We would encourage anyone to learn how to do a seam repair by hand. Repairing a seam is a super easy life skill that goes a long way, not least because repairing rather than binning clothes saves the environment and saves you money. Last year the UK threw away around 300,000 tonnes of textiles, equating to around £12.5 billion, with many of those clothes ending up in landfill sadly still perfectly wearable or salvageable.
The good news is that most clothing failures are incredibly simple to repair simply with a needle, some thread and some time. This article will help you learn how to master a durable backstitch; a well sewn backstitch shouldn’t unravel again in a hurry, and is also a great building block from which to improve your sewing skills. To make sure you never ditch a perfectly repairable item of clothing again due to a failed seam, read on!
Gather your materials.
You will need some pins, a needle, an iron and some thread. The thread should preferably be as close in colour as possible to the material of your clothing to make the seam invisible.
Prep the seam.
Bring the seam lines together to find the existing seam line, then iron over it so that you can see the seam line from the side. Pin the seams together as pressed, leaving space between pins.
Prep your needle and thread.
When stitching by hand it is best to use double thread and use a back stitch to give strength so the seams won’t pull apart. Double up a long length of thread so you don’t run out half way through the seam, and thread your needle. Tip: If threading a needle is an art that eludes you, invest in a wire loop needle threader to cut out the frustration.
Begin your durable backstitch.
You should clearly see the line where the seam was before and where you should follow. Firstly, push the needle into the fabric where you want to start the seam, and bring the needle back through both layers of fabric just in front of the previous stitch. The closer your stitches are, the stronger your backstitch will be. For the first stitch only, go back over this first stitch to secure the thread and make sure it doesn’t unravel. Then, push the needle back into the fabric between where the needle came in and out of the fabric to create the first stitch.
Continue a line of even stitches.
Bring the needle up through the fabric the same distance you came forward in creating the first stitch. Keep these stitches going, regularly checking the back of the seam to help you judge whether they are even. The stitches can be as tight or spaced out as you want but, but start out slowly and build up speed once you’re confident the stitches are even.
Give it a professional finish.
Once you’ve reached the end, go back over the final stitch to make sure it is secure and won’t come apart. Finally, cut off any excess threads and lightly iron over the seam to give a nice sharp finish. Et voila!
The Clothes Doctor is an award-winning online clothing maintenance service, operating nationwide with offices and workshops in London and Cornwall. Their mission is to keep as many pieces of your favourite clothing out of landfill as possible by offering a unique and easy-to-use service. Simply order online and they'll collect your clothing, alter or fix it and then they'll deliver it back to you. They never use any unnecessary packaging and your mending is guaranteed for six months.