For my "Me-Made-May" pledge, I decided to include some mending in my schedule. I feel that about half of my wardrobe needs some attention from a needle and thread right now, and I just never set aside the time to sit down and do it.
Even worse is that this does not stop me wearing my much loved garments, with the drooping hemlines and missing buttons, so I begin to feel like the electrician who never gets around to fixing his own power points (aka. my own father).
But this is the month that I will change that. I always avoid doing my mending because I tend to spend my sewing time working on new patterns and projects, rather than repairing the old. But I have to remember that when I finally do sit down and do it, I always enjoy it. It is a good opportunity to catch up on some TV watching and tea drinking, or just have some quiet time. I love spending a moment with a piece of clothing, thinking about who made it in the first place and where it was made. Thinking about where I got it, or who gave it to me, and what attracted me to it in the first place, where I have worn it, where it has been. I like admiring the seam finishes and the details.
As you may have realised, I become quite attached to some of my clothes (well possessions in general, just ask my mum how I was when my first car had to be scrapped), and I know some people say this is a real no-no. But to me, this attachment is a good thing, it means I respect my clothes and the people who made them. I treat them with love and care because I hope they last forever. I think this is something we are really missing in our fast-fashion buying culture today, there is very little attachment and therefore no consideration given to the person who made it and the conditions they live in, and then no worries when the poor dress ends up in landfill at the end of it's very short life. Tom of Holland wrote a lovely piece related to this for Fashion Revolution Day which is definitely worth a read if you haven't come across it already.
I decided to start with this dress because although it is coming into winter here in Sydney, we are getting some really beautiful sunny days at the moment, and I think I can squeeze in a few more wears before it gets too nippy!
As you can see, the hem had come down. The hem was originally stitched by hand, so although I tried to ignore it for as long as I could, the hem just kept unraveling more and more.
I know this blog is normally filled with pattern related tips and tricks, but I thought I'd break it up a bit with this sewing tutorial. So if you'd like to learn how to do an invisible hem stitch, then keep reading.
To start, I undid the whole hem. I like to use a pair of snips to do all my unpicking as I find it's the speediest method for me. I then gave the hem a good press. My fabric is very stable so I didn't bother with pins, but if your fabric is likely to move, it is definitely worth placing a few pins along the hemline.
I decided to use a blind hem stitch so that you wouldn't be able to see the stitches from the outside.
To start the stitching, take a hand needle and a single thread, with a knot in the end. To make for invisible stitches, use a nice fine needle and a coordinating thread. Make a little knot with the thread on the underside of the hem. Once your thread is secure you can make your first stitch. You want to make the stitch as small as possible, because this stitch is going through the main part of the garment (so will be visible on the outside). Put your needle through the fabric - only picking up a couple of threads, from right to left (if you are right-handed, and the opposite if you are left-handed).
Before pulling the thread through you can turn the garment over to the right side to check that you haven't picked up too many threads.
And then pull the thread through, making your first stitch.
Make your next stitch through the underside of the hem, (about 1cm from the first stitch). You don't have to worry too much about this stitch showing as it will be on the inside of the garment.
When you pull through the thread you will see that you have created a zig-zag stitch that will be hidden under the hem when pulled tight.
Continue along the hemline, making sure your stitches are evenly spaced. Every 15cm or so, I like to stop stitching and make a little knot (as if I was finishing off my row of stitching), before continuing. By doing this you secure your last row of stitches, and if one stitch does break in the future, you will be able to just resew this small section, rather than having to re-hem the whole piece.
Continue around the hemline until you get to where you started and finish off with a secure knot, then trim your thread.
And now here's the test! Can you see any of my stitches?