Everything goes by so fast now – what with the busy lives of a lot of people and the soaring prices of even the most basic commodities, consumers always choose the quicker and cheaper solution to every problem. Thus, we have fast food, fast fashion, and, unfortunately, a fast-dying environment. Back in the days, each garment was produced not in bulk but by handcraft.
Fast forward to now, thousands of workers do millions of similar designs with each being sold at a price even higher than the laborers’ wages. Since the clothes are made in accordance with a specific trend, many of these just end up in a dump after months, making fashion one of the most polluting industries we have today.
As a result, people are starting to change their ways and views in buying clothes, sometimes even trying to create one on their own. Conscious buyers now turn to thrift shops, vintage stores, and ethical clothing shops for their wardrobes. Still, one would argue that they can’t easily find clothes their sizes but there is one thing we always overlook – having clothes tailored. Sometimes, we think that having our worn-out button-down shirt mended is pricier than buying a new one, but if you can learn how to sew or tailor your own clothes, you don’t only save money but you also contribute to saving the environment. Here are some sewing hacks you could use if you’re just a beginner in sewing:
Needles, Threads, and Pins
If you are new to sewing, you might find threading a needle one of the most tedious parts. Here’s the trick to make it easier: spritz a little bit of hairspray on the thread end. This way, the thread will be stiff enough for it to go through the needle’s eye. It will also prevent the flosses of the thread from separating.
Another way to strengthen your threads, especially if you are sewing by hand, is to apply wax on them. Gliding your thread on some beeswax helps your thread not to break as people sometimes use a lot of force in tugging a needle and a thread. This is also necessary if you are working on tougher fabrics such as leather.
One of the basic sewing tools you need are pins that help you secure your fabric in place. Since they are as thin as needles, they are frequently misplaced, so to save yourself from being accidentally pierced, you can glue magnets under a ceramic bowl to prevent them from rolling around. To keep these pins and needles always sharp, use a pincushion with a steel wool stuffing to sharpen.
Buying second-hand clothes in thrift stores does not guarantee that they have the top you want in your size unless you look through the whole shop and find another design that fits you perfectly. But when you see a top that you like but is bigger than what you want, you can do basic alteration by yourself, especially when you don’t have the money to bring it to a professional tailor.
The trick in altering bigger clothes is to wear them first and mark with a safety pin/s the points you want to cut or sew – that way, you will envision how you want the garment to fit on you. You can also wear it inside out first, mark it, and sew on the marked places. If you have a sewing machine and your garment is made with stretchy material, you can use a zigzag stitch on your machine to help hold the cloth.
If, for example, you score a Levi’s 501’s in the denim section but it is a few inches smaller than your waist, you can alter it yourself, too. Just remove the center belt loop on the back part of the jeans, then cut on the center back downward. Remember that the deeper the cut the wider the waist will be. After this, you can sew a patch of a denim scrap with a matching or darker wash on the place you cut. It’s OK to use a darker wash if you can’t find a matching one since it will be less distracting and also because the belt loop will be sewn over it.
Easy Sewing Hacks
Not everyone loves to sew but there will always be a moment when you just have to. If you don’t have a needle and thread, but one of your garments needs a quick hemming, hot glue is always handy. Just follow the basic rules in hemming and you’re ready to go.
Buttons are the most fragile part of any clothing. To prevent it from popping out, you can put a dab of clear nail polish over the threads to keep them together. If a button had already popped and you don’t have a thread around, a better alternative is dental floss, and since it is more fibrous, it can keep your buttons from always being lost. Also, you can sew an extra button inside the sleeves of your coats or jackets just in case one decides to jump off your ensemble.