Sewing 101: How to Learn to Repair Your Clothes

Four easy ways to liven up your sewing game.

No matter how well you dress, you will soon see signs of damage. Would you like to fix them yourself instead of throwing them away? It sounds scary, but anyone can do it with a few simple tips. Here are four easy ways to liven up your sewing game.

(Photo: Erik Putz; Prop Styling: Tricia Hall)

1. Stock sewing kit

The first step in repairing clothing with your own hands is to have the right tools for your job. Below are all the essentials you need for a basic home repair.

1. Dressmaking pin

These keep the fabric in place while you sew.

2. Cut out

Use these small, sharp scissors to cut the thread.

3. Tape measure

The foldable one fits easily into the kit.

4. Seam ripper

This little tool breaks down the seams without damaging the fabric.

5. Neutral thread

Basic shades work with a variety of fabrics. A small amount of wool can also help repair knits.

6. Sewing needle

Stock up on several sizes due to the different weights of the fabric. Darning needles are also great for knits and socks.

7. Fray check

This liquid sealant sealant prevents the fabric from fraying.

2. Learn basic stitches

With the three hand stitches shown below, you can fix almost everything yourself, without the need for a sewing machine.

Demonstration of whip stitching with blue thread on denim and yellow fabric

(Embroidery illustration: Ashley Wong, photo: Eric Putts)

Whip stitch

This is a reliance on fixing seams and stitching two pieces of fabric together. Thread the needle through both cloths and then wrap the thread around the edge of the cloth.

Demonstration of running stitch with yellow thread on denim and yellow fabric

(Embroidery illustration: Ashley Wong, photo: Eric Putts)

Running stitch

Also called straight stitch. To do this, thread the needle and thread through the fabric at regular intervals. Especially suitable for hemming.

Demonstration of backstitch using purple thread on denim

(Embroidery illustration: Ashley Wong, photo: Eric Putts)


The name comes from the fact that you can enhance your sewing by simply doubling the first stitch.

Bright pink, blue and yellow patch for red sweater

(Photo: Arona Conoraji)

3. Turn stitches into art

Instead of hiding stitches and patches, steal shows and turn torn or naked clothes into unique works of art. Visible repairs inspired by the Japanese tradition of embroidering garments for decorative and functional purposes are a great way to breathe new life and style into your beloved garments. “It shows the history of the work,” says Arounna Khounnoraj, co-founder of the Toronto-based textile studio and shop. Bookhou And the author of the book Visible repair.. “This is a badge of honor.” I think “some people really care about keeping things out of the landfill.” You can stitch your own design to fix holes or patch torn jeans. (With a sewing shop Etsy A great place to shop for them. )

I’m interested in visible repairs, but don’t know where to start? A quick online search will show you many free resources. Khounnoraj suggests starting with YouTube or her own Instagram. @bookhou, She shares a how-to video. Her book, Visible repairFull of illustrated step-by-step instructions and fun DIY project ideas.

Embroidery image of a spool of thread against a fabric in the shape of a white house

(Embroidery illustration: Ashley Wong, photo: Eric Putts)

4. Take a virtual sewing lesson

Repair and modify your favorite pieces from the comfort of a sofa in these four virtual sewing workshops.

1. Textile Museum of Canada

As part of that Sustainable textile teach-in In the program, the museum offers free videos explaining the basics of repair and sewing.

2. Zen stitch

Textile artist Kate Ward runs Sashiko stitch clubParticipants will learn how to make 12 different embroidery patterns during the year.

3.3. Sewing junction

This Toronto-based studio Online workshop We cover everything from basic modifications and repairs to advanced projects for a fee.

4. Library class

Many libraries across Canada offer on-site access to other tools such as sewing machines and cloth cutters, as well as classes on how to use them.

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Sewing 101: How to Learn to Repair Your Clothes

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