Thursday, 3 May 2012

Make Do and Mend - Using Kick Tape

During the winter I was a great fan of Super Scrimpers.  Every Tuesday night I would be glued to the box,  recording at the same time so I wouldn't miss a minute of the programme. The post-war rationing approach to saving money really appealed to me, although in reality I am not particularly frugal.  It's just that I would like to be. However, there were many good tips, including using vinegar to cut grease on pans and cooker, using bicarb to scrub really grubby surfaces and tiles and remodelling clothes to bring them up to date, sometimes by simply shortening a skirt or dress. I have since done all of these.

kick tape
In my dreams, the team at Super Scrimpers would use me to show people how to make do and mend clothes that still have wear in them.

When I go to the USA once a year, I buy my husband's trousers.  He is big and tall and many US brands cater for men of his size.  We both like Dockers, he because they look good and me because they require practically no ironing.  I usually lug home three pairs in my extra suitcase and I can tell you, they are heavy.

frayed hem
When they get frayed at the hem, I reluctantly throw them away.  This time, I decided to mend a pair with kick tape, because they looked new apart from the frayed hem.  Kick tape is used in good men's clothing and I have noticed it in his suit trousers.  It can be found in the haberdashery section of John Lewis and other fabric shops. You will need one packet for one pair of trousers.

How to do it.

First, unpick the old hem. Then roughly hand-stitch the frayed edges together.

On the right side, pin the kick tape in place, straddling the frayed fabric.  Edge stitch both sides of the kick tape on the machine, finishing off the ends by folding them under and stitching them.

Press, then turn up the hem to include the kick tape and stitch it into place. You will only be turning up the hem a fraction so you needn't worry that the trousers will be too short.  They probably frayed because they were a bit too long in the first place.

Finally, using a damp cloth,  press the hems on the wrong side, turn the trousers right side out and
press them again with a damp cloth (to prevent the fabric going shiny). Then press the seams.
outside view

inside view
Voila.  Trousers that look like new.  Super Scrimpers I am waiting for your call.


  1. What a great idea - I have never come across this stuff before and feel that I could fix up my whole house and everything in it with this stuff. Hubby would love it too! xx

  2. hi, I found this post searching on line for trouser hem tape and how to use it. I have noticed that really high-end pants, like I pair I inherited in linen by Claude Montana, have a hem either all the way round or just in the back part. My father's tailormades also had it. I was trying to find sources because I think this might be a good strengthener to use to stop pants fraying, but also because I hate the way linen pants hems sort of get squashed at the back, and this might help... what do you think?

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  4. Hi, Great post! I, too found you during a search for kick tape. I'm in the US and I can't find it here. I could probably use twill tape or gros grain ribbon in a pinch. I first saw kick tape on this site: Do you use the original stitching line for the hem, or did it end up being a tad higher up? If you used the original first fold of the hem then I guess it's a tad higher but I can't see it in the "outside view" picture. You must have pressed them well! On the sewing diva site they show the kick tape sewn on slightly lower, peeking out 1 mm from the bottom, to protect the hem and keep it from fraying. I suppose eventually the tape will fray but then it could be replaced and the pant material would be still be in good shape. I think Francesca's idea to keep linen pant hems from getting squashed is great! Sorry for the previous deleted post. I forgot to check the "notify me" box and I couldn't figure out how to turn it on without reposting.

  5. I don't have a problem with frayed hems, but I LOVE the tip about the Super Scrimpers show and discovered that I can watch it free online in the U.S. It looks really cool--the type of show I like and perfect to watch while knitting/hand sewing. Thanks!

  6. Nancy, What network is the Super Scrimpers show on?