Create / Enjoy: mending
Showing posts with label mending. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mending. Show all posts

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tutorial: Invisible elbow patches to protect sweaters

I present to you... a new super handy tutorial! So often I with lightweight sweaters I find the elbows get stretched out when I bend my arms in them, so I actually hesitate to wear some of my sweaters too much. When I wash them they normally bounce back, but you can't wash sweaters too often, either, and I don't wash the wool ones! I like to make my clothes last, so it occurred to me to add something like a patch on them, the way preppy professor-ey blazers and Irish fisherman's sweaters have leather patches on them--and while I like that look sometimes, I don't want them on all my sweaters!

So I recently developed and made official this technique to protect the elbows of delicate and lightweight sweaters with an invisible elbow patch. It's reinforced from the inside, so if you use a perfect thread color, nothing has to show! Dang lightweight sweaters...

Know what I mean? Look how soft and thin this thing is. I'm like, afraid to wear it too much!!

This weekend I had an extra few hours for crafting and computer time, and I settled in with these lightweight sweaters and made them safer to wear! ;)

Invisible Elbow Patch Tutorial

1. Try on the sweater and bend your elbow. Insert a pin at the center of the point of your elbow. Do this on both sides.

2. Take off the sweater carefully. Hopefully your pins will be mostly symmetrical. I split the difference on this one and moved both pins a little.

3. With some scrap paper, cut an oval the approximate size you want your elbow patches to be. I just eyeballed it, but if you're wondering, this one's about 4 3/8" by 3". You can see where I folded it in half twice to make sure it was symmetrical top-bottom and left-right!

Cut out two of the pattern piece out of fusible knit interfacing like this Pellon stuff I used (found some online here as well). Pellon Ek 130 Easy-Knit.

4. Carefully turn the sweater inside out, keeping the pins in place. Center the pin under the interfacing oval.

5. Press down the patch, on both sides. Again try to make them symmetrical (in relation to the side seams and to the cuffs--that is, horizontally and vertically).

6. (This part is super awkward.) With the sweater still inside out, wrestle with your sleeve so you get can sew through the interfacing around the edges of the entire oval.

I used a straight stitch, but you could do a little zigzag if you wanted. If you use a straight stitch, stretch the sweater a little as you sew--both the sweater and interfacing are knit so they have some give, but the straight stitch won't stretch with them and you risk ripping a stitch if you sew it too tight.

(Note: it's most important for your BOBBIN thread to match the sweater on this because you're sewing on the inside, and the bobbin thread will show on the outside!)

7. Turn right side out and give another press if you need to. Done!

Here they are!

I highly recommend doing this to your delicate sweaters some Saturday. Put on some good Netflix and settle in. It doesn't take much concentration once you get the hang of it, but if you're like me, you'll need a couple episodes of The Mindy Project to keep you company.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Favorite new old boyfriend jeans--my jeans-mending method in action yet again, plus making skinny jeans.

My jeans-mending method comes to the rescue again! I did a tutorial ages ago for how I mend holes in jeans to give them an "I meant to do this" look like the trendy pre-worn jeans sometimes have, but also with a super EASY technique that keeps the patching in place as you sew.

I've used this technique a mazillion times, to be exact, and the latest iteration is particularly successful. My friend gave me an old pair of Sevens that didn't fit her and had holes in the knees, and she bought them in a lot on eBay anyway. Oh, if my 15-year-old self could see me now... I FINALLY own a real pair of Sevens!! My fave designer from those days. Still good jeans. Anyway, these were the classic bootcut style, so I did two major things to them: I made them skinnier, so now they're a straight cut, kind of like boyfriend jeans but a little tighter everywhere. Of course, I also mended the holes.

Plenty of detail on that for you... also check out the follow-up tutorial I did on how to mend jeans when the holes are in the knees or other hard-to-maneuver places. It can be done!! Using my same 'ol fave method.


DURING! Turning the jeans inside out...

Applying the fusible interfacing...

In this case, had to reinforce with some cotton on a particularly thinly threaded hole...

MADE SKINNIER.... no pics, oops!


Totally gets that casual boyfriend look, right?! These are like my new fave jeans!! I've been wearing them around partially mended, but now they're done and I can share pics. Love these!

