Tag Archives: Fix It

Recovering My Ironing Board

I recently finally got around to recovering my ironing board, which was long overdue! I haven’t done a huge amount of sewing recently but my partner irons a shirt most days and he was finding the old crappy cover particularly painful to use.

This was the cheapest ironing board that Argos sold when I bought it a few years ago. I didn’t hate the colour but the elastic around the edge gave way pretty quickly and for more months than I care to admit, I had it safety pinned to stop the cover falling off completely!

Also even when this was new, it wasn’t the best because it had this tiny thin piece of foam as the only padding, which really didn’t last very long before you could feel the frame underneath!

Luckily because the elastic had all stopped being springy, I could use the old cover as a template for the new one. I used this amazing sewing-themed cotton I had in my stash. I did have to seam it but you really can’t see it on the cover because I pattern matched it.

I then used the new cover as a template for the wadding. I bought a really thick wadding from my local sewing shop – it was the one the lady in the shop said she used for her ironing board.

She advised me to overlock the wadding and the fabric together, which I did, but it was then too thick for the width of bias binding I bought so I had to unpick the overlocking – which is always fun!

So the method I used was based on the one from Tilly and the Buttons – you make a channel with bias binding and thread string though the channel and pull it tight around the frame. You can also use elastic but since that was the downfall of the first cover, I wanted to use cord so I could re-tie it if it loosened in the future.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how it looks, and how useful it is to have a working ironing board!

Have you ever put off a relatively simple job out of laziness even though you know it will improve your life to do it? ……..no, me neither………



Fix It: How to take in the waistband on trousers


Do you ever see the perfect pair of trousers but there a bit too big at the waist? I was given these amazing trousers by The Boyfriend’s mum but they sat more on my hips than my waist as they should. I thought I’d do a tutorial on how to alter the waist band of a pair of trousers in case you wondered how to do it.


I would say a helpful step first of all is to take photos of the waistband, including belt loops, buttons, button holes, hooks and eyes and zips, so you have a reference to look back on in case you can’t remember what went where. Then you need to unpick the existing waistband from the trousers. I unpicked the inside of the waistband then the outside.


When I then moved to the outside seam of the waistband, I encountered the belt loops. I decided to unpick the stitching attaching it at the top of the waist band rather then the bottom, so they would still be attached to the trousers and I wouldn’t have to worry about where to place them.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-4You may have to take them off completely if they are entirely attached to the waistband, in which case I would suggest putting a mark, with chalk or a pin, on the trousers where each one was. You may want to change the placing of the belt loops if you’re taking the trousers in by quite a lot, so removing them would be helpful anyway.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-5You’ll want to leave button holes intact if you can, if you hate sewing them as much as I do! This is assuming you’ve got buttons and not a jeans rivet, as I had with my corduroy shorts/skirt refashion – I couldn’t take off the rivet so made a new button hole once I’d resized the waistband.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-6With this pair of trousers, there was a button and button hole on both ends of the waist band, so I knew I would have to redo one of the button holes, once I’d cut it off to shorten the waistband. If you have the same set up, it may be worth making a note of the position of the button and/or buttonhole from the edge of the waistband so you have an idea of where to put them back.


You’ll then want to try on the trousers inside out and pin down the side seams, and maybe the back seam too, if you’re taking out a lot, how much you need to take out of the trousers. I tried mine on before I unpicked the waistband too, and measured I needed to take out a total of 8cm – this meant I could then roughly pin 2 2cm tucks on the side seams, then try them on and taper the 2cm out towards the existing side seam – you’ll want to do a shallow taper so you don’t end up with what looks like a pleat. If you try them on and measure the amount to take out, then you will also know how much to reduce the length of the waistband by.

The stitching line you can see to the left of my pin line is for the pockets – you’ll want to plan where you sew your new seams so you don’t interfere with pockets or existing pleats. You might want to make new pleats instead of taking in at the seams, to make more of a design feature of your alterations.


Once you’ve sewn your new seams and again tried them on to check your alterations are good and don’t look weird, or obvious – unless you want them to be obvious! You’ll then need to reduce the length of the waistband. Draw a chalk line where the new end needs to be, then flip the waistband inside out and sew the new seam – you can see how I lost the buttonhole.


Now all you need to do it reattach your waistband. You’ll almost certainly want to reattached the outside half of the waistband to the right side of the trousers first. You can see below that I’ve pinned the right side of the waistband to the right, outside side,  of the trousers. You can actually see the original stitching and fold line on the waistband – I followed this for my 1cm seam allowance.


If, like me, you left your belt loops attached to the trousers, you’ll need to make sure you pin them out of the way when sewing this seam – there’s nothing more annoying that sewing a beautiful seam (and it’s always the best seam you’ve ever sewn!), only to have to unpick parts of it because you’ve caught your belt loops in the way.


This is what it then looks like from the right side of the trousers, with the inside half of the waistband folded up so you can see it’s not attached.


