If you know how to sew, you are well on your way to being able to take care of the mending needs of your vintage finery. If you are already a seamstress, my best advice is to consider the way the garment was originally sewn in your repair work. Respect what has been done to the best of your ability and your work will blend in, even if this means (for instance) not using the newest gadgets on a modern sewing machine.
For those who don't know how to sew, or need a refresher, this section is about the most basic sewing skills that you may want to learn to do yourself. I know there is every kind of "modern woman" out there, and some will take off and fly with sewing, others will grimace at the very idea of threading a needle. For the reluctant, a seamstress can do these tasks for you. For the potential aviatrix, I have included some links to get you started.
Although it certainly is nice, you don't have to have a sewing machine to do basic mending. Equip yourself with a sewing kit for hand mending if you don’t already have one. Included should be spools of thread in basic colors, various hand sewing needle sizes (including sharp, fine needles to slip through silk and smooth rayon), beeswax to run your thread over to keep it from tangling, small thread-snipping scissors, a seam ripper, sharp pins, and a pin cushion. You will want to keep a collection of replacement fasteners including hooks and loops, and snaps in various sizes. You can scout for vintage sewing items at flea markets and yard sales, although many of these haven't changed significantly in 100 years or more, so new will do fine.
I would suggest you consider managing at least these mending jobs:
- Resewing or replacing of loose or missing buttons and other fasteners
- Restitching an open or loose seam
- Bringing a snag to the inside of fabric
- Removing pilling
- Restitching a loose or missing hem
- Closing up tiny holes in sweaters
- Getting a sticky metal zipper to run smoothly
One online set of very clear tutorials for beginning hand sewers is monkeysee.com's "How to Sew by Hand" video series.
If you are a little farther along in your skills, you can add patching holes and mending tears, discreet mends in lace, and restoring missing beads and trims.
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