On the Mend
Chances are, if you like looking good, then you take care of your clothes. And just like men have a certain under-the-hood curiosity when it comes to cars and gadgets, many guys aren't afraid to put in the time to repair the clothes they've invested in. When a buddy of mine pointed out the small hole he'd sewn up on the elbow of his favorite shirt, it reminded me I had a bag of clothes awaiting such repairs that I'd been meaning to take to the cleaners. Sure, you're not going to be restitching your jeans anytime soon, but that doesn't mean you can't handle a few simple sartorial repairs with the most basic of supplies. After all, if Paul Newman was man enough to pick up a needle and thread, shouldn't you be?
Turn the garment inside out and line up the seam. Cut 20 inches of matching thread. Thread your needle and knot the end. Start about 1/2 inch before the rip and follow the original stitch line. 1)Insert your needle from the bottom through the two layers of fabric until the knot catches. 2)Push it back through about 1/8 inch to the right, pull it taught and 3)bring it back up 1/8 inch to the left of where you started and repeat. Each stitch overlaps the last for added strength. Known as a "backstitch," it's the best for seams.
Turn the pant leg inside out. Cut and thread your needle. 1)Piercing only the folded inner hem (not all the way through to the front of the pants), insert the needle and pull it out to make an 1/8-inch stitch. Knot it twice to secure. 2)Then insert the needle just above the hem through the fabric horizontally with as small a stitch as possible (this will show on the front of the pants). 3)Bring the thread down, diagonally to the right and make a stitch, piercing only the inner folded fabric, again horizontally. 4)Draw the thread up and make another tiny horizontal stitch above the hem, about 1/2 inch over from the previous stitch below. Repeat until the end of your hem's pull and tie off the thread to secure.
Simple steps for
shirts and coats.
REI's travel sewing kit is the best we've found; complete with quality thread in various colors, a threader, a tape measure, sturdy stainless steel folding scissors, pins, needles, spare buttons and a metal thimble.
$10 at REI