How to fix your clothes: best online tutorials for sewing buttons and patching holes

There's no better time to teach ourselves these basic sewing skills

How to fix clothes at home best online tutorials for sewing buttons and patching holes mending
Many of us have lost the skills for taking care of the clothes we have Credit: Getty Images

With many of us now staying in more than we ever have before, there has never been a better time to finally get round to reviving forgotten skills or learning completely new ones.  

To begin with, how about a little “make do and mend”? Many of us have never learnt to alter or repair our own clothes, thanks to the low cost and availability of fast fashion - and being time poor. I’m as guilty as anyone else - despite instruction as a child from my grandmother, I’ve forgotten everything she taught me. 

But now is a great time to teach ourselves. The internet is full of tutorials from people showing us how to do everything from threading a needle to salvaging moth-eaten knits. In most cases, no sewing machine is required either. After much trawling through YouTube, these are the most useful I’ve found...

How to replace a button

This is the fashion equivalent of Delia teaching us to boil an egg - it’ll become the foundation of your ‘make do and mend’ skill set. Wilson Oryema talks you through everything from how much cotton to use, to how to thread a needle. The vibrant thread makes it easy to follow along as he sews, and it shows us it’s ok to experiment with contrasting colours too.

How to hem a skirt or trousers

Who better to show you how to take up a garment than a tailor? Here, Michael talks viewers through the precise measurements and prep required, to ironing and tacking the new hem into place, to finally stitching it with a machine. He makes it look like easy work, though the result is neat and professional.

How to patch a pair of jeans

Levi’s has its own masterclass in how to patch a pair of jeans, whether it’s for practical reasons or aesthetic ones, and this tutorial from the brand's master tailor considers viewers both with and without a sewing machine. I’ve patched black jeans with black fabric in the past, but am very tempted to recreate an example in the video featuring a patch with multicoloured stripes. 

How to repair a moth hole in cashmere

This is a simple tutorial for repairing small moth holes, with which anyone who has owned a cashmere jumper or two will be familiar. The presenter's sensible advice includes pointers on finding the closest possible colour match in your thread, and not pulling at the jumper too hard when you're stitching the delicate yarn. 

How to darn a worn sock

Socks get a lot of wear, and the heels and soles are the first areas to thin, while toes, no matter how well reinforced, easily get holes. Darning these is more complex than I'd imagined, but manageable for a novice all the same. This video shows you how to make the sock easier to work by putting a ball inside the sock, and features two different, effective methods; darning and the ladder stitch.