About the author

Nan L. Ides, an avid sewer, clothing designer and instructor, wrote Hand Mending Made Easy to show non-sewers how to mend their own clothes in a cost- and time-effective manner. Nan L. Ides comes from a family of sewers. Growing up, there was always a sewing box and sewing machine threaded and ready for use in her house. She was shocked when she became aware of how much others paid for simple mending jobs, such as replacing a button or hemming a garment.

Why did you write this book?
  • It is a wonderful solution for non-sewers to make simple repairs to garments
  • There are plenty of published sewing books, but there are no books for the non-sewer, someone who just wants to learn to mend and not suing a sewing machine.
  • This book provides steps-by-step illustrated instructions from the very basics - how to thread a needle, knot the thread, to (hand) sewing patches on pants to ironing and pressing.
  • Each chapter contains special helpful tips to make mending easier.
  • A novice needs no more than five tools to mend most garments – scissors, needle, thread, pins, a measuring tape or ruler and a marking tool
  • People spend too much money for simple mending jobs – buttons, hems, small rips – at the tailors
What can you say to people who are afraid they will ruin, rather than repair, a garment if they try to mend themselves?
It is almost impossible to ruin a garment by sewing on a button or snap. The only possibility would be if you cut something too short - and there are fixes for that, too. Practice on a garment you were going to discard anyway. Or purchase something inexpensive at a thrift shop (doesn't need to fit you) and practice or even on an inexpensive piece of fabric (you can get sale fabrics at $1.00 a yard). Or, if the pants or skirt needs to be hemmed 4 inches, practice by hemming it 2 inches - go through the whole process and then redo it at the right length.

What tools should be in a basic sewing kit and why?
Like any hobby or profession, there are probably hundreds of gadgets that can make sewing and mending easier and would be 'nice to have around'. However, everything available is not necessary in a basic mending kit. Necessary tools include: a few different sized needles, a few basic colors of thread (black, white, red, blue) straight pins, safety pins, measuring tool, a few buttons of different sizes, snaps, scissors (sharp enough not to shred the thread when cut), marking tool. You can then begin to add the extra things, such as: a needle threader, hooks and eyes, fancy buttons, thimble, seam ripper, tailors chalk, hem gauge, magnetic or wrist pin holder .... and much more. Believe it or not – almost all of these items are available at the local dollar stores!

Why do you think so many people today lack basic sewing skills?
  • Women were pushed into the college track in high school and did not take home-ec, as they did decades ago
  • Clothes are much less expensive now-a-days
  • We live in a throw-a-way society, where (we think) it's not worth fixing things
  • Mending and sewing are deemed not as important as other skills, especially in schools
  • Several generations used to live in the same household and pass down skills, such as sewing and mending; now everyone lives apart and does not have the chance to learn from our elders as we did before
Can people really save money if they learn basic mending skills?
Absolutely! Even if you are the perfect size and your garments are always the right length (which is very rare), buttons and snaps still occasionally fall off and zippers get stuck, seams rip. Sewing one hem pays for the price of the book. Think how much sewing a few hems could save? Hemming one dress yourself -not taking it to the tailors -can save more than $20.00!

What has teaching mending over the past few years taught you?
I'm not sure if it's so much what I have learned, but seeing the satisfaction that others get when they realize how easy mending can be is a wonderful feeling. It's not complicated at all and the supplies are very inexpensive. It's like opening up a whole new world to some people, a world they thought of as too complicated for them to ever learn.

When did you decide to write a book to help "non-sewers"?
During the years that I taught classes, I created instruction pages for handouts. After a while, I was copying page after page for each student; I thought having these pages in a bound format would be so much easier.

What was your best technique used to get friends and coworkers to try mending themselves?
My friends were always asking me to replace or re-sew on buttons or fix their ripped hems. I decided to change my approach; I told them that they had a choice: either pay me $10 to sew each button or I would show them how to do it themselves for free. Invariably, most chose the latter.

Besides doing repairs, why else would someone want to learn the mending skills covered in the book?
The book is a great money saver. Doing one hem yourself pays the price of the book. Also, once you learn simple mending and sewing skills, a whole new world opens up. You can buy clothes without thinking about the extra expense of a tailor; you can buy clothes that may be on sale or sold at consignment or thrift stores because a button has fallen off or a small seam is ripped.

What do you think that readers can learn from the book?
The book is for anyone who wants to save time and money. You do not have to get rid of a garment just because a button is lost or a seam torn or pay a tailor to do these easy mending fixes. Check out the local tailoring prices – see how much you save with 5 minutes of work.

Who are some of the people who will find Hand Mending Made Easy helpful?
Everyone can benefit from this book - from non-sewers to very advanced sewers who just need a reminder of the basic skills or are trying to teach others. Men, women, parents, singles, people trying to save money (who isn’t these days?), travelers, Scouts, newlyweds, students, new homeowners. Among those who have found this book helpful include: stay-at-home moms, working moms, traveling business women and men, single fathers, single women and men, college students (add the book with a basic sewing kit as a dorm/apartment must), brides (perfect shower gift with other necessities), those in the military, campers, scouts, new crafters.