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Mending Minor Rips and Tears

Mar 17, 2008
Mending can be fun if you treat it as an art and work for careful, durable, flat finishes. Study the weave of the fabric and try to duplicate it. Try to get as invisible a finish as possible except where you are making a decorative mend.

In order to mend, you must have a basic knowledge of the hand stitches, although you will find that the running stitch is the one you will use most often. Stitches are usually short and fine. Rows of stitching are uneven to prevent definite lines from showing and to insure an invisible finish. Work from the right side most often to blend in your work.

Your work box contains much of the same equipment as for regular sewing, plus a darning egg, a hoop for machine darning, mending liquid, mending tape, rubber tissue, darning threads and needles, a crochet hook, buttons, snaps, hooks and eyes, tapes, and scraps.

Inspect your clothes regularly. These are likely spots to check:

1. Seams. Narrow seams may have to be stitched a little deeper to make them hold. If the edges fray, stitch a line near the edges and overcast them. Two rows of stitching prevent fraying and stretching.

2. Stitching. Rip out and resew broken or drawn stitching.

3. Hems. Re-hem when necessary if threads catch or seem unusually loose. Check and re-stitch hems on household linens also.

4. Dangling threads. Catch and fasten off such threads before further damage occurs.

5. Bindings and facings. See if they are sewed on securely and re-stitch if necessary.

6. Pocket corners and placket edges. Reinforce with tape or stitching if they seem weakened by wear.

7. Fastenings. Check and re-sew buttons, snaps and hooks and eyes. Rework raveled buttonholes.

Patches are used where a hole has been made. Cut a patch on the straight of the goods and match it to the lengthwise and crosswise yarns in the garment. Match design and pattern in the fabric very carefully or the patch will stand out like a sore thumb. When inserting a patch into a washable garment, wash new material until color is the same as the color of the garment. The washing will also shrink the patch.

Hemmed patch: This is a strong mend used primarily for washable garments. Trim the tear to a rectangle. Clip diagonally at corners from 1/4 to 1/2 inch, and turn edges under slightly beyond the ends of the clips. Crease sharply or press. Cut the patch about one inch larger than the hole, making sure to match the design.

Baste the patch in place and slip stitch in place from the right side, catching the stitches in the very edge of the crease. Turn to the wrong side and turn the edges of the patch under 1/4 inch, snipping a little off at the corners to prevent excess bulk. Slip stitch to place seeing that stitches do not show on the right side.

Catch-stitched hemmed patch: This is a variation of the hemmed patch and is used for heavy, less firmly woven materials, such as some drapery and slip-cover fabrics, bedspreads, and thin blankets. Cut the patch and machine stitch twice around the outside. Baste the patch in place and slip stitch on the right side. On the wrong side, catch stitch the raw edge of the patch to the article being repaired.

Lapped or under laid patch: This patch is used when sturdiness is more important than appearance. Make hole rectangular or round, round for greatest amount of stretch as in knit goods and elastic garments. Cut away ragged edges and baste matched patch to position. Darn by hand, working the stitches in over the edges even beyond the joining, or stitch by machine where a stiffer and stronger mend is desirable.

Thermoplastic or pressed on patches: Straighten edges of hole, put in patch cut from hem, and from wrong side, press on mending tape over patch. Use another piece of mending tape in place from which patch was taken, as the hem. Follow exact directions given with the tape.

Now you can keep your clothes neat and mended all the time!
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