Be under no illusions, when you’re learning to sew, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to produce something worthy of the Givenchy Spring Summer 2015 collection immediately. Despite what watching RuPaul’s Drag Race might have led you to believe, if you attempt to produce a flawless creation from little more than some cleaning cloths, refuge bags and a hula hoop, you’re going to look more rundown than designer. But invest a little of your time, buy a good sewing machine and stitch before you style, and before you know it, you’ll find a million and one reasons to dredge up your sewing basket on a wintry afternoon.
Earnest hemming ways
From taking up curtains to altering the length of your cotton slacks, this skill might be sewing 101, but hemming is notoriously tough to do well if you don’t know how. Master it, and you’ll look sharp as a needle on every occasion. You’ll need some chalk, a needle and thread colour that matches your garment seamlessly, some pins, scissors and a straight edge. When pinning your hem, do it while the pants are on the body for a perfect line. To avoid seeing the stitches on the outside of the material, sew into the vertical seam allowance to secure in place, and then around the hem evenly, picking only a few threads at a time. When you’ve stitched around the inside of each leg, press the hems with a steam iron from the inside for a beautiful finish.
Add an elegant touch (and a little longevity) to the elbows or shoulders of tired knitwear with some custom patching. Select your material in a contrasting colour (moleskin, corduroy and velvet are all popular choices). Cut out an oval shape, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for something a little quirky, like a heart or star. Try on the garment, and have someone help you pin the patch into position. Then, sew into place and prepare to rock college professor chic. Geeky glasses entirely optional.
One of the easiest ways to transform a dull, ready to wear garment is by sewing on some new buttons. Try looking around thrift stores for some quirky, unique styles, and you’ll find some inexpensive gems. Use strong thread, or, in a fix, double-thread your needle, and use a pin as you sew to keep a little give between the button and the surface of the garment. Always secure your work with a few stitches on the reverse to reinforce.