Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Sweater Mending

A client gave me a Cashmere sweater to mend for her.  It's her favourite, and she's worn the elbows out of it but it's in great shape otherwise.  The sweater was sooooo soft, so I can see why it's her favourite! The elbows had holes in them, and the underside of the arms have been worn completely smooth and shiny from use.  Thankfully, she suggested I sew up the pockets and repurpose that fabric into elbow patches. It's so much easier to mend something with visible patches than it is to do invisible mending.

First up was to baste a square of silk organza over the hole.  Normally, I'd put it on the inside, next to the skin, but this time I did it on the outside, between the sleeve and the patch. This is to keep the super soft cashmere on the skin, and to completely hide the organza from sight on either side. Silk organza gave me something to stitch onto to close the hole, adds strength to the area, and doesn't add much weight other than the thread.

Then I dropped the feed dogs in my machine and did a little free-motion mending.  This is the most fun part for me. I put down A LOT of thread since this is a well-loved and well-worn sweater.


Then I removed the basting and trimmed 'er down. Again, since I put this on the outside, I didn't have to trim right up to the thread and could leave a little boarder.


From the inside: (pat on the back for that well-matched thread colour)


Both together now.

These little slit pockets enabled me to sew them up and just snip off a double layer of fabric for nice, thick patches.


Cut off the edges, turn right sides out.


When pinning through only one layer, like sleeves, I like to put a ruler in between the layers so I don't accidentally pin through all layers.  It works quite nicely and is one of those "Why didn't I think of that sooner?" things.

Pinned nice and well so as not to shift.


And basted on before the actual stitching.


I did debate about using my machine to do free-motion stitches or to hand-stitch the patches on. In the end, I didn't think I was good enough at free-motion to use it in a visible way yet, but I knew my hand stitching was reliable and tidy. So I just backstitched 1/4" inside the edges, then did a blanket stitch around the perimeter of the patch.  I also tossed in a few pick stitches to keep the layers together and not look so poofy.



The patches should get worn in and slightly felted over time so they'll look much less obvious.  And my client should be able to wear out the rest of the sweater before she wears out her elbows again now.

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