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Quick-sew tips to save clothes

At any age and anytime, buttons can fall off, pants can shrink overnight or a new hole can appear in your favorite jacket. Sewing is a handy skill that is especially valuable when you’re in need of a quick fix for clothing.

Woman sewing on a sewing machine

Sew a button back on

A fallen-off button is a major fashion faux pas, but it’s easy to put back on. To fix it, grab a needle, thread (preferably one that matches the button) and the button (or another one, if the original is gone). For the fastest fix, just “sew what you know” and fix it when you get home later. But for a permanent solution, you’ll need to cross-stitch through the buttonholes and tie the thread once you are done so it will stay in place.

A ripped seam

The trick with a ripped seam is to remember which side of the apparel everyone will see. If the rip is on the lining of a jacket or shirt, the repair method will be different from the method used to repair exterior rips. The lining of a jacket isn’t seen by many besides yourself, so the repair doesn’t need to look like magic. However, a shirt seam repair can get a bit trickier. Since the rip is on the line that holds the clothing together, you’ll need to flip the shirt inside out (unless the seams show on the outside) and pinch the fabric on both sides together. Then you can hand stitch the two sides back together using a blanket stitch until you don’t see a hole.

Let a hemline out

This is a main concern when it comes to children’s clothing. Kids grow so fast — you turn around and they’re already a foot taller! But you can make pants, shorts and skirts last longer if you let the hemline out. It’s a simple fix, and all you need is a seam ripper and an iron. Just rip out the stitching that makes the hemline, and once you have ripped all of the thread out, iron it flat and you’re on your way!

Make a new hemline

Hemming is not an art form — it’s more just being able to sew in a straight line. There are many ways to go about fixing a long hem on pants, skirts or shorts, but the easiest and fastest way is to fold and sew. With this technique, you start by folding the material to where you want the new hemline to be and then stitching along the existing hemline. You can choose to cut off or leave the extra fabric after stitching, but do remember to iron the new hem to keep it in place!

Patch a hole

The easiest way to patch up an unwanted clothing hole is to grab a needle and a patch and hand sew away! For the patch, find fabric that matches the garment (or not, if you prefer) and hand stitch all the sides of the patch to the garment. Make sure to secure the stitching properly or it will just come off in the wash. If you have a few minutes to spare, reverse applique is a creative way to fix any spot.

Zipper teeth that won’t align

It’s a constant love-hate relationship with these clothing essentials. Many may think that repairing a zipper requires major reconstruction, but it’s easier than that. To get to work on this repair, grab a pair of pliers and remove the metal stopper at the end of the zipper, then bunch the teeth on one side of the zipper and release. Slowly slide the metal pull halfway up and stitch where the metal stopper once was.

More related links

How to save money by sewing
Green guide to making your clothing last
How to remove marker and ink

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