DIYDS: Do It Your Damn Self!
Step Uno: NEEDLES! If you're anything like me, you lose needles like it's hip. Always buy big multi-packs. They usually come with several different sizes, and you'll use different sizes depending on the delicacy of the fabric. Personally, I don't typically sew delicate fabric because... Well... I don't wear delicate fabric. I'm usually sewing canvas patches to denim or altering cotton t-shirts. I prefer using larger needles because it's easier to poke through denim. Also, the larger the needle, the larger the eye, or hole, and that's convenient for those who don't want to fight with the thread. There are needles that have clasps that open at the eye that make it easier for you to thread the needles, but seriously? Don't be lazy.
Step Deux: THREAD! I'm not partial to any particular brand of thread. In fact, I know some people who don't even use thread. They use dental floss! It only comes in white, and you have to remember not to get the mint-flavored kind, but it's ten times as strong as regular thread. So, when you are moshing and crowd-surfing and getting knocked around at a show, you're more likely to keep your clothes intact! Although, personally, I use thread. To make it stronger, I double up so I'm technically sewing with two strands. I like to have variety in color when I alter my clothing, especially if I want the thread to be hidden. It's really difficult to hide white floss on a bright green shirt. Try it. You'll probably fail.
Step Drei: TOOLS! Of course, you should have your sewing kit staple tools, such as sciccors, marking tool, measuring tape, and a pin cushion (complete with pins, silly). Aside from the usual, you should have a few special items. I cannot tell you how much I love my seam ripper. It's this terrifying miniature sickle that's 100 times as sharp. It cuts seams open like buttah, aswell as your finger, so watch out! Another tool you'll be glad to have is a thimble. Sometimes you'll try to shove a needle through tough, thick frabic and end up having the end with the eye come out the back of your finger. Thimbles make life so much easier. Also, if you're one that likes to use studs on leather, have a box cutter around. Cut marks where the studs go; it makes it significantly simpler to put the studs in place. You could use a seam ripper, but leather is a little too rough and tumble for the flimsy handle that equip seam rippers.
Step uhh... Four: TECHNIQUE! Everyone likes to use different techniques when sewing patches and altering t-shirts. Some like the criss-cross style that's shaped like an X, and some like the in n' out style that goes from the inside of the frabic to the outside, or what I like to call, the dolphin style. Get it! 'Cause the thread looks like a dolphin. Going in and out... Of... Water... Ahem. Anyway, I prefer criss-cross. For me, it keeps the fabric together better than the dolphin style sewing, but try them both out and see which one works for you.
Step V: THE BIG BANG: Now, when you sit down with your needles, thread, tools and piece of clothing that needs altering, you can feel a little overwhelmed. I know it's hard to know where to begin when you're looking at your objective in scraps. Just remember this: measure, measure, cut, sew. Just like in carpentry, measure twice, cut once. You wouldn't want your clothing to come out too small or too large so measure TWICE, cut, then sew. That doesn't seem so difficult, right? Measure, measure, cut, sew! You could even make a song out of it!
With these few simple steps, I hope to give you the confidence to do the sewing you've been putting off. Don't ignore your sewing kit anymore. It's super simple and sometimes fun! Now get that sewing kit out and sew like a man!
Written by Laura Sullivan