Tips and tricks to help you mend small and big holes in your wool garments
At Core Merino we love to sell our wool garments, however, we are also passionate about you keeping, wearing and loving your Core Merino products as long as possible. Why? Because it means you got your money worth, and it is also better for the environment. One way of extending the life of a garment is to repair it whenever small holes or tears occur.
Lately, we have been getting some questions from you about how to best mend a wool garment, so we thought we put together a practical blog post for you to learn everything there is to know about repairing and mending your Core products if need be.
Just like sh**t happens, it is just one of those annoying things in life that holes happen, too, if we like it or not. Even though we do everything possible to make our Core Merino garments out of high-quality material, you will still sooner or later get a small hole or tear in your garment. That’s life.
The reasons for holes and tears to happen can be plenty:
- A thorny bush that sticks out while you run past it
- The fabric gets caught in a zipper or Velcro
- Your cat or dog is too playful with you
- Despite good precautions, a moth finds its way into your closet
- The seams or hem wear out because you have been using and washing your garment many times
No matter the reason, garments, including those out of wool, just wear out and get holes and tears. But, that is not a reason to just throw the garment out, you can easily repair it and enjoy the garment for longer.
Why is it worth repairing your wool garment?
When you have a hole in your (wool) garment, it may seem easier to just replace it with a new one. We all have busy lives, and taking the time to mend a garment just does not seem to fit into our schedule. But before you do throw out and replace, consider these facts first:
Repairing saves money
The cost for a new garment is much higher than the cost of repairing the garment yourself or even getting it done by a professional. Every new garment you are not buying saves you money.
Better for the environment
As we already discussed in many of our other blog posts, manufacturing garments uses up resources such as water and energy. The fewer garments that need to be manufactured, the lower is the impact on the environment. Therefore, extending the life of a garment through repair helps save resources and protect our lovely planet.
Learn and cultivate a new skill
Our grandparents and maybe even our parents used to learn how to mend garments, it was a normal and important skill to learn. However, if you are part of a younger generation, you may not have been taught how to fix a hole or sew on a button. Therefore, you might find it interesting and challenging to learn a new and useful skill. YouTube and other media platforms have tons of video tutorials on how to mend garments, and we encourage you to try learning something new as it will make you feel good, trust us on this one.
Increase your creativity
In one of the early Friends episodes, Phoebe covers a stain on her dress with a Christmas ornament before going out to a gala dinner. Now that’s a creative solution to the problem. Once you dive into the world of mending garments, you will also notice that there is more than one way to fix things. You may find yourself developing creative solutions that you never knew were within yourself. A creative mind is also a happy mind.
Finally, researchers also found out that working with a needle and thread can actually help you relieve stress and calm you down. There is something about concentrating on the task in front of you and using your hands, that helps us cope with stress. While we, of course, prefer being active outside to manage stress, you might like to throw in some needlework from time to time as well for the overall benefit of your body and mind.
Enough about why you should repair your wool garments. Let’s now focus on how to repair them.
How to repair your wool garment?
As mentioned above, there are many techniques on how to best repair a wool garment, and the best solution always depends on what needs repairing, your skill level, and your taste. Most importantly, it is always wise to repair sooner than later, meaning it is easier to fix a small hole than one that has grown over time bigger and bigger.
The easiest is fixing a small hole as you mainly need a needle and a thread.
There are many tutorials out there on YouTube and websites, here is some to check out: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/How+to+Darn+a+Hole+in+a+Knitted+Garment/27415
But basically, it comes down to this:
- Find a thread in the colour of your garment, if you can find a wool thread that’s great, but also a cotton or polyester thread will work. Cut a piece of thread no longer than 40 cm, as it gets harder to work the thread the longer it is.
- Get a thin needle suitable for the fabric of your garment
- If your garment is made of very thin material, use a single thread, otherwise, you can use a double thread.
- Pull the thread through the needle and tie a knot at the end.
- Turn your garment inside out and look at the hole.
- Find a good spot near the hole to fix your thread to the fabric
- Now start sewing the hole closed by stitching 2-3 mm above and below the hole and closing the hole shut.
- Tie off the thread by fixing it again with a knot, so the thread won’t become loose.
- Voilà, you are done! Good job!
Sometimes, small holes turn into big holes, or you did tear quite a big hole into your garment, to begin with. Big holes need a bit of a different approach and there are several techniques to consider.
- Buy a patch to sew it over the hole
- Make a patch out of some fabric or another wool garment and sew it over the hole
- Use a mushroom darner and weave the hole shut (see this tutorial https://youtu.be/qNH3irSYu6I)
- Learn how to close the hole with the felting technique (see tutorial: https://youtu.be/Y0j6H1aK2pU)
Here are several websites that provide an overview of techniques on how to fix a big hole:
Replace buttons and zippers
Sometimes it is not a hole that needs fixing, and instead, it is a broken zipper or a missing button. Both can also be fixed, of course as well.
Replacing a zipper can be a bit of a bigger task, and you might want to leave that to a professional or do some research online first.
Sewing on a button, however, is an easy task and can be accomplished in 5 minutes once you get the hang of it. Ideally, you still have the button that came off. Otherwise, check if the garment came with an extra button sewn to the label inside or delivered in a small plastic bag attached to the swing tag. If you cannot find the original matching button, you can try to find a similar-looking button or consider replacing all buttons on the garment, so they all have the same look and feel.
Here is a good tutorial on how to sew on a button: https://remake.world/stories/style/how-to-mend-your-clothes-during-quarantine-5-easy-stitch-fixes/
Mend seams and hems
Another area that tends to need fixing is the seams and hems of a garment. This can be actually the most thankful repair work, as you just need to redo the needlework that came undone, and even if you are not very skilled, it will hardly be noticeable. Watch this tutorial on how to mend a seam: https://sewguide.com/clothing-repair-mending-tears/
Take your garment to a professional
Finally, you can of course also take your garment to a professional garment repair shop or tailor and get your garments mended there. Small repairs usually do not cost a lot of money and when you are short of time or don’t have the patience to mend yourself, then this might be your best option.
Cherish your tears and holes
When you are done with your repair, you might not be fully satisfied with the result, and yes, chances are that you can still see where the hole was. In other words, your garment will not always look as good as new. However, we encourage you to take a different perspective and cherish your tears and holes. These small imperfections can either represent a memory for the time when you were out and got caught in the thorny bush, but that may also be the time you ran your best time ever or saw the most beautiful sunrise. The other way to look at your fixed holes and tears is to see them as a form of custom-made or personalisation of your garment. The imperfection makes the garment different and special from all others.
This is even an upcoming trend called visible mending. People around the world actually deliberately mend their garments in a way that is visible as an expression of their individual personalities. Margreet Sweerts is a visible mender, and she summarises her craft like this: “There can be beauty in a flaw, a golden scar. It is a sign of life, it tells the story and history of a piece.” You can read more about visible mending here.
We hope this blog post motivated you to have a go at repairing your wool garments, and that we provided you with a bunch of resources to get you started. If you have any questions or suggestions, then get in touch, and we will be happy to assist you in the best possible way.