Thursday, 24 September 2015

How to Easily Mend Stretched Ribbing on Clothing

I have to admit, I'm not overly keen on clothing alterations or mending a worn garment. To prolong the life of a garment, however, I'll overcome my lack of enthusiasm. Today's sewing involved one such task - fixing the stretched ribbing on the sleeves of a favourite cardigan. As far as mending goes, the fix was relatively easy.

How to Easily Mend Stretched Ribbing on Clothing ~ Threading My Way

This cardigan has served me well - I wear it a LOT - and apart from the stretched sleeves, it's still in good shape. I have a habit of pushing the sleeves up to my forearm, which has probably caused the cuffs to stretch. I'm also not particularly careful when I take it off - pulling it by the ribbing, which also wouldn't help.

The fix is really easy!!! Just a little hand sewing...

You will need shirring elastic and a needle with a large eye. Working on the wrong side of the garment, thread the needle through a couple of stitches on each of the raised parts of the ribbing, working your way from seam to seam. Try the sleeve on your arm, before you secure each row of elastic, to gauge the fit. It needs to be snug enough to achieve the desired look, but without being at all tight. The elastic has to be able to easily stretch so it fits comfortably over your wrist.

I could have stopped at just one row of stitching, but I chose to make it stronger with four rows of stitching, roughly ½" apart. 

The photo above shows the inside of one sleeve, with two rows sewn. From the outside (three photos up), you can only see the elastic if you look really hard. With a different coloured garment, the elastic would show more, as I don't think shirring elastic comes in many different colours. I've only ever seen black and white, although the white is probably closer to a bone colour.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
You can see a slight indentation caused by three of the rows of stitching - another reason to only sew one row near the edge. I'm guessing that with the rough treatment I inflict on my clothes, the elastic will most probably stretch a little over time, and the indentations will disappear.

How to Easily Mend Stretched Ribbing on Clothing ~ Threading My Way

This is the cardigan (and my new infinity scarf) before I fixed the stretched sleeves. You can see how loose they are. Now I'll be able to push the sleeves up to my forearms or even elbows and they'll stay up.

Yes, I know, I should have shown after photos. It just wasn't happening today!

Thought I'd also show you a similar fix on a jumper my Mum knitted me over thirty years ago. This one stretched at the waist. It's a very loose knit, and I was able to thread ⅛" elastic through the stitches. I did this many years ago, long before I even knew shirring elastic existed. Not sure that shirring elastic would be strong enough for a waistband, but hat elastic would probably have done the trick just as well.

From the outside, there's no evidence of the elastic. I think it would have looked better if I'd put it closer to the edge, though. Doesn't bother me enough to re-do it - I've been wearing it this way for years.

I'm really pleased with the fix to my cardigan. It looks better and is more comfortable to wear. I know I'll be wearing it for many years to come.

How do you feel about mending clothes?

... Pam

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  1. I mend clothes all the time. Right now I am battling adding deeper pockets in my husbands khakis. It is more of a challenge that I expected, but well worth the effort. And he thinks I'm amazing! They are making pockets so skimpy these days that our grandson is getting 'rich' finding all the money that falls out of his pockets!

    1. Some of my jeans have pockets so small, they barely fit a tissue. I've never thought of making them larger, Jeannie. Not sure if I'd be game to tackle that alteration. Love to know how you get on.

  2. I don't love me ding, but love the satisfaction. Sewing can be expensive so to extend the life of things feels good! Great hack, Pam.

  3. Great way to mend this problem, I'll remember this one, thank you.

  4. Ahhh, so clever! I have tossed shirts because of baggy sleeves.

  5. You are a genius! I was just thinking of tossing a sweater that has the bagged out cuff problem. Timely post for me!

  6. My mum used to do this all the time, her hand knits always ended up a bit baggy and would dangle in the washing up water and annoy her! I'd completely forgotten all about it till I read this, I'm pinning so I don't forget again.

  7. Great tip! I also have some stretched out cuffs....very timely post! Thanks!


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