, examine the direction of the threads in the garment and follow those lines as as you straight stitch forwards and backwards. How much you fill in determined by the garment’s fabric and the look you want to achieve. Some blend in easily, while others require more effort. A fabric that has variations in color, like many denims, will fill in easier than a solid tone. You can also purchase threads that have different tones of the same color within the spool (variegated) which help tremendously in blending.

 

Stitch around the tear to secure patch and fill in the area (if warranted)
Stitch around the tear to secure patch and fill in the area (if warranted)

The picture immediately above shows the repair in various stages of filling in. The left area is almost completely filled in, while the right area showing the tan backing fabric has simply been stitched around. The latter would be the typical minimal repair, while a full fill in (left) is more expensive, but can be done is such a way to make the repair almost unnoticeable.

I say to fill in the area – if warranted – as each client’s needs are different, and so is the piece of clothing. These coveralls didn’t warrant the extra labour involved in filling in the repair, as the customer wanted it fixed as inexpensively as possible. However, I chose to do a more elaborate repair, and only charge the client for a basic repair, in order to have some pictures for this tutorial.

Another example:

The repair on these jeans is a bit different as the client simply wants the hole filled in while showing a contrasting backing fabric, and keeping the frayed edges of the holes. The procedure was very simple: glue garment to patch and zig-zag around.

Viewable patches
Viewable patches
repaired tear
Patched with contrasting fabric and zig-zagged around

Please let me know if anything is unclear, or if there are other tutorials you’d like to see. I’d also love to hear  your sewing stories, how my tutorials help, or any other comments you have to offer. :)

Happy mending!

March 27

Damaged Coat Repair

finished-coat-repair-sm

Finding creative fixes for torn clothing can be a challenge, but it is actually one of my favorite repairs. I get a great sense of satisfaction when an otherwise wrecked garment gains new life. This is the case with a regular client’s coat this week. She bought the coat at a huge discount because she figured I’d find a solution, and I was pretty happy at how it turned out.

She didn’t care if she had a usable pocket, and since the inside of the pocket is the same grey as the outside of the coat, I used it – and the lining – to make a mock welt pocket. I serged the remaining  attached pocket layers (as shown below – black thread) together to keep it all from fraying.

image

The welt pocket flap is first stitched across the bottom of the grey stripe.  This stitch line also serves to secure all the layers of the open pocket together.

image

Below is the finished repair with mock welt pocket with stitch lines on the sides and top, and the shredded fabric well sealed between the flap, and interior pocket layers.

image

Just another simple way to recycle.