The Clothing Alterations Guide for Men

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A man on the go will often choose to pass the opportunity to repair his own belongings over to a professional. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your car, home, or even your clothes. But making these repairs yourself can save quite a bit of money, especially basic modifications. Here is a short, do-it-yourself guide that will help you do just that.

Know What You Can and Can’t Accomplish

 Obviously we’re not all professionals, and not all of us are masters using a needle and thread. Because of this, it’s important to know the limits of what we can and can’t do. A few clothing alterations that you might be comfortable tackling on your own include replacing buttons and zippers, and hemming pants.

These are the basics, of course, but going beyond your skill level might cost you more money than you’re ready to part with. More advanced skills such as tapering, replacements, rotations, re-lining, and re-weaving small holes might require a visit to a skilled tailor. But for now, let’s work with what we can do.


Replacing Buttons

It’s worth wondering how many men out there realize that there’s an actual skill to sewing. Crazy, right? Here’s what to do:

  1. Find a matching button. Make this your number one priority.
  2. Threading the needle is the most annoying part if you don’t have nimble fingers. Make sure the thread is cleanly cut, and use a couple of feet or so. Licking the tip might help you get it through the eye more easily.
  3. Don’t tie it at the eye of the needle. Instead, fold the thread in half. Tie both ends together with two or three knots.
  4. Beginning at the back of the fabric, push the needle through to the front, and then slip it through the opposite hole. Slip a toothpick through the new loop. This acts as sort of space holder. Without it, you might run into the problem of sewing the button on too tight, which will might it difficult to fasten.
  5. Pass through the button about six times more, leaving yourself some extra thread to use, and then push the needle through to the back of the fabric. After that, slip the needle underneath the button and make a few loops around the thread already there. This will help keep the button fastened in place through normal wear and tear.
  6. Tie off the thread, and cut any left over. You’re done!

Replacing Zippers

Zipper Replacement might sound more difficult than it is. Just follow the steps and you should be okay.

  1. Make sure you have a seam ripper and sewing machine on hand before you begin. Also keep a needle and thread handy.
  2. Maneuver the seam ripper to slowly and carefully create a small hole between the overlap and underlap (two different pieces of material) where the zipper is. Then remove the stitches from the overlap on top. On the underlap, there should be pieces of zipper tape. Cut these, being careful not to sever the waistband stitches. The zipper should be released.
  3. Slide the new zipper into place, exactly where the old one used to be, using the hole you made initially. Use the sewing machine to stitch the hole closed, anchoring the zipper as well. You can do this by hand, of course, but the machine is faster if you have access to one. Be sure to stitch only to the inner layer so that nothing can be seen from the exterior of the fabric.
  4. Close the zipper. You’re done!

Hemming Pants

 Before you decide on whether or not your pants need hemming, consider that the safest bet to save money here is to simply wear pants that are slightly shorter. If you’re the type who likes to keep snug in a pair of longer pants, though, follow these steps to fix the frayed bottoms:

  1. Find your kids, your wife, or your friend.
  2. Put your pants on inside out and, using your buddy, pin the fabric as far up as necessary in order to keep the fraying out of site. Be sure to do this step with shoes on to get the appropriate length. Remove the pants.
  3. Use a tape measure to make sure that you’ve pinned the fabric evenly. Then do it again. Be certain, because it’s a lot easier than making a mistake and having to repeat the process later.
  4. Use an iron to create a smooth crease along the bottom.
  5. Remove the pins.
  6. Iron once more after folding the unfinished edge down about a quarter of an inch and pinning. Measure again.
  7. Remove enough of the pins so that you can stitch, but not so many that the fabric might shuffle.
  8. Using the stitching technique outlined above, stitch evenly around the entirety of the hem. You’re done!

So there you have it. With a few simple steps you can save some money and do your own simple alterations.

Mom will be so proud!

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