Whether or not you want to become a sewing expert, you really need to learn to make basic repairs. Each of us has experienced a broken hem, or had a hole show up in the seam our favorite pants. Developing a few basic sewing skills will allow you extend the life of your clothing and save yourself some money in repairs.
Seamstress or not, you have several options for repairing or altering clothes to better fit you! It’s worth the time and effort to learn how to do these quick repairs now, so when your next fashion crisis does occur, you’re ready to deal with it.
Hemming the Easy Way: Hem Tape
When I first started hemming, I used hem tape. Hem tape is simply an iron-on, fusible material that will bond one side of the fabric to the other side. Just sandwich the hem tape between the pieces of split or ravelled hem, and iron them to “glue” together with your new hem. The heat activates the glue that will hold the pieces together.
The downside of hem tape: it can leave a residue. If you want to remove it later, it is really hard to get off (if not impossible). Also, if your iron is not hot enough, or the fabric is thick and the hem tape isn’t heated enough, the glue will fail and your hem will come out again. I’ve experienced this with corduroy pants. I also did a pair of dress paints once, and you could see where the hem tape was – it ruined a perfectly good pair of pants! You shouldn’t be able to tell that you’ve used hem tape at all.
In short, hem tape is great to keep in your travel bag for emergencies, but not a good long-term solution.
Even Easier Hemming: Double-Sided Sticky Hem Tape
Double-sided sticky hem tape is the ultimate solution for a quick fix. It is exactly what it sounds like: a piece of fabric tape that is sticky on both sides. You remove one side of the paper and stick it to one side of your fabric securely, then run your fingers down the tape to make sure the bond is good. Then, remove the top piece of paper and press your other side of the fabric to it and it should hold those pieces of fabric together. This is a great tool to keep in your purse for when you’re out and about.
I realize that most of these still require a little forethought so let’s talk about some ZOMGMYHEMBUSTEDANDI’MATWORK fixes too!