I totally encourage you to take care of your fave jeans and make them wearable for even longer! That ripped look is in and it's quite convenient for those of us who don't like to buy new stuff all the time. ;)

Tutorials here (basic method) and here (tips for knees, tough areas).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tutorial update: How to mend jeans when the holes are in the knees

So you've probably seen this tutorial of mine on how to mend holes in jeans like a pro. It's seriously an amazing method and I hope you check it out, but I also wanna share a follow-up with you: how to use the steps in that tutorial when the holes are in the knees of your jeans!

I use the method interchangeably, but I was talking to a friend not long ago about her fave jeans that had gotten holes in the knees. I said, have you seen my tutorial?? And she said she had, but she didn't think it would work on the knees!

Now, I'll admit it is a little trickier when the hole is in the middle of the leg of the jean--it will involve some skillful maneuvering--but the method can TOTALLY be done almost anywhere on your pants. Literally, people--knees, thighs, hem area, back pockets... anywhere your machine can reach, you can use this! Here's how!!

Let me tell you the story of two pairs of jeans with hole-ey knees and other worn places, and show you my method's success. First up is this pair of American Eagle stretch bootcut jeans I got at Marshall's earlier this summer--$16.99, love when they have last-season AE stuff! I was desperate for a pair of boyfriend jeans before going up to sort-of-chilly Port Angeles, Washington for the weekend and didn't want to spend the $70 or whatever at Gap to get the perfect ones like Kendi has.

Anyway, I bought these jeans and was okay with the distressed look, but after putting them on a few times realized I kept poking my toes through the holes on the knee and hip! I could fix this problem by being more graceful... or, I could mend the holes before they get any bigger.

  • So here's the before.
  • Check out the essential jeans-mending method tutorial if you're rusty, but if not, grab your fusible interfacing and press it onto your hole on the inside.
  • I like to cuff up the jean twice so it's nice and flat and can fit under my presserfoot when I lift it as high as it goes. Then slide the leg onto your arm--this works if you have a machine with a detachable arm!!
  •  Now's the tricky part. Scrunch up your jeans so you turn the leg parallel with the path of the needle. Scrunch-scrunch-scrunch-arrange-arrange... then go nuts with forward- and backstitching like you would in the tutorial on any part of your jeans.
  • I like to turn them right side out again and check my work, and maybe put the leg back on the machine (cuffed again) and do a few more rows of parallel stitching from the top.

That's it! Now you've mended the knee of your jeans!

Wondering what's going on up by the pocket of those? I thought I should share, since these jeans were so stretchy, I found the interfacing wasn't quite strong enough to keep its shape as I backstitched. So, I put a little piece of white 100% cotton on top of the hole near the hip to further reinforce it. It's not fusible but there was plenty of friction that, once I got sewing, it stayed in place just fine (also sewing from the inside). Here's a close-up of that hole, mended.

So, I did two pairs of jeans at once the other day, so here's some more photos of this method on knees and with thinner, stretchier denim. Here's a pair of Sevens my friend gave me because of the holes, and they didn't fit her anymore. So I got to mending!


Here's the big hole on the knee from the inside.

Here are some of the holes with their interfacing...

And here's the knee hole with a little piece of cotton on top of the fusible interfacing, after I ironed it down. It really helps when the hole is big or the threads aren't keeping the denim's shape and you don't want to gather both sides together.

And here's the technique I use on really stretch jeans--pin on both sides to your ironing board and then press down the interfacing, so you don't get the pulling!

Anyway, random bonus images after the tutorial... hope I didn't confuse you! Good luck mending jeans and trust me, you CAN do it on the knees!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Simple handsewing makes a top more modest!

Modest in a good way--as in, not gapping and showing my bra or tummy in the middle of the button closure.  That's never a good thing.

Let me back up.  I got this top at Old Navy while it was 75% off or something, one of their sales.  I've been wanting more things in a powerful, true red color!!  (You may remember my red jeans and brights Pinterest board...)  So I picked up this tee.

I tried it on at home and it had some serious gappage issues.  You'll notice the buttons are spaced pretty far apart--and the bottom button has a big gap before the tie at the bottom.  Tummy peek-through!  NOT flattering.

But I had a solution (more elegant--and permanent-- than a discreet up-and-down safety pin between the buttons, I swear!)!  I do the safety pin thing on blouses that I have to unbutton to put on and take off, but this is a knit with a decorative button front.

