As a rule we take things for granted. We wear clothes everyday (a good thing for some of us), when we need new ones we go and buy them. But if you were in a situation where there where no stores, what would you do? I always claim little fairies come while the family sleeps and takes care of us. Well, that is not the case, so we have to think of the things we will need in an emergency. Life is full of uncertainties, so let’s get with the program.
Have you thought of sewing items and material to make or repair clothes? I have been sewing since high school. Not well, but the clothes stay sewn and don’t look to bad. I am making a list of some things you would need. With no electricity what would you use? I have two peddle sewing machines that will be handy to use, but make sure you have extra belts for the machine to operate and needles that fit, plus 3 in one oil (Or any machine oil).
- Buttons: lots of different sizes and shapes (I have a tackle box full & then some,
- Thread: you do not need many colors, black, white, dark blue, but a lot of it.
- Straight pins:
- Measuring tape: can be either cloth or metal.
- Materials for making and repairing all types of clothing. Different weights and types of materials depending on the climate where you live.
- Patterns: your choice of patterns will depend upon your families, size, age and sex
- Scissors: two pair, small and a large heavy weight one. I recommend spares for both.
- Needles for hand sewing.
- Needles for machine sewing.
- I stock jean and canvas cloth, so I have heavy duty needles also.
- Some paper to make patterns, you can use plain or newspaper
- Seam bindings
There are so many items that we can pack in a box, for instance, do you make quilts, crochet, needle point, knitting and etc. Don’t forget you will need thread to darn socks.
If you do not have any experience sewing you may want to start practicing now and maybe even take a few night classes.
10 thoughts on “Sewing and Clothing Repair”
Do you have a source for replacement belts for most all brands of Treadle machines?
I have not made a purchase from them myself, but others have said they are good. https://www.sewingmachineshop.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.list&CategoryID=5829
I’ve been sewing for decades and recently decided to check our local library for books on sewing and repairing clothes. There are decidedly few books on beginning sewing and none, that I could find, on repairing clothes. I remember many books in the 70s & 80s on remaking, repairing, repurposing clothes. Luckily, I know how to do these things. There are many good blogs & websites for sewing & repairing but they would be useless without electricity.
I highly recommend that, if you don’t know how to sew, you learn. Start with something simple like a pillowcase, then to a skirt with an elastic casing and so on. Each garment should teach you something new.
Darning eggs are hard to find, but an old-fashioned incandescent light bulb makes a good substitute. Learn how to repair a zipper, there are kits available.
For supplies don’t forget to look at yard sale clothes and ‘by the bag’ sales at Goodwill or thrift shops. Often rummage sales at churches and senior centers are a great source for sewing accessories, yarn, knitting needles & crochet hooks. I recently bought 2 large plastic bags full of yarn for $2 – enough for at least 5 afghans. Sheets are a good source of yardage – I know there are instructions for making a fitted sheet from a flat sheet and a simple quilt from a fitted sheet on the web. Used clothes are also a good source of buttons and zippers. Old ties can be used for belts, braided for purse handles, etc.
Old t-shirts without side seams can be cut into a continuous strip to knit/crochet with; and myrecycledbags.com has instructions for using plastic bags & tapes from cassettes as a knitting/crochet medium. Don’t forget about wool clothes or blankets that are no longer wearable to be used for braided rugs – same for heavy weight cottons.
Sorry this is so long, but I feel it is extremely important as the cost of everything is increasing on a seemingly daily basis. So anything we can do ourselves will pay off in the long run.
I enjoy your comments, we can’t think or know everything and we always appreciate your information. Make them as long as you want. We have learned a lot from reader comments.
Darning egg?? And what weight and type of yarn do I buy for darning socks? Nothing I’ve seen in stores seems right. Note that I live in the desert, rarely wear wool, all my socks are cotton (or synthetic blend will have to check). Is there cotton yarn/thread appropriate for socks? Finally, can someone recommend instructions for darning socks?
A darning egg is an oval shaped item with a handle that is inserted into the sock, & will make the sock conform to the proper shape while it is darned.
There are quite a few tutorials on YouTube for darning socks. Basically, you stitch around the hole then weave thread to cover the hole. Of course, the smaller the hole, the easier to darn and more comfortable it will be to wear.
For Cotton socks I’d look at crochet thread – it comes in various weights and can be found in 100% cotton and blends. Be sure to buy something soft – it’ll make a big difference.
i own several sewing machines, but my favorite is the old treadle sewing machine…belts for these machines can be ordered from “lehmans” of ohio…or you can use leather bootstraps or even old panty hose. generic machine needles should fit but it is wise to try different kinds and brands then stock up on the ones that work best. the machine oil is the most important thing to have for a treadle sew machine-oiling should be performed every time you use the machine. in prepping save all old blankets, bedsheets, old clothing/sweaters, old buttons, old zippers etc….all of these can be recycled/repaired/used if needed. save old linens, table cloths etc… small holes and rips can be fixed/darned/rewoven quite easily. if you need books go to fabric stores/book stores and check out what is available..these days, the library is a poor choice. another good source for books and information will be estate sales and flea markets. if a person is an accomplished seamstress/tailor it is a very wise decision to purchase fabrics in three to six yard lengths for future projects and fabrics that are 100% cotton are good choices. storage of fabric items, blankets/quilts/linens etc… should be in cotton sacks/pillowcases NO PLASTIC bags..
Great Post, sewing and repair is always important, coming from an ole Platoon Sergeant who didnt always have resources at the ready.
I even keep the peel and stick temporary camo patches in my BOB. I also can sew (though it’s ugly) with fish hooks and line or 550 cord strings or even the thread from yucca plant leaves.
When you buy extra thread for future use, always store it away from sunlight. Sunlight will deteriorate the strength of the thread, and in time (usually a long time) make it completely unusable. This is especially true of invisible thread and fishing line types of thread.
Our grandmothers knew this, that is why they had little boxes, drawers, or tins that they stored their buttons, thread, embroidery floss, and other “busy work” items in. They did this to help keep them usable as well as handy.
Beautiful! I just bought a vintage sewing cabinet – looking for some refinish ideas, thanks for sharing