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17 Beginner Sewing Techniques That Will Make Your Clothes Last A Lifetime

The ripped jeans look is so three years ago.

Brooke Greenberg / BuzzFeed

You'll get far in life just knowing these four basic hand stitches and what they're used for.

Running stitch: The simplest, easiest stitch you can use for basic seams and quilting.

Back Stitch: Basically a much sturdier version of the running stitch.

Whip Stitch: Use this one to attach two pieces of fabric to one another.

Slip Stitch: An invisible stitch that doesn't leave thread showing — great for hems or closing the sides of a pillowcase or pouch.

1. Repair the holes in a moth-eaten sweater.

You want to use your needle to capture threads surrounding the hole, and ladder stitch across. You want to work very gently and not be too aggressive when pulling thread through.

Instructions: How to Repair a Moth-Eaten Sweater

2. You can close pretty much any hole using a technique called "darning," and you can also use it to fix a hole in your sock.

You want to stitch around the perimeter of the hole, and then across.

Instructions: How to Darn a Sock

3. Darning is also an easy way to hand-mend a hole in your jeans without having to patch it up with an extra piece of fabric.

You're basically covering the hole by weaving thread over the hole, like a spiderweb.

Instructions: How to Hand-Mend a Hole In Your Jeans

4. If a piece of clothing you own has come apart at the seams, the ladder stitch is the one hand-sewing stitch you need to know. / Via Cucicucicoo: Eco Sewing and Crafting

It's actually super easy, and pins + an iron will be crucially helpful here. The video in this tutorial is very helpful in explaining what the stitch looks like.

Instructions: How to Sew a Ladder Stitch

It's also sometimes known as a slip stitch.

5. Pockets tend to give out way sooner than your jeans do. Repair a hole in a pocket by cutting off the hole, flipping inside out, and sewing around the perimeter.

A sewing machine allows you to quickly double-stitch, but you could also do a back stitch as well.

Instructions: How to Repair a Hole in a Pocket

6. Easily repair a detached zipper by sewing the zipper teeth back onto the zipper tape.

Hand-sewing is actually preferred for this repair because you want to get super close to the zipper teeth.

Instructions: How to Repair a Detached Zipper

7. Raise a saggy neckline by putting a dart in the back. / Via @karametta

You're basically removing fabric in the back to make the neckline a little tighter. Great for too-big t-shirts that make you feel overexposed when bending down.

Instructions: How to Raise a Neckline

8. Extend the life of your baby's onesies by adding an extra piece of fabric that snaps on.

If your baby's getting too big for her favorite onesie, you can use the fabric and snaps of a too-small onesie to extend the life of another. All you need are scissors, needle, and thread — no sewing machine necessary. You can also purchase one from Etsy for $12.55.

Instructions: Extending the Life of a Onesie

9. Here's the proper way to sew a four hole button.

Here's a helpful tip: "When you sew on the button place a toothpick between the button and the fabric and then stitch. This provides a little more give for the button to get through the button holes. It works amazingly well."

Instructions: The Proper (and Secure) Way to Sew On a Button

10. Let out the hem on a pair of jeans that are too short.

All you need is a seam ripper!

Instructions: How to Let Out the Hem on a Pair of Jeans

12. If a buttonhole on your jeans tears and becomes loose, you can tighten it up using a buttonhole purl stitch.

13. If the button on your jeans falls off, you don't actually need to sew it back on — you just need a pack of dungaree buttons and a pair of vice grips.

14. Here's how to repair a fallen hem using the whip stitch.

15. Reattach a lining using the fell stitch.

The fell stitch is a sturdy hand stitch that is visible, so it's ideal for hidden places like the inside of a jacket or skirt.

16. Let out the waistband on a pair of pants by cutting slits in the sides and "patching" with a similar fabric.

Leslie Rutland /

No one will ever know the difference, but your new extended pants are best paired with an oversized or flowy top. You'll need a sewing machine for a nice, clean topstitch.

Instructions: How to Let Out the Waistband of a Pair of Pants

17. Seamlessly (no pun intended!) repair a blown-out crotch in jeans.

This tutorial does require a sewing machine, and if you're a beginner, you likely want to opt to take this pair to the tailor. But if you're up for a challenge, here's a tutorial on how to repair a blown-out crotch. You'll need a darning or embroidery needle for your sewing machine, interfacing, and thread that matches your pants.

Instructions: How to Repair Jeans with Invisible Mending

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