From Me To You To Me

When I bought my cashmere wool in Mood, New York there were two rolls of seemingly identical fabric – but one was in a much cheaper price range. I congratulated myself on my cleverness in spotting the cheaper roll and ordered fabric accordingly.

Ahem. Now I think I know why it was cheaper!

There are a few flaws in the wool. Nothing major, but they’re there. Thankfully, the ever-reliable Sewaholic recently blogged about finding flaws in coating. Her post prevented me from snipping the snags off, but I couldn’t use her needle method of pulling the snags through to the wrong side of the fabric. They were just too fluffy and short to thread.

I decided to use a more unconventional method. I picked up a knitting needle!

Yeah, I kinda just poked the snag through the weave of the coating to the wrong side and hoped for the best. It worked! But if you are going to do the same I advise:

  • Use the finest knitting needle you own.
  • Test this method on a spare scrap of fabric first!

I’ve been sewing the coat lining . My recently purchased super-fine pins have been a godsend:

These stop your finer fabrics from being permanently marked with pin pricks. I bought these pins from Ray Stitch. Their supplies are excellent. I am now on a personal mission to request something from them that they don’t stock. ‘Aha! So you don’t have a gold plated zipper-dipper-knicker foot? Well, shame on you!’

One last tip. Maybe I’m just slow on the uptake, but I only recently learnt the trick of putting my thread snipper on a length of velvet, to wear around my neck when working. I now never have to scramble around for scissors whenever I want to snip a thread.

Alright, so there you are – lots of tips. Can someone help me now? My boyfriend keeps doing this to his work shirts:

It’s getting beyond ridiculous. These are not cheap shirts, yet he keeps tearing them. His sister’s told him he has fat elbows, but there must be another reason this keeps happening. It’s costing a fortune! Any ideas how to prevent this or what’s causing it to happen?

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36 Responses to From Me To You To Me

  1. Suzy says:

    Ahahah, my partner does the same with his work shirts. I don’t think fat elbows has anything to do with it, as he’s on the skinny side. No idea how to prevent it though, but I sympathise.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    The solution of course is for you to make him custom shirts with longer sleeves.

  3. Jane says:

    It’s his muscles Karen, the boy can’t help bursting through all his shirts like the Incredible Hulk! x

  4. Linda says:

    Might it work if you reinforced them from the inside with a fusible fabric prior to them splitting? After splitting I would do the same but add an elbow patch on both elbows in an inoffensive colour.

  5. Jane says:

    …and I’m even slower on the uptake – that thread snipper around your neck tip is genius and would never have occurred to me, duh! x

  6. Judith says:

    Is it ‘rough elbows’??? Maybe partner needs a little TLC or pampering…
    or, if he was an Aussie Bloke I would say he was resting his drinking arm on the bar a little tooooo long each day!!!!!
    Guess suede patches are out, unless this starts a new trend and he would be first in line. Curiosity does strike me, though, does this happen to cheaper shirts, or different styles ??? But sorry, no useful solution on this one…

    • Aha! I think you’ve diagnosed the problem, Judith. Too many hours spent in the pub. I must tell him this! Re cheaper shirts: expensive, cheaper, it happens to both. (Really annoying when it’s a nice, crisp, quality cotton.)

  7. Lena says:

    Regarding the shirt I also think that the sleeves are too short. He might want to wear them with cuffs unbuttoned or get shirts with longer sleeves….

  8. Shari says:

    Could you put an interior patch of fusible interfacing at the stress point?

  9. Suze says:

    That snippers-on-a-velvet ribbon is called a chatelaine. You can read all about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatelaine_(chain). I used to see very fancy ones with even fancier scissors attached back in the 80’s when counted cross stitch was in vogue. And I think you’re boyfriend needs longer sleeves on his shirts. Measure from mid-back just below the neck to the wrist and you’ve got it!

  10. I use a teeny (1.5mm) crochet hook to pull threads through on faulty fabric.

  11. Jane says:

    Maybe you could refashion the shirts into sorbettos or camis for yourself. Men’s shirting is so nice, particularly the more expensive shirts.

  12. Joy says:

    I agree with Lena. He probably needs to buy shirts with a longer sleeve length. Maybe you could run the problem by one of the clerks where he buys his shirts, and they could re-measure him or give another solution. And seriously, snag that shirt from him and make something for yourself!

  13. Sherry says:

    Yes, a good refashion opportunity!
    Maybe the back width is a bit tight too – this gets tighter when you bend the elbows and lean on the bar, whoops, I mean boardroom table! He might need to check the range of movement when he tries them on.
    If the sleeves are a bit short, maybe letting out the cuff buttons will help?
    Can’t wait to see your coat!

  14. KathleenS says:

    That used to happen to my husband’s shirts all the time but it turned out that the desks at his work had some sort of rough edge and it was happening to everyone. Since he changed jobs it doesn’t happen at all. Not the most practical solution I’m afraid.

  15. I also think the arms must be too short. Perhaps the cuffs too tight on his wrists as well, and are causing stress on the elbows when he bends his arm?

  16. You can rip this spot and leave more seam allowences and sew them again.
    You can make sleeves shorter.
    make custom shirts with wider sleeves.
    Make patches
    Make the fabric stronger from the inside – iron fusible there.
    Let him wear shirts only with jackets.
    Does this happen with his jackets too?

    Change the shirt brand, find shirts with wider sleeves.
    Let him roll sleeves to above elbows.
    Thank you for the tip with the thread snipper. The same works with a tape measure. I actually thought about making a belt or an apron with a lot of pockets so everything that I need is ON me every time.
    I’d like to have these superfine pins also!

  17. I meant leave LESS seam alowences

  18. Caro Dean says:

    Make the torn shirts into short sleeve summer shirts – never buy summer shirts again!!

  19. Felicity from Down Under says:

    It strikes me, too, as probably a fitting problem. The other option might be a new boyfriend but that’s pretty drastic! LOL

  20. jaszmade says:

    Thanks for the great idea with the velvet ribbon!! You cannot imagine how much I need this. I am ALWAYS searching my scissors/cutters… ACK!!! (and obviously even slower on the uptake… LOL!)

    As for the elbow thing… I really think the problem is the length of the shirt sleeve. It is too short for his arms as well as the cuffs are too tight. When he bend his arms the tight cuffs are always pulling on the shrt sleeve you know… that’s why they are tearing after a while. The solution is to widen the cuff (quick fix it and shift the button for a try) or asking the shirt dealer for a special size with more sleeve length – helped my (ape)man a bunch 😉

    Hope my german english was understandable and thanks again for your tips!

  21. Tilly says:

    Yep, fat elbows. You should absolutely refuse to sew these splits up, seeing as it’s not a clothing issue, it’s a fat elbow issue. Life is too short to sew for other people, remember.

    Those super fine pins look great. I like the sound of a zipper-dipper-knicker foot too – one to add to my wish list! xx

  22. Dionne says:

    Beware any lengths fabric with plastic “tags” sticking out of either end from the selvedge. It’s an indicator of quality control, either from the mill or clothing factory. and it points out faults in the fabric. It can indicate anything from a dye change, a snag, a hole, grain faults, and much more. Originally the tag, would have had a colour coded tag attached to indicate what the fault was, but the colours are usually taken off for re sale. When buying a length of fabric, a good fabric shop will examine fault indicated fabric for a visible fault, and let you see for yourself – before cutting. A brilliant fabric shop will let you have a bit of extra fabric for free. But most won’t even blink an eye.
    I once went into a fabric shop and saw a member of staff cutting them off, it made my mouth go dry and my fingers tingle.

  23. Teresa says:

    About the dress shirt. I don’t think it’s sleeve length or cuff size. The sleeve looks long enough in the picture and and cuff does not look tight. I wonder, does his dress shirts have a pleat in the back for shoulder movement?

    • That’s an extremely good point. Ian has very wide shoulders and I wonder if that’s part of the issue. The fascinating thing is that all these comments have had us analysing his shirts to death! There is no pleat room built into any of them, so I think he needs to shop elsewhere!

  24. Julia says:

    Have you ever used a snag needle? They’re great for snags on knitwear etc. The needle doesn’t have an eye, but has a rough end which tip according to the product blurb “which locks onto fabrics, pulls and draws them through to the back of the garment. Excellent tool for repairing snags in wovens, knits and upholstery etc.”

    You don’t have to have a long thread for it to work, I think mine came from John Lewis, but you can buy them at Kleins or just google snag needle. I think we orginally got one ties which always seemed to get caught on something! But they have saved many clothes which have got caught, I’d recommend one.

    Julia

  25. This being Ian I expect he’s actually climbing trees on the way back from work 😉

  26. Silvia says:

    Oh grr! I hope they sold the fabric with a note on the tag of “as is” or some such. Otherwise that’s not fair.

    Maybe you can find men’s dress shirts with a hint of lycra in the cotton so they have more give and less “rip”. You’ll have plenty of nice cotton for quilting if you decide to take that up!

  27. MrsC says:

    Yup, if Ian crooked his elbows (like he’s about to give you a hug and got frozen, and you measure from wrist, across his back and to the other wrist, that’s the key measurement here. So, either longer sleeves, and or a looser fit in the back, will increase the ease. I suggest you try http://www.tmlewin.co.uk/ who may have an actual shop in London too. Although I’m sure that getting shirts in London of different fits is a doddle compared to here! 🙂

  28. Thank you all so much for this feedback! Really helpful.

  29. I hate to recommend anything so gauche, but why not try some iron on patches inside the shirt. You can make your own from soft and somewhat fine cotton so the ridges don’t show through. Fusible web and voila!

  30. Roselover says:

    Hi there,
    I just discovered your blog while looking for info on pick stitching for my gertie bombshell dress. I am hoping to have I t done in time to wear for Xmas but it will be tight. Anyway, saw your post about the tracing marks and wanted to let you know that a stick of sard wonder soap applied to the marks and left for a day or two and then washed off will remove them. Although I also kind of like the atmosphere of them… I saw gertie had some on her finished dress during the course.

    Sorry if I am breaching ettiquette by replying to the wrong post but I wasn’t sure whether comments to old posts registered. Looking forward to following you in the future.

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