To sew the inside of the waistband down, in the case of my trousers, I pinned it from the outside of the trousers so I could sew it and see what it would look like from the right side. You again need to make sure your belt loops are out of the way. I then used my zipper foot to stitch as close to the seam line as possible. You may want to hand stitch the inside of the waistband to make it invisible. Or you could sew the INSIDE with the seam (right sides together), and then top stitch the outside in place. You’ll be informed by the way it was constructed originally.

How-To-Take-In-Trousers-13You’ll now want to reattach your belt loops – in my case I just needed to attach them at the top, which I did using a teeny tiny zip-zag stitch. In general the placement for belt loops would be one on the centre back seam, one on each side seam, (possibly one on each side between these 2), and 1 on each side just in front of your hip bones.


Now all you need to do is remake any button holes you need to, and sew on any buttons you had to remove when you resized the waistband. Yay! Now you have a newly wearable pair of trousers!



Fix It - Replacing a Broken Zip thumb Mustard Corduroy Shorts into Skirt Fix It - Repairing Holes in a Coat thumb



Fix It: Replacing A Zip


It’s so annoying when a zip breaks isn’t it?! This happened to one of the skirts I had made, rendering it unwearable until I got around to fixing it. Is it just me that finds repairs boring? Which is silly, because it took about an hour and a half to replace the zip!


The first thing to do is to unpick the old zip, which will include unpicking any facings and the seam a little further than the zip.


It will then look something like this.


The next thing to do is to pin the new zip into the gap left by the old zip. This was a little easier than inserting the zip in the first place as the fabric was already folded back by the seam allowance. This is a lapped zip, not an invisible one, though the principle is the same. With the skirt inside out, place the zip face own with the teeth along the seam allowance fold.


Make sure you only pin through one layer of fabric and not the one underneath – you should be able to flatten out the seam allowance so it looks like below. This will allow you to sew the zip without catching the rest of the skirt in the machine.


Then you get to the exciting part of sewing in the zip. You’ll have to use a zip foot (or an invisible zip foot if you’re replacing an invisible zip). You’ll only be able to sew as far as the head of the zip. Repeat this on both sides, taking out the pins as you go.


It should then look something like this on the inside.


You now have to stitch up the seam that you unpicked when you unpicked the zip. You’ll need to fold the seam like this, with the zip sandwiched in between. You’ll want to hold the tail of the zip out of the way of the seam. Using a zip foot will make it easier to sew as close to the zip as possible.


You’ll need to sew the seam to overlap with the stitching attaching the zip, like below. If the lines of stitching don’t overlap, you’ll probably have a hole in the seam.


To get my zip out I needed to unpick the seam at the top of my skirt, attaching the facing. So I needed to sew this back in place, having unpicked a bit further along the hand-stitching at the bottom of the facing to gain access to the seam. (This looks weird because it has interfacing under the facing.)


It’s quite difficult to tell from my photos which seam I’m talking about, so I drew some little lines to help! If your zip is in a skirt, you’ll almost certainly have to fix the seam at the top of the zip.


The last thing left was to resew the facing to the zip and along the bottom – where the pins are.



Fix It: How To Fix Holes In A Coat (or Jacket)

How-To-Fix-Holes-in-a-Coat-or-JacketI’m working on a coat refashion at the moment (the one I bought from The Fara Workshop) and when I looked closely I realised it had a few holes in it. I think they might be moth holes, but some of them could be from wear – the original hem was quite holey and falling apart. Having ‘fixed’ some of these holes, I thought I’d share the technique I found in case it was useful to anyone else.

Here is one of the holes:How-To-Fix-Holes-1
You go to the back of the fabric (obvs) and you’ll need some bondaweb and a small scrap of the same fabric (which you can cut from a seam allowance if you’re not refashioning a coat). I also lined the hole with interfacing, as I thought this might stop the hole getting worse – you can skip the interfacing step if you want to. (The part of the fabric I was fixing already had interfacing on the back, but I wanted to add more as the hole had been made through the original interfacing.)

The you put the bondaweb around the hole, getting as close to the hole as possible – my strips here are a little big to be honest! Just lay the bondaweb on and then use the steam setting of your iron, hover it over the bondaweb until it melts and then press on the piece of matching fabric, right side down – making sure you don’t burn your fingers!

The piece of fabric I cut, below, was really a bit big, especially for the weight of fabric! Also, this looks like it’s wrong side down, but the square doesn’t have interfacing on it and both sides of the fabric are pretty much the same.


Because my fabric was quite heavy, and I stupidly cut the pieces a bit big, I decided to do some little slip stitches around the edge to really make sure the patches weren’t going to fall off. I did this also because my bondaweb was pretty old and I think a little past its best!


This is what it looks like from the right side now – you can still just about make out the hole, but it’s nowhere near as obvious.


One of the sleeves was the worst for the holes and here it is after they’ve all been patched – there are 3 holes here. There’s quite a big hole in the bottom right corner, which I think it just about the limit of what you can fix with this technique – it might even be beyond the limit! It helps that this fabric is fairly dark and patterned, so the patches do manage to slightly blend in.


Do you have any tips or tricks for rejuvenating clothes that might be a little past their best?