Mending: Replace a Drawstring in a Hood

Here’s a quick mending project for you– Replacing a drawstring in a hood.  This process is pretty much the same for a coat, sweatshirt or anything else with a drawstring, even the older style drawstring sweatpants.

How to Replace a Drawstring in a Coat Hood

My long down coat has an elastic drawstring in the hood.  The elastic has started to stretch out in spots.  This makes the string look “crimped”, has caused it to elongate (which means it’s in the way) and I worry that these weak points would eventually lead to a break while in use.

Replacing a drawstring 11

I actually use the drawstring pretty frequently when wearing the coat–if I’m wearing a knee length down coat it’s because it is cold outside–and if it’s cold outside then I probably want to cinch down the hood so that if fits close to my face!

The first thing to do with this repair was to find a replacement cord.  The original cord was elastic and died to match exactly.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to find that.  I could find white or black elastic, but those both would really stand out on the jacket as there is no other black or white on it.

I thought that I could find some “silk” style cord in a relatively close color–I had seen the type of cord I was thinking of in the jewelry section of craft stores for braiding, making fancy knots and for threading beads onto.  I headed out to JoAnn Fabric and was able to find the Silky Cord in a decently close match!  To buy the card with 4 colors on it I spent about $3.80.  I also purchased a special “Dritz Ball Point Bodkin “made specifically to help with threading drawstrings–it’s like a large needle but without a point.  The Bodkin was about $3 as well.

Replacing a drawstring 3

I had an alternate plan in mind if I couldn’t find a good match in the silky cord.  I would have purchased embroidery floss that matched and used our Komihimo disk to weave a round cord that was thick enough to use as a drawstring.  That would have taken a little while, so I’m glad I was able to find a good match!

Since the original drawstring was still in the coat I decided to try the simplest replacement method first–just tying the new cord onto the old and then pulling it through.  If this had worked it would have been a 10 second repair.  Unfortunately the knot made it too big to fit through the eyelet.

tying a knot

That’s ok, doing it the “hard” way isn’t really much harder at all (although it would have been if I was trying to use a safety pin or something instead of the bodkin).  I simply threaded the cord through the bodkin:

Replacing a drawstring 6

Then slid it into the eyelet and all the way around the casing.

Replacing a drawstring 7The only sticking point was when I got to the other end–it was sort of “lined” right at that point and I couldn’t find the opening with the bodkin.  So I took a slender knitting needle, slid it in from the outside, felt for it with the bodkin and followed it back out.  Most items won’t be lined that way and you should just be able to find the slit, eyelet or hole.

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When I had removed the old drawstring I took off the toggles and cut off the little plastic end tabs.  I placed the toggles on the new cord, then I looked at the end caps.  At first I thought I was going to have to cut the elastic as best I could and then glue the cord inside using some of my trust E6000 glue (my favorite glue EVER).  Then I had a silly thought–and just for the heck of it I pushed the bodkin in from the top and “pop”. . . off came the bottom!  I was able to feed the cord through, tie a nice solid knot, slip the end tab back down over it and then pop the bottom back on.

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Viola!  It came out looking almost as good as new!  If the end tabs had not come apart, I would have tried cutting the old out and gluing the cord in.  If that hadn’t worked I would have just tied a good knot in the bottom of the cord and perhaps burned/melted the end to keep it from unraveling (testing that on a scrap piece first).   If burning/melting hadn’t worked I would have gone into my mending kit and pulled out the “fray check” or even some super glue.

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This was a super simple repair that only took a couple of minutes once I had the supplies on hand.  So next time you lose a drawstring or have the elastic wear out, why not try replacing it?

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    • says

      The original cord was elastic and I did replace it with a non elastic cord. Since it has toggles to cinch up, the change hasn’t caused any problems :) If I had needed elastic to make it work I would have had to go with plain white or black cord–or else I would have to get all fancy and find a dye that would work on the man made fibers in the elastic and try dying it to a closer match. While wandering around JoAnns I did notice that there is a much wider range of home dyes available now–including things that will dye man made fibers (RIT and the like usually only work on cotton, wool or linen).

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