We outdoorsy folk tend to get a lot of use out of our fleece garments, so it goes without saying that they’re subjected to quite a bit of wear and tear. Regardless of whether your favourite fleece has burn holes in it from those nights by the campfire or is just beginning to show signs after years of wear, worry not. There’s plenty of life in it still! In the following, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to make minor repairs to your fleece and broken zips. Plus, as a little extra, I’ll let you in on a secret of how to make your garment look as good as the day you bought it, even after years of use! So, keep reading – it’s worth it!
So, you have a burn hole in your fleece – what now?
It happens so fast, doesn’t it? There you are sitting by the campfire, and all of the sudden sparks fly your way and burn your fleece or your mate accidently burns a hole in your jacket with his cigarette. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, warm and cuddly fleece fabric is usually made of a type of polyester, so it is particularly sensitive when it comes to burns. The worse thing about burn holes is not that they look bad (because they do) – but depending on the size, they can also have very negative effects on the functionality of the garment and even expand with time, making everything worse. What to do, what to do.
Luckily, smaller holes can be closed back up by using fabric glue. But, before doing so, be sure to remove any singed fibres with a pair of scissors. Then, turn the garment inside out and glue the hole shut. Let it dry and, hopefully, you won’t be able to see the burn hole anymore. In an emergency, you can also use a less aggressive kind of superglue. The important thing here is to make sure the glue doesn’t contain any solvents, which could damage the synthetic fibres or elastane – if there is any – in the fabric.
Unfortunately, if you’re dealing with bigger holes, this method won’t work. So, try to remember any handyman skills you’ve acquired over the years and darn that darn hole. You can do this more or less professionally, depending on how motivated you are. If you want it done right, you’ll need a needle, a darning mushroom and darning yarn in the appropriate colour. A darning mushroom? Yes, indeed! It’s just a tool shaped like a mushroom that keeps the hole open so that you can mend it. Since a darning mushroom is not something you’ll find in everyone’s household, you can use a coffee cup, an empty yoghurt cup or a can of ravioli instead. The important thing is that the substitute for your darning mushroom have a slightly curved surface. Lay the part of fleece you need to mend over your darning device so as to keep the hole open. And, get to work! Darning a hole means to weave thread or yarn across the hole. And, if you want to do it correctly, you need time. Weave your needle in a straight line in and out of the fabric. After your first pass, turn the needle in the other direction and repeat next to the first line you did. After you’ve covered the hole with stitches in one direction, you have to weave through these to form a net. The more precise you work, the better the result will be! Because a darning session can take up your entire evening, I recommend pouring yourself a glass of wine and watching something on Netflix.
Very large holes
For larger holes, the only thing you can do is use those good ol’ fabric repair patches. These are available in sewn-on or iron-on versions. But, be careful if you opt for the latter. As we’ve already established, fleece is relatively sensitive to heat, so there are a few things you should keep in mind. If you use iron-on patches, be sure to set the iron to the lowest setting and don’t let the iron come in direct contact with the fleece. Put a cotton cloth between the patch and the iron instead. Do not apply too much pressure, as you could damage the pile. If you have a functional fleece garment, such as Windstopper fleece, there are special patches you can use. By the way, the patching method can be used for other kinds of holes as well. It’s not just for burn holes.
What to do when a zip quits on you
When a zip calls it quits, refuses to close or keeps getting stuck, you may feel it’s time to stop using the garment altogether. After all, what do you want with a jacket that won’t close? Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to fix it, so don’t toss it yet!
If the zip is stuck, the culprit is usually a bit of fabric or lint caught in the zip. If that’s the case, try to pluck it out and tug down on the zip in one fell swoop. Sometimes a pencil can help, too. Yeah, that’s right! A pencil! Graphite acts as a kind of lubricant, so it should get your zip unstuck. Start by rubbing a sharpened pencil tip up and down the teeth of the zip. This should remove any dirt or whatever else is caught in there and allow the zip to slide over the teeth more smoothly.
Another reason for a defective zip could be that the teeth will no longer close. To test this, zip your jacket open and closed and see where the teeth no longer come together. If one or several teeth are bent, you can try gently bending them back into place with a pair of small pliers . The slider can also be the culprit. With time, the slider, which is supposed to form the connection between the teeth, can get bent as well. This will prevent the zip from closing properly. A pair of pliers can help here, too: squeeze the slider together, see how it closes and repeat, if necessary. If the slider is broken and has to be replaced or individual teeth are missing, the whole thing gets a lot more complicated. The best thing to do in such situations is to consult an expert, such as a cobbler or tailor. They’ll fix the zip for you for very little money and can even replace it, if necessary.
Whip your fleece back into shape
Pilling or little balls of lint can build up on the surface of your fleece over time, which will not only make it look rather ugly and old, but it will feel that way as well. That soft, fluffy fleece you once knew will be long gone before you know it. True, pilling can be prevented if you carefully wash your garment, but sooner or later almost every fleece will fall victim to pilling. Fortunately, once your fleece does begin to pill, there are ways to remove the irritating little fuzz balls.
One thing you can do is use a lint remover or a lint brush on the garment. This will help to loosen up the knots and remove any dust or little hairs from the fabric. Another way of going about this is to use a fabric shaver. Available at just about any fabric or department store, these work much in the same way as electric razors, cutting off those pesky fuzz balls whilst not causing any damage to the surface of the fabric.
Not bad, right? Once you’ve patched up those burn holes, bent your zip back into place, removed pilling and replaced any missing buttons, your fleece jacket or jumper will look (almost) brand new!