Frugal Life Skills: Mending Clothes

cohdranknsewing4.JPGPrior to being a blogger, I made costumes. All kinds of costumes from Jedi Robes to A Prince Charming Costume for someone’s wedding. One skill that I am adamant about everyone having is the skill of sewing. You don’t need to be able to stitch a wedding dress, but sewing on a button, fixing a fallen hem, and repairing a seam rip are all simple and good, money-saving skills that everyone should be able to learn.

To get started, you’ll need a sewing kit. I have one like this. If you want to gather one on your own, here are a few items that you need:

  • Needles: I usually have a variety pack, like this.
  • Thread: A good variety of colors may not be needed, depending on which colors are in your wardrobe. I recommend Coats and Clark thread. Essential colors are- Black, white, tan or natural, navy blue.
  • Scissors/snips
  • Pins: I prefer pins that have a large colorful head. They are easier to find if/when you drop them on the floor. Spoiler alert: You will drop pins on the floor.
  • Safety Pins: Always good to have safety pins in the house. I usually get a package from 99 Cents Only or Dollar tree and stash them in my sewing box.
  • Seam Ripper: Seam rippers are great for picking out hems that have fallen. Or, you know, ripping out seams when you make a mistake.
  • I also like having a pin cushion. This helps cut down on losing pins and then finding them later. With your bare feet. Ouch. Fun Fact: On the Tomato pin cushion, the little attached pepper/strawberry is full of  pumice/sand that is used for sharpening your needles and pins.
  • I keep all my sewing goodies in a box like this. It’s big enough that I can also stash the foot and cord to my sewing machine in the box. (BTW, if you want to buy one from Wayfair, here is a link where you can get an extra 10% off your order).

Now that your kit is assembled, You’ll need to learn how to actually sew. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I searched on YouTube and watched a bunch of videos trying to find one that is the easiest. I really thought that this video from Nifty teaches 4 simple ways to mend most things.

Recently I had to fix a pair of jeans that had a worn out pocket. The back pocket had worn thin because of  where my husband keeps his leather wallet.

I picked up a package of Denim Iron on patches at Joann’s- I used a 50% off coupon, so they were only $2.14 with tax! And I still have half a package left, so I can repair another pair of jeans too!

I set up the ironing board and iron and set to work.

 

IMG_16461-Find the hole, and make sure that the patch(es) are cut to the right size. You want to cover the hole completely, and the surrounding area, so the patch has some stable fabric to fuse to.

 

 

 

 

 

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The shiny stuff on the back side is the fusible adhesive.

I like the iron on patches- they have fusible adhesive attached to the back, which is basically a heat activated fabric glue that bonds the patch to the garment.

Once fused to the garment, it takes a lot of get the patch(es) off. For this project, I used two patches: one on the interior of the garment, and one on the exterior. Basically making a hole sandwich.

2- Place the patch(es) over the hole/rip, and fuse into place with the steam iron.

IMG_16513-Once the clothing/patch has cooled, you can stitch around the edge to make it extra secure, however, in this case I did not. I would do that for the knees of kiddo pants or other high wear areas.

Overall, this is a very simple project that anyone can do.

Our culture tends to discard garments as soon as they are not longer shiny or new. If you take care and mend clothing and other household goods, they will last longer and you will not have to spend money constantly replacing clothes and household items.

I spend about an hour a month mending clothing. I do it while watching TV at night. It is worth the time to fix a pair of pants for $2.14 instead of spending $30 to buy a new pair of jeans.

Talk Back: Can you do a few simple stitches to maintain your clothing? How do you take care to keep your clothes looking great?

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Simple Sewing Project- Pillow Cases!

I love making Pillow Cases- They are quick, simple projects that you can make for a very small amount of money, and they really can tie together a room.

I tend to buy plain colored sheets for the kid’s beds. Then I make pillow cases with colors or characters they like. In the past I’ve made Batman pillow cases and Thomas the Tank Engine pillow cases for Henry, and floral print and eyelet lace trim for Margaret. Most of our blankets are either down comforters in plain colored duvets or handmade quits.

I found a bunch of 1 yard pieces of fabric this morning, so I decided that today for art for 100 days of art, I was going to make a pillow case or two. I’m doing 100 days of art and chronicling it on Instagram. I’ve done some pretty cool projects so far!

You only need a yard of 45 inch wide 100% cotton fabric, matching thread and about a half hour of time. Oh, and a sewing machine. If you are looking for a good, basic sewing machine, I like this one-  It’s similar to the one I use.

Pre-wash your fabric in hot water and dry on high. This gets all the sizing out of the fabric. There will be no further shrinkage.

IMG_8710Lay fabric out, right side facing up.

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Fold fabric in half so selvedges (the finished edges)are together.

IMG_8711.jpgUsing a straight stitch on your sewing machine and a 5/8 inch seam allowance around one skinny end, turn the corner and sew up the side with the selvedge. IMG_8713

My sewing machine has measured out and notated hash marks on the throat plate (that’s the silver part in this photo).

I use a 5/8 inch seam allowance. It’s what most commercial patterns use as well.

 

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Trim off any stray strings. Set your machine to zigzag stitch, and stitch over the free edge of the fabric. I recommend using matching thread, I used a contrasting thread, so you could see my stitches.

 

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Fold the open edge over twice, pin or press down. Stitch down the folded edge. Take care to open the pillow case and slip the arm (the part of the machine with the bobbin in it) into the pillow case so you don’t end up sewing your pillow case together.

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Clip off any stray threads, and turn the pillow case right side out. Pop your pillow inside the case and you are all set!

This is a great 1st sewing project for kids and adults. You can make your pillowcase a little fancy by adding lace or ribbon around the hem of the open side.

I’d love to see what kind of pillow cases you make!