Friday, September 27, 2013

Make it Better: Correcting the Quality

One of my closet workhorses is a light blue button down from J. Crew. What makes it work with everything in my closet is that it's got the casual look of a chambray shirt, while actually being made of much lighter weight fabric. Light-weight fabrics are crucial for women with curves who like to wear button down shirts -- I avoided button downs for years because they always looked too stiff and unflattering before I figured this out.

I'm a strong supporter of getting every last ounce of use out of my belongings, trying my best to turn "make it do" into "make it even better than it was," and this holds even more true for my favorite pieces of clothing. I constantly get compliments on this shirt, no matter if I wear it with the sleeves rolled, the bottom knotted, or both. So, when I noticed that a seam that was not as strong as it should have been had started to unravel, I grabbed my needle and thread and set to work.

I probably could have done this faster on my sewing machine, but I don't have a great place for it right now (one day my great-grandmother's sewing table will join me in New York, but alas, not yet!), and I thought hand-sewing it would be less labor-intensive than pulling out my machine. In reality, it probably took slightly longer to do it this way, but on the silver-lining side, if anyone else is stopping herself from this type of fix due to not having a sewing machine, it certainly can be done by hand. And considering the difficulty in finding clothing that's well-made, this very well may be something handy to know...

This is the outside of the shirt where the seam has given.

Usually there is a second strong seam hidden by the outermost seam because it doesn't look very pretty. This is the case with this shirt, as one can see above the offending seam.

The first thing to do is to gently pull out the useless thread. Cut it at each end where it has started to unravel, and tie off the ends.

If they are visible, try to follow the original holes as a guide, being sure to overlap the new stitches and the original stitches at each end. This will strengthen the spots where the original stitching is weakest.

I've got use of my shirt again, and don't need to go out searching for a replacement. Now, I just need a good pair of brown boots that can become closet workhorses as well.

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