Rather than return it, I did a little mending to repair the gapping places--mainly the bust, where my bra was showing!, and the space between the bottom button and the tie.

So here's my simple handsewing technique--using the seam allowance of the placket, you can easily do invisible stitching with a little whipstitch.  You never grab the main fabric of the shirt, so it won't show through anywhere!

The "after"--all better!

Hmm.  Actually, if you really scrutinze, as I write this post I notice the space between the second and third buttons from the top is gapping a little, too.  I can't even imagine how this top would fit someone with a larger-than-average bust.  Guess I need to do a little more hand sewing!

But hey, the point is, check it out now.  Way easier to wear!

Have you solved gapping problems on tops and blouses before?  Is the safety pin good for you, too, or have you had success with fabric tape, sewing, or other methods?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tutorial: How to take in and modify some crazy jeans

You saw my post yesterday about my lovely new (DIY) red jeans.  Did you hear the story?

This is what these $1.something pants looked like BEFORE.  Close to the most hideous garment ever made.  Aaaaaack!

They were also too big when I tried them on (which was scary on its own--I am not used to having pants come up above my belly button!)--too loose in this hips, though, where it mattered.

So today I'm gonna show you how to take in a pair of jeans--any pair, even a normal colored pair!--so they fit you in the hips and butt but don't look totally altered.

Let's start with some humor, shall we?  Here's a view of the back of the yoke of these jeans.  You can tell, obviously, that the first step in this alteration process for me was cutting off the excess yoke!  But I doubt you have super high waisted pants to work with, so this part probably won't apply to you.  So, unofficial step 1--cut off the top of the jeans.

Nice buckle, eh?

Anyway, now to the tutorial.

So, you want a pair of jeans to fit quite a bit more snugly at the top?  Follow this tutorial!
  • With your seam ripper or pointy thread snips, snip the topstitching and all the seams that attach the waistband to the jeans at the side seam.  Pick 2-3" on either side of the side seam.
  • Also unpick the little row of partial topstitching that goes from the waistband down 4" or so.  Hard to see what I mean in the pics above, but look at any regular pair of jeans and you'll see what I mean--on blue jeans, it's the classic gold stitching that goes down the side seam pressing the seam allowance to the back.  Unpick these stitches so that your seam allowance flies free.  Here's an inside view.
  • Here comes the actual taking-in part.  Fold the seam allowance flat and sew the side seam deeper, just like you're taking in any ol' seam.  I tapered my seam from about 5" down, where the jeans started to be too big.  They fit okay in the thighs, but were too loose in the hips and butt.
  • Do this on both sides, of course... Now try on the jeans.  Do they fit?  When I did this, I had to take a second pass to make them still tighter, and it helped to try them on and make sure I was starting the seam at the right point on the hips.
  • Once you get the fit right, re-do that top stitching on the side seam (press it to the back first).  Sew down your seam allowance from the top down about 4".
  • Bleh, now the not-so-fun part.  Now, you have to make the waistband look normal again.  You're going to sew right sides together at approximately where the side seam is, taking in the waistband the same amount you took in at the top of the jeans.  E.g., if you took in the top of the hip 2", you need to take 2" out of the waistband, too, then you can sew it back down flat.
  • I started by cutting the floppy excess waistband piece in half.
  • Then, taking out the same amount as you did on the hips (I just cut off the excess), sew the waistband back together.
  • Now you've got the waistband back together and you can re-fold and get ready to sew the three layers together (front and back waistband, jeans).
  • Here's the inside.  Pin the waistband piece back in place exactly where it was before...

  • Then do the same thing on the outside.  Lots of pins.

  • Re-do the top stitching!  Sew through all three layers, do the double seam look.
  • Re-do the top of the waistband's top stitching, also.

OMG!  Ta-da!  Done!

Custom-fit jeans!


One of you put it perfectly in your comment yesterday... you can totally pull off red jeans if you're in the right mindset--you gotta be in the mood for a) fun, and b) some attention!

I loved hearing your thoughts about red and colored jeans!  Glad I'm not the only one bewitched by the trend!

As for this tutorial, don't let the red distract you... it would work just as well on classic blue jeans!
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