Tag Archives: Sewing

Mending Monday: Repairing a seam – denim

2 Jun

Mending Monday: Mending an open seamThis week I’ve done another really simple repair. I’ve got this vintage denim jacket which used to be my Mum’s from circa 1980s. It’s probably a size too small for me across the shoulders but although snug, it fits (just about) and I love it. The downside to this is the seams which take the most beating are the back shoulder/sleeve seams and over the past few years the strain has caused the stitching to open up. It’s really quick and easy to repair these seams by going over the same stitch line that has come away. One side has an actual hole (which I only just noticed) and the other has just started to come apart. Here’s the before and after of the seam with the hole:Before and AfterThere is a special stitch you can use to reinforce these seams (see image below). I use the Janome 7025 machines in all my classes and it has a straight stretch stitch which is really strong and basically like 4 stitches in place of one usual stitch. This is stitch is perfect (even on non-stretch fabrics) for seams that take a lot of strain like this one. If you don’t have this stitch on your machine a straight stitch will still do the job. I would make it slightly small than usual to make it a bit stronger so turn the stitch length down to 2 instead of the normal 2.5mm.

For the side where the seam had completely opened up:

  • Turn the jacket inside out and identify the seam which needs fixing
  • Pin together edge to edge


  • Stitch along original stitch line making sure you go over the first and last couple of stitches which are still intact to make sure you reinforce the old stitches
  • Use a zig zag stitch or overlocker to neaten off the edges

MM5Denim2When I did this and looked onto the right side I noticed the crossing seam was also coming open so I turned it back inside out marking the beginning and end point of the weakened seam with a pin to make sure I knew where to start and finish and went over this seam as well.

*Tip* When repairing 2 crossing seams it’s important to identify which seam should be stitched first. If the crossing is open you’ll be able to get in and stitch the seam right across without stopping before you stitch down the crossing seam. If you’re not sure, try looking at another crossing seam which is intact. Which has been stitched first? Whichever one was stiched last, you will stitch last. If the ‘cross roads’ is still intact then stitch in as close as you can get to the seam and back stitch.

MM5Denim3When stittching down two crossing seams ensure the seam allowances are facing the same way (usually towards the back of the garment.) This will stop the seam twisting around and help it lay flat.

I basically did the same with the other arm. Although the seam wasn’t completely open on this side, one of the seams had come apart and so I went over this row of stitching, again with the straight stretch stitch.

Here’s the before and after for that side:

MM5DenimBeforeAfter2I wear this jacket throughout the Spring and Summer months so will get a lot of wear out of this for years to come. As always, let me know if you try any of these repairs or alterations using the hashtag #mendingmonday. If you want to learn hemming, how to sew different types of buttons, taking in garments to improve fit and how to mend rips and tears, why not join our mending Club? You can book a single session or all 4 weeks. All the details are here.

Thanks for reading!

Daisy x


Mending Monday: Repairing ripped pocket seams

18 May


Yay, it’s Monday! Today’s Mending Monday is a really quick and easy one but essential nonetheless. I’ve had this tan brown wool mix coat for about 5 years now and I’ve worn it so much, it was a great buy. It’s a go to jacket that takes me through the seasons. Since I started wearing back packs more, I had a tendency to overfill the pockets and over the years the thin polyester lining started to wear at the seams. These went from small openings (where just small change would fall through to the hem) to basically the entire seam ripping open and for longer than I would like to admit, I haven’t been able to put anything in the pockets. On the odd occasion I forget, I have to fish out my oyster card or change from the inside of the lining at the bottom of the hem. It’s a relatively easy repair to do (the quick fix option) which should last me another few years at least.)

Here’s how to repair them:


  • Turn out the pocket so it’s on the outside of the jacket
  • Turn in the ripped seam so that the frayed edge is concealed and you have at least a 0.5cm seam allowance
  • Pin along the edge


  • Use an edge foot or carefully stitch using a general purpose foot close to the edge making sure you back stitch either end to secure
  • Turn back in and start filling those pockets again

The pockets will be slightly less deep than originally but this is much easier than having to unpick the coat lining and stitching from the inside (if your lining is not attached to the main fabric at the hem, you should be able to get inside the lining and stitch the pockets from the wrong side using the same method.

Get repairing those pockets! No excuses. I’m wearing this jacket tonight so will post a pic on my instagram later. Follow me @MakeThriftLDN.

Do you have any easy repairs you haven’t gotten round to doing?

See you next week! I might try something a bit different…

Daisy x

Mending Monday – Shortening a Pleated Vintage Skirt

6 May

Now, I know it isn’t Monday today, or even Tuesday but I’m a bit behind on this week, so please forgive me while I catch up. To kick start my Me-Made-May Challenge I’ve decided to start a new weekly feature on my blog called “Mending Monday,” which, with the exception of today, as the title suggests, will be published once a week on a Monday. This feature has been on the agenda for a while and my “to-fix” pile has been slowly growing, so Me-Made-May has given me the perfect excuse to kick-start it. These are the pieces I’ll be mending in the next few weeks:

Featured imageI’ll be sharing a different mend or alteration with you and a step-by-step tutorial of how I did it. So, to get started, I have been a fan of mint green for a long time and I’ve recently been wearing it quite a bit. So my first piece just had to be this vintage c. 1980s mint green and white pleated skirt I got in the TRAID sale a couple of months ago (for £2!!). I thought it would be perfect for spring/summer. It fits me

Featured image

comfortably on the waist and I love the assymetric line created by the contrasting fabric but it was much to long and looked a bit dowdy. I’m not one for wearing super short skirts though, so I wanted it about knee length. It’s always much harder to get an accurate idea of how much you need to shorten something without assistance but with no minions to hand, I had to make do.

I put the skirt on and made sure it was sitting at a comfortable position at my waist and pinned up a small section at the front, roughly where I wanted the skirt to finish (above my knee). I then took the skirt off to continue pinning a larger section at the front (about 8 inches) to give myself a better idea of how it would look and put it on again with the hem pinned up to make sure I was happy. To work with the existing button positioning (I always try to make life as easy as possible for Featured imagemyself) I decided to stop just above the closest button which would allow enough hem allowance for the hem to sit in a natural place below the final button.

After I had decided on the length, I took the skirt off and measured how much it had been turned up. Again, it’s best to round off to the nearest whole or half cm to make your life easier! Mine was 13cm. Remember, this includes your hem allowance, so if you take this off you’re left with the amount you need to cut off from the bottom. I usually look at the size of the exisitng hem and keep it the same. This one was 1.5cm.

So the amount I needed to remove was 11.5cm. To make sure to measure and cut a straight edge, I temporarily flattened out the pleats. The best way to do this is to use some kind of a weight. With two little tea pots to hand, these worked pretty well. You could use some unopened food tins if you don’t have anPhoto 05-05-2015 19 35 59y weights. I opened the pleats and put a weight top and bottom, working in about arms length sections, moving my weights as I went along. With my tape measure and a piece of contrast coloured chalk I made straight marks every few inches at this measurement using the brass end of the tap measure as a ruler.

Once this was marked, I cut off the short piece making sure my sheers were cutting to the right edge of my chalk marking. As my skirt has a button-down front, the button stand was stitched down along the edge so I unpicked a few stitches to make this flat so I could neaten the edge. I set up my sewing machine with a smallish zig zag and tested it on the piece of fabric I had cut off, to check the tension. As a rule, the best tension for a zig zag stitch is slightly loosened (so the needle thread shows slightly on the wrong side) but it should look even on top with none of the bobbin thread showing. Adjust your tension according to your fabric. As you are stitching onto a single layer (as opposed to a double layer) you may find the zig zag drawing your fabric in at the centre and creating a slight channel. To avoid this, I make sure the needle has enough room to spread across the fabric and to do this, stitch the zig zag in about 0.5cm from the edge. After doing this, I trimmed the edge back to the zig zag to get a neater finish.

MM5After my edge was neatened and trimmed, I knew I had 1cm left to play with. Now it was time to press up my hem. As I was going to do a blind hem, I only wanted to turn it up a single layer.  With the right side of the fabric facing down, starting from one of the ends I measured up 1.5cm and pinned this up all the way along the hem and pressed with the pleats creased (not flattened out). Note, I used glass head pins so was able to press over these but if you’re using pins with plastic heads, make sure you remove them as you go and be very careful not to place the iron plate over any or they will melt and ruin your iron!

Once the hem was pressed I buttoned up the fron to make sure it matched. I made a slight adjustment because the mint green side was slightly longer. As I had a button hole on the back of the white (top) side I had to shortenFeatured image the mint side to level it out as I wasn’t able to make the white side any longer or the buttonhole would show. Once I had evened out the hem, I had to make the adjustment gradual to blend into the rest of the hem allowance so it wasn’t a steep change, making it less noticeable.

Once this was done, I also pinned the pleats and pressed these in and tried the skirt on to check it looked balanced (and not longer or shorter at any point. )

Finally, I used a needle and thread, about an arms length at a time to avoid knots and did a blind hem stitch. Instead of knots I secure at the beginning and end of the thread with a couple of small stitches on top of each other. With all the pleats it took me nearly an hour (while catching up on some TOWIE) but it was worth it. I gave it a final press making sure the pleasts are pressed back nicely into shape.

Featured imageI’m really happy with the results and just need a sunny day this week to wear it. I may also add a lining to this skirt as trying it on with a white tee made me realise how sheer it is. Would you be interested in a tutorial on this? With all the rain today, I’ve decided to work on shortening a Four Seasons mac (another charity shop find.) Look out for that next week! Hopefully I’ll have better pics!

Daisy x

Take part in Make, Thrift London’s first focus groups

30 Apr

Sorry it’s been a little while..you may have wondered why I’ve gone off the radar a bit this month? Don’t tell anyone but I’ve been busy working on some new workshops. A couple of them will be popping up in the next few weeks so watch this space! Although I’ve focused mainly on the bookbinding and decoupage card making workshops so far, I want to get the ball rolling on starting our sewing workshops and I’ve been putting together some ideas but I want to deliver workshops catered towards what people actually want to learn and make. That’s where you come in! I’ve decided to hold my first focus group at my home studio in Cricklewood NW2. (If  you follow me on Twitter I usually refer to this as Make, Thrift HQ.) It’s my little space where I’ve combined my office and crafting studio and sometimes I hold private workshops here. I really want your feedback to help me in writing up my workshops to make them exciting and useful.

Who I want to speak to:

I’m looking for a range of ages and sewing abilities. This one however, is strictly for the ladies (although there will be one catered for the guys at a later date.) Maybe you’re interested in sewing but are a complete beginner OR are currently a sewer and maybe have made a few things but are interested in taking it further for example, by learning some basic pattern cutting skills to help you understand the construction of garments or to alter existing patterns. Maybe you can sew but would like some help understanding how to do alterations. Or, have you bought a sewing machine recently (or plan to) and need help getting to grips with using it?

If any of these sound like you, I’d love you to join my focus group for a cuppa, some cake and a chat.  Depending on the interest I get, I may be screening those who apply to take part.. but don’t be put off, I’ll keep everyone’s details on file and you will be invited to a future focus group if I can’t fit you in this time round, as I want to speak to as many people as possible.

As a thank you, everyone who takes part will receive 50% off their first workshop with Make, Thrift London (valid for 3 months). I will also be looking for some people to take part in pilot workshops which I will talk more about to those who attend a focus group.

The proposed time for the focus group will be:

Tuesday 8th May 7-9pm (if you can’t make this but would like to take part please still contact me stating when you’re usually available)

Although I have allocated 2 hours, this may be less depending on how much you guys have to say but I will keep on track not to run over.

Please apply by emailing:

astitchinteatime [at] gmail [dot] com

Be sure to include:

Your name, age, your profession, the town you’re from, a sentence telling me about your sewing/pattern making experience and whether you can make the suggested date and time or your alternative availability. This date and time is subject to change depending on the response I get.

Excited to meet you and get your feedback!

Love Daisy x

P.S. If you want to keep an eye on all the latest goings on with Make, Thrift London, like our facebook page here.