Vintage Clothing – Basic Sewing Tips For a Quick Fix
Maintaining and repairing vintage clothing is not as hard as it seems! All you need to know are a few basic stitches, and have a few everyday supplies at the ready. There are of course, more advanced techniques and processes, but it’s important to know the basics first, before moving forward. So if you have a well loved vintage piece of clothing with a split side seam, dropped hem or loose sleeve seam don’t give it up. Here’s how to sew and repair clothing, for the everday vintage lover.
There are a few essential tools you’ll need such as small cuticle scissors, preferably with a curved tip, and sharp fabric scissors which will make clean cuts and help to keep certain fabrics from fraying on the ends. You’ll find it helps to have needles of various sizes and and a range of thread colors to match the stitches in your garment. Repairs will blend in better if they are done with matching color thread. Some things you’ll also find helpful are push pins and straight pins to help hold fabric in place while you sew and a thimble. Try using waxed floss when you have to sew a very tough seam that keeps splitting, or when you’re sewing thick fabric like jeans. Waxed floss is amazing! It will never split or loosen. You will be able to see the stitches quite a bit, so this only works for areas that aren’t visible, or if you like the look of very noticeable stitches.
There are three basic stitches that you should know:
The Back Stitch – Once you get the hang of it, the back stitch is great on many different fabrics, for making strong stitches that lay flat, and wont tug. It is the strongest hand stitch, that imitates a machine stitch.
How to sew with a back stitch: Righties will work from right to left, and Lefties work from left to right.
1. Poke the needle down into the fabric, pulling as far as you can, until the knot is lying against the fabric.
2. Poke up into the fabric, with your desired stitch size… about ¼ inch from the knot. Pull until taut, making sure not to ripple the fabric.
3. Poke downwards again, *into* the knot. Pull until taut. You will have one visible stitch, at this point.
4. Now poke up again through the fabric, again about ¼ inch from the last place you poked upwards from.
5. Repeat! Tie off when finished.
The Invisible Slip Stitch or Blind Hem Stitch – At a glance, this stitch may seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy. It’s important to buckle down and learn this stitch, because it is one of the most valuable stitches for everyday sewing. This stitch is used when you need your thread to be invisible from one side, for whatever reason like sewing in linings, sewing hems or sewing garment sections together. Basically, two or three threads of the material are caught up by the needle each time, and this makes the stitches almost totally invisible from the one side. The thread is hidden inside of a fold, and the needle tunnels between the layers of the folded edge (that’s the “slip” part). It can be a little tricky to keep this stitch flat, but it is essential if you want them to stay hidden. Tunnel the needle 1mm or so below the fold of the folded fabric. Keep the thread snug, but not too tight to pull the fabric and cause ripples.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Stick your needle up from behind the fold.
2. Make a 1/4-inch-long stitch through the opposite side and re-emerge.
3. Tunnel the needle about 1/4 inch through the fold for the next stitch, and pull up the thread.
This will be invisible on one side, to take care to practice first, so you you can see how to get the invisible part on the side that you want!
The Running Stitch – This is the most basic stitch. It is used for seams, and gathering and pulling fabric to create ripples.
How to sew with a Running Stitch:
1. After tying a knot on the end of your string, poke into the fabric (up, or down, it does not matter).
2. Then just keep passing the needle over and under with a few fabric threads in between.
3. Try to keep the stitches as even and neat as possible.
Many tutorials can be found on the web, but this should get you started. I suggest searching the names of these stitches for videos and detailed diagrams, if you’re having some trouble. I have included two very helpful websites at the bottom of this page. After you learn the basics, you will soon get a “feel” for your preferences, and what works best for you, and your garment. Sewing in general can seem daunting at first, but it is a lot like swimming in that sometimes you just have to jump in, and you’ll see how easy it really is!
Fun tip: Besides these stitches, I have found that it’s also fun to look up some of the stitches usually used for embroidery. Many of these stitches are very easy can also work for making decorative hems and outlines on collars, pockets, and much more. Embroidery can also be used to cover up stains and snags in fabric!
Source by Vivian Vassar