This week on the Clothes & The Rest podcast I chatted to Lulu O’Connor, founder of Clothes Doctor. As a fountain of knowledge on clothes maintenance, I asked Lulu to share some of her expertise. She tells us what we can do ourselves, and what’s better left to the professionals, as well as her favourite quick fixes to save an outfit.
“If you have a needle and thread at home, absolutely, you should be able to sew on your own buttons. I feel as though, since seeing my seamstresses at work, my mind has been opened to what you can do yourself, just with a little bit of creativity. I see lots of things come into our workshop with tassels or belt loops hanging off. I probably would have done exactly the same thing two years ago and taken it to be repaired, but now I think I might actually be able to do it myself!
“Although most people’s mums might have a go at darning, our head seamstress is the most the phenomenal darner, and when I see her at work, I realise that’s something better left to the professionals. It’s a different league. There’s a real skill to matching colours and getting the tension just right. On cashmere and wool, if its quite a thick weave, she can make a hole completely disappear.
“One tip is to use a tape called hemming web, which you can just iron on if a hem is coming down and you really need to wear an item. It will last a few washes, but then it will need sewing up. If you have a needle and thread, you can do it yourself, but it’s harder to get the tiny stitches you need to pull a hem up and make it almost disappear on the other side. I think doing a hem properly is better left to the professionals, but you can use the iron on sticky strips to save an outfit in an emergency.
“We replace zips all the time, but sometimes a zip isn’t actually broken, it’s just stiff. If you take a pencil, and rub the lead up and down a zip, that can really loosen it up. Even if it feels as if its not moving at all, it may not need replacing.”
Clothes Doctor’s services are available across the UK, so if you’re interested in their services, please take a look at their website.