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Critical Homesteading Skills: Learn to Mend and Sew
Clothing is one of the biggest budget items in any household, even if you buy most of your clothes second-hand. As kids change sizes and the seasons change, we want to be able to put clothing aside to use either with younger kids or later in the year. However, as people wear their clothes, they’re bound to get rips and holes. You might lose a button here or there. When this happens, if you don’t know how to do basic sewing and mending, you may find you have to buy a replacement.
Sewing and mending are critical homesteading skills. They can stretch the lifetime of most articles of clothing by repairing rips and tears, replacing buttons, or cleverly creating a whole new piece of clothing out of something else. If you spend enough time learning how to sew you can even take on the challenge of making your own clothes, bedding, quilts, and even bath towels. There are some skills, however, that are more important than others. These are the basic sewing and mending skills you need to have to save your clothes.
Basic Sewing and Mending Skills
Replacing a Button:
Replacing a button is a pretty easy, but crucial basic mending skill. You’ll need a needle and some thread that matches the color of the clothing you are trying to mend. You’ll also want a button as close in style to the original as possible if your original button is missing.
Most often, you’ll find a small imprint or even the widened holes from the thread left in the fabric where the button is missing. You want to carefully knot the end of your thread and run it through the backside of the fabric, up through to the front, then put it up through one hole of the button, back down through a hole on the opposite side. Then push the needle back through the fabric to the back side. Repeat with the same two holes till you’ve made three or four loops, then repeat the whole thing on the opposite side of the button hole. Pull the needle and thread through to the backside of the fabric and then knot! Button replaced.
For visual instruction check out this video from Real Men Real Style on Youtube:
Mending a Rip on the Seam:
Mending a rip on a seam is one of the easiest basic sewing and mending skills you can learn. All you have to do is use your needle and create a ladder stitch. A ladder stitch is a stitch that moves from side to side, across, and up the seam. Once you’ve reached the end of the rip, you carefully pull the thread until the hole is closed. Then knot on the inside of your fabric.
Here is a video to one of my FAVORITE Instagram accounts that shows how to repair lots of rips, tears, and holes!
Patching a Hole
Patching a hole in clothing can be done one of two ways:
- By using a patch made from other fabric
- By closing the hole with either a darning or an embroidery stitch
Patching with Fabric
Patching a hole with fabric is best suited for clothing items where you could do something fun with it – like a sweatshirt, jeans, or t-shirt. You can pick a fabric that’s bright and colorful, or with a fun pattern, set it behind the hole, and carefully stitch into place using a running stitch.
Begin by ironing the article of clothing so that it lays as flat as possible, then iron out your fabric. Cut your fabric so that it is about half an inch wider than the hole on all sides. Slide the fabric into place behind the hole. Pin the fabric into place. If you have a sewing machine you can then stitch the fabric into place. If not, you can do so by hand using a running stitch.
A running stitch is a sewing stitch that moves the needle horizontally in and out of the fabric as shown below.
If you are going to use a darning or embroidery stitch to mend your clothing, then there are lots of different options and ways. I’ve actually just included one of my favorite videos that shows how to do a number of different, cute stitches for fixing up holes in your clothing using these methods.
Sewing and mending are critical skills that everyone should know. Along with basic cooking and financial skills, you need to know how to mend and sew. These are the basic survival skills that everyone should know! Grammie made sure that all of us, my brother, sister, and I, learned basic sewing and cooking.