A Few Quick Mending Jobs

by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate on February 25, 2014

I’m slowly but steadily working my way through a completely ENORMOUS pile of mending that has accumulated over the last year or so.  I really need to do a better job of keeping on top of my clothing repairs and sewing in the future!

IMG_1926This is just part of the pile. . .

I am taking in progress photos for a lot of the mending and altering in order to do tutorials, but some of it is so basic/simple that it doesn’t deserve a post of it’s own.  So here are a few of the quick repairs I’ve done all rolled up into one post.  Of course if you let a years worth of quick repairs build up, it isn’t really quick to do all of them at once.

One of the things that makes these kinds of repairs much easier and quicker to do is having the basics mending materials on hand.  Every sewer should eventually accumulate an assortment of threads, basic buttons, hooks and eyes, a few types of elastic.  In my sewing supplies  I am particularly fond of the 26 spool box of Guterman thread that I purchased at JoAnn’s fabric (note: the link is to Amazon–JoAnn’s online says no longer available but I know it still is in stores).

Gutermann Thread Box

It’s not cheap–$30 for the box ($40 on Amazon)–but it’s a perfect item to use one of those “50% off one regularly priced item” coupon  codes at JoAnn’s since they NEVER put it on sale.  If you want the exact shade you’ll have to bring the item/fabric into the store’s thread department to match–but for basic repairs having those 26 colors already in my sewing supplies makes life much easier!

My other secret weapon is Invisible Thread (sometimes called transparent or clear).IMG_2007Yup–you heard me right–it’s see through, made of nylon and basically like sewing with fishing line!  This stuff only works with machine sewing–but since it is clear it will appear to be whatever color you are sewing on.  Very handy when you don’t want to keep rethreading the machine with different colors every couple of minutes.  It is more expensive than standard thread–so for larger jobs I just buy the right color thread.

Now on to a couple of mending jobs.

First I had a couple of reusable shopping bags with handle issues.  The strap was still there but in both cases had come loose.  Luckily for me there was no tearing or anything on the bag–I just had to reattach them.  I pinned them in place and then ran them up on the sewing machine.  It didn’t even matter what color thread I had loaded in there–they didn’t have to particularly match or look good.

Fixing reuseable shopping bag Straps

These straps could have been fixed with hand sewing as well using a simple backstitch. I would have gone all the way around in a box and then made an X through the center for durability–after all, when these bags are full of groceries they can be quite heavy.

Next came a little lace tank top that belongs to Princess.  The binding had torn away under the arm.

mending torn binding on a lace tank top

I already had a spool of thread on hand that was a very close match to the fabric color from my Gutermann thread box.  The fabric wasn’t torn–the binding (made of the same lace) had just come loose.  That made this a very simple repair.  I just pinned the binding back on and used a quick whip stitch in the matching color.  The repair is pretty much invisible.

If the fabric had been torn this would have been more difficult–I probably would have done my best to sew it back together and then taken a look–it probably wouldn’t have been particularly pretty–but being in the underarm region would have hidden it for the most part and I’m confident I could have made a serviceable repair.

The last quick repair was a button that had fallen off.  I had been smart enough to pin the button on to the sweater so that it wasn’t lost–then it was just a simple matter of replacing a shank button (using button/craft/upholstery thread for strength).

Replacing a button on a cardigan sweater

If the button had been completely lost I would have gone through my button jar and chosen a plain, solid colored button of the correct size that I had 7 of–probably a basic black.  Alternately I could have headed to the store and just purchased 7 new metal shank buttons–if I found something that was close enough to pass at a distance I might have even gone cheap charlie and purchased a single button that was a close match–I would have removed the bottom button (ie the least noticeable), place the “almost a match” button on the bottom and then put the actual match button on the missing spot half way up.

Those are my first few quick mending jobs.  I hope that this inspires you to fix up a few items in your family’s wardrobe that just need a quick repair!

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