Every woman should learn to sew a button and a dart by the time they are thirteen. Boys should too, but they care less what they look like at that point so it feels like a moot point.
There’s a reason though that I specify those two skills before you turn into a teenager.
You remember your complaints that nothing looked good on you and you hated your clothes.
Guess what, they didn’t fit you.
I’ll say this, as a kid I did not realize what skills I was taught before ten were so useful.
I mean I was taught how to sew, though my mother despaired over my skills, she went to school for fashion design, and I was managing a crooked line like it was going out of style.
I did learn to knit when I was sixteen so I could be good a craft that she wasn’t. Granted, she’s never learned how to knit.
But I knew how to sew on a button and make a dart.
I also learned how to thrift shop from my aunt. Well,
I learned how to look at things and decide if I like them or not.
I’ve learned a few other things that really made my life a lot easier when it comes to sewing.
So why, does this fall into an ‘on the box’ solution?
It’s simple really.
Over the last few weeks, I have spent more time at home and more time on Pinterest accordingly. I came across the advice of someone that Clinton Kelly, of What Not to Wear, gave at some point.
Everything those people come home with is tailored.
Their jeans, their t-shirts, their blouses.
It’s a point to shopping that I never really considered before because again, my mother never looked for things that fit me perfectly growing up—she looked for quality in the material. I hated it as a kid because I wanted those cool t-shirts and other things that would have fallen apart in the wash in less than six months.
And I wasn’t the one that was hard on my clothes.
When I finally got to buy my own clothes, I bought the trash t-shirts that didn’t last long. I rarely wear them, and I’m not sure that I have any left from that time period.
So fast forward a bit. I’m a grown up and I need grown up clothes. I don’t have loads of money so I resort to thrift shopping. Why? because it is both cheap and an adventure. I have found jeans that fit perfect for ten bucks and worn them until they had holes and then I made them shorts so I could keep wearing them.
Speaking of, I have another pair of pants that need to be converted. Summer is coming up.
I went looking for colors I liked. Everything that didn’t quite fit, needed to be a bit bigger. You can always make it smaller but you can’t always make something bigger. I found a shirt that was a really cool texture and was a men’s button down XL.
One of my favorite things in fixing something I wear is to take out the tag that says what size it is. Or at least making it unreadable. Or leaving it in to remind someone that they can’t get that hoodie back.
It was way too big, but that is actually a really easy fix. Granted I do have a sewing machine these days. That makes straight lines so much easier. And faster. It took me about an hour when I finally had a chance to sit down and fix it. And I paid six bucks for the shirt. Yes, we can count my time into the occasion but I live in the group of people that have time, but not enough money so it’s worth it to me. I probably could have done it faster but I was also watching a video broadcast at the time. #noguilt
We will not tell my mother that I sew my paper packets for my journals on it, but —whoops. Did that.
As women, we are taught that we need to look right, dress right, act right. Men have a different set of rules but appearance is a forgiven trait. We start beating ourselves up in the mirror in our teenage years, and it takes years or tricks, tips, or therapy to teach ourselves to forget that the mirror is not the final say.
But knowing how to put a dart into jean shorts that are really cute, but just a bit too big can make something fit you that didn’t before. That button sewing skill can cover up a hole in a favorite shirt that you’re not quite ready to replace.
The other thing that didn’t realize until I started fixing my clothes as an adult is that when I do fix them, I stopped buying stuff that was going to fall apart. I got better quality stuff because I knew that I could wear it into the ground, and I could fix it and do it again.
That and everything just fits better. I’m not worried about a seam coming out because guess what. I can fix it up to a point.
Those Early Attempts
In December I had a couple of my early attempts at fixing things come part. They had issues at the armpits because at the time I really didn’t know what I was doing on the seams and was kind of making it up as I go along. So I sat down with a TED talk and fixed them. Because in the six years since I made those shirts fit, I learned a few things. I got better at my skills. And well, the shirt that I fixed up a couple of weeks ago? Yeah, we’re going to see how long it lasts before I have to fix the seams.
The point is that with the skills to sew on a button or make a dart, you can fix your clothes to fit you and make you feel comfortable in your own skin because your clothes aren’t baggy and hanging in the wrong places. That’s when things don’t look good no matter how cute the color.
So while we all have too much time on our hands because we no longer have a commute, want to learn a new skill?
- Want to make those jeans that never fit quite right do so?
- Want a different way to make the gap in the back of pants to disappear?
- Those too low necklines bugging you? Also this one shows cutting out the size… so I’m a little partial to it.
- Buttons, there are three kinds and three ways…
Pinterest is also a great resource as is Youtube.
I’m a do-it-as-I-go-along kind of learner so it depends on what I’m learning if I want pictures or a video. I’m also left handed and sometimes the tutorials are for right handed people and it actually makes it more confusing than helpful. It was a lesson we learned when I learned to crochet and knit over the years.