… saves a costly repair fee!
Woman has relied heretofore too entirely for her support on the needle – that one-eyed demon of destruction that slays thousands annually; that evil genius of our sex, which, in spite of all our devotion, will never make us healthy, wealthy, or wise.
–Elizabeth Cady Stanton
She may have been instrumental in securing women the right to vote, but I’ll bet even she knew how important it was to look presentable–clothes are our first bit of armor in polite society and a missing button is a target for many things.
Sewing, mending and basic repairs are, often, left these days to the dry cleaner or someone much more “crafty” than the wearer. Or, in a frightening case of predictive fiction, we’ve become like the society in Huxley’s Brave New World:
“Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches”
We toss items that merely need a quick fix, often because the knowledge of how-to is no longer second nature.
Sure, some things are definitely left to the pro’s–shoe repair is quite specialized and I’m not sure I’d trust walking on a heel held together only by Gorilla Glue (a former coworker’s answer to everything–including bullet holes in our front window).
But basic mending is simple, even if you’ve no desire to make your own clothes from scratch.
The two most common problems (and how to fix them):
- How to replace a button (shank-style or flat). The trick with flat (2- or 4-hole) buttons is to slip a toothpick between the fabric and button before you tighten your first loop to make sure there’s enough room to maneuver when you’re getting dressed.
- How to fix a fallen hem with a nearly invisible stitch. It’s the details that make the difference between looking hand-stitched and no one ever noticing (though, in a pinch, duck tape will get you through the day).
Now, ready to wear clothing was a real turning point for the fashion industry. Being able to buy off-the-rack meant more people had access to more styles and things could be made ahead for sale rather than custom tailored.
The down side? We don’t all look the same. One size 10 might be differently proportioned than another size 10, and let’s not even get into the fact that one store’s size isn’t necessarily the same as another’s! Tailored clothing looks better, but it can cost a fortune. Unless, that is, you know how to make simple alterations on your own.
What are the biggies to worry about? Those things that shout “bad fit!”?
- Hems that drag the ground or puddle around your feet (even when wearing heels).
- Shirts that ride up because they’re too snug.
- Shirts that you swim in because they’re too big.
- Shoulders that slope so far they show your bra strap (no, Flashdance didn’t really come back, y’all!).
- Bulging zippers or button plackets
Some of these can be fixed with a new hem or a well-placed dart or two, others might require inserting extra fabric of there’s not enough seam to let out. In the latter case, you might want to take it to a pro–they’ll be much better at hiding inserts and such.
Fit is important–it makes us look put together instead of thrown-together and (especially us fluffy girls) can take the focus off the clothes on onto who’s wearing them.