Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts, Ethical Fashion, Life & Style

Fixing Your Clothes: How To Repair & Mend Almost Anything

Don’t come apart at the seams when it comes to the idea of fixing your clothes. Follow these easy guides to repair and mend almost anything.

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I am a bit of a broken record, but as I’ve said before, and will say a million times again, the most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own. Prolong the life of your clothes and you not only save a vast amount of carbon emissions, water and other resources associated with the manufacture of clothing, but you also save yourself a serious amount of money.

One way to prolong the life of your clothes is to follow the laundry care labels of your clothing and to avoid over washing and tumble drying. Another way is to fix your clothes when things come a cropper.

Mending rips and tears, and replacing buttons can seem like a daunting task. However, don’t worry if you don’t know your way around a sewing kit. There are a literal ton of resources out there to help make clothing repair as easy as possible for absolute beginners.

The Ultimate Guide to Fixing Your Clothes

Ripped jeans and sewing supplies, with a blue text box that says fixing your clothes: how to repair and mend almost anything.

I’ve done all the searching for you, and found the very best resources out there to help you fix and mend the most common clothing faults that can occur. From buttons and hems, to zips and tears, it’s all here:

How To Replace A Button

Replacing a button is the ideal first step for novice repairers. Even if you can’t sew, you don’t actually need to know how to sew to replace a button on most items of clothing.

For shirts, blouses and other similar items, all you need is a needle, a pin, some thread and a pair of sharp scissors and a good tutorial.

Here are some of the best tutorials for replacing a button:

Jeans and denim jackets and shorts are a different kettle of fish when it comes to replacing buttons. Sewing is tricky because of the thickness of the fabric. Instead, ditch the sewing needle and raid your toolbox. This is because the easiest way to fix your denim clothing that is missing a button is to use a no-sew button* and a hammer!

If you need a tutorial for this then here are the most useful ones I’ve found:

  • This video guide to replacing a button on denim is incredibly straightforward.
  • This blog post on replacing buttons on jeans goes into much more detail. So if part of your button is still attached to your jeans, or the fabric is torn, it tells you how to make these fixes too.

How To Fix A Rip Or Tear On Your Clothes

If your favourite item of clothing develops a rip or gets torn or munched by moths, then don’t worry – most holes and tears can be patched up in some way or other.

Fixing Your Clothes With Visible Mending

A pair of ripped jeans fixed using visible mending techniques

If you’re looking for a more fun way to patch up rips, tears or moth holes, then why not consider visible mending?

Visible mending is the fun and creative art of mending your clothes using colourful threads and stitches that aren’t hidden from view. It turns your fix into a visible and wearable work of art to be proud of.

Technical sewing ability isn’t important when it comes to visible mending. When it comes to fixing your clothes using this technique, all you need is some creativity and the willingness to have some fun with your mending.

Need some resources to get started? Here are some of my favourites.

Patch Jeans Or Other Items of Clothing

If the idea of visible mending appeals to you, but you find the process too daunting, then another visible mend is the patch. Ideal in particular for jeans or denim jackets that develop a rip or tear, patches are a fun and easy way to fix your clothes, whilst injecting some personality into them.

You can buy patches in almost any design imaginable – my favourite place to shop for patches is Etsy*.

Once you’ve picked your patch – which is always the trickiest part – here’s how to affix it to your clothing:

How To Replace A Zip

person fixing a zip on their clothes.

I’m not going to lie. Replacing a zip is a daunting job, even for more experienced sewists. Personally, I always take clothes to a tailor for fixing when I’ve had a zip-based disaster. However, if you are feeling like you can take on anything then there are some seriously useful resources out there that will teach you how to replace a zip.

I’m gearing myself up to fix a dress of mine with a bust zip. This is what I’ve been watching and reading, and found seriously useful.

How To Hem Trousers or Skirts

If you’ve found the perfect pair of trousers or dress or skirt, but it’s just too long, then you can take up the hem to make them shorter. There are a variety of different methods to hem your clothing – whether it’s by hand sewing, by sewing machine or the no-sew way using fabric bonding tape*. Here are the full how-to’s, whatever your desired technique:

No-Sew Ideas

If sewing isn’t your thing at all, then you can still fix and/or upcycle your clothes with no-sew techniques. Here are ten easy no-sew ways to upcycle clothes for beginners to start you off.

I’ve tried to cover the most common clothing woes, so hopefully, this is enough to get going with! As always, I’m constantly on the lookout for new tutorials to add to this guide so do come back to this post later if you’re looking for more tips or ideas to repair and mend your clothes.

Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

Upcycle Clothes: 11 Easy No-Sew Ideas For Beginners


Don’t sew but want to upcycle your old clothes? Here are 11 easy no-sew upcycling ideas that are perfect for beginners.

I like crafting as much as the next person. However, I’m the first to admit that my sewing machine skills and needlework leave a lot to be desired!  I’m not as nimble as I’d like to be with a needle and thread. And I don’t know my way around a sewing machine that well. But what I’m really into is upcycling clothes, to give them a new life and keep them out of landfill.

For a start, it’s because I’m pretty frugal, and I want to get the most bang for my buck when I’ve spent money on an item. You bet I’m going to want to wear it until it’s no longer wearable!

Another big part of the reason for wearing our clothes as much as possible is that the fast fashion industry is a massive environmental problem.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated that the fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year. They have also estimated that the fashion industry uses around a staggering 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. Meanwhile, concerns have been rising about pollution from chemical waste – originating from the dyes used in clothing manufacture – to microplastics.

One of the most radical and impactful environmental acts we can therefore do is extend the life of our existing clothes, by wearing them longer, and upcycling and fixing our clothes when we need to.

No-Sew Ideas For Beginners To Upcycle Old Clothes

Person upcycling jeans with blue text box that reads upcycle clothes with 11 easy no-sew ideas for beginners.

To help get you started repurposing your wardrobe, I’ve got eleven clever no-sew ideas for you to upcycle your old clothes. Click on the links to be taken to the full tutorials.

Upcycle Clothes With Lace

upcycle clothes with this clever no sew dress diy

Got a stain that you can’t get out? A little rip that you can’t sew. Upcycle your clothes by covering them with lace! All you need is some lace, some fabric glue and some fabric scissors. No needle and thread are required.

This no-sew lace dress from Pretty Life Anonymous is just beautiful.  I’m looking forward to giving this a go!

No-Sew DIY Elbow Patches 

no sew elbow patch clothing diy

These no-sew elbow patches from the ladies at Honestly WTF are brilliant. Such a great way for a crafting novice to add an individual touch to their clothing, don’t you think? I also think it would be a clever way to mend an elbow hole.

They cleverly use cookie cutters to get the perfect shape, and use a technique called needle-felting. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Wendy, you said this post was about things you didn’t need to sew”. Needle-felting isn’t about sewing. It’s about stabbing fabric with a needle. Sounds pretty fun to me!

no sew ladies clothing diy

As well as hearts, you could use any cookie cutter shape – from classic ovals to stars and anything else that catches your fancy.

It would be a great way to cover up any holes on your favourite cardigan or jumper and to personalise baby tops and vests for a special gift.  I’m thinking dinosaur cookie cutters for this!  

Upcycle Clothes With A DIY T-Shirt Pocket

upcycle clothes with this no sew pocket t-shirt diy

This cute