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Looking After Your Clothes: i. Basic Mending Techniques

To get the most wear and longevity from your clothes, it is useful to have a few simple mending hacks and a basic sewing kit. Small holes may suddenly appear, from accidentally snagging fabric to inaccurate or partially sewn seams, found even in expensive items made of good quality fabric.

A useful BASIC KIT, which you could pack for travel, might contain:

  • Cotton/polyester REELS in an exact shade match or slightly darker than your most worn everyday clothing.

  • Small, sharp sewing SCISSORS.

  • A BAG containing the spare BUTTONS that often come with shirts/cardigans/coats/jackets, usually supplied on the inside of the garment.

  • A few different sizes of NEEDLES from fine for silk/cashmere to thick for bulkier woollens.

  • PINS for holding a seam together.

Coloured Thread on Reels - How to mend Clothes


  • Match the thread colour to the button fastenings.

  • Choose the right needle size.

  • Double up the thread and fasten on to the underside of the garment.

  • If working with a sew-through button with four holes, sew from one hole to the opposite side five times and then criss-cross over this five times, using the other two holes. (The criss-cross you have created sits on top of the button).

  • Wrap the thread around the thread already sewn in place between the button and the garment a few times.

  • Fasten off on the underside of the garment.


  • Match the thread colour to the fabric (a tiny bit darker if you can't get an exact match).

  • Weave an area using a loose running stitch and work back and forth across the area of the hole, sewing at right-angles to create a mesh.

  • Fasten on and off loosely so the fabric doesn't pull.


  • First, press the hem with an iron, putting a clean line down the fabric where you want the hem to be.

  • Fasten off any ends of the existing thread that have become loose.

  • Match the colour of the mending thread to the existing thread.

  • Fasten on the thread via the underside of the garment, overlapping the unravelled stitching.

  • Create an 'invisible' stitch by picking up a couple of threads on the outside of the garment on each stitch (longer stitches for the inside).

  • Fasten off when you have overlapped the existing stitching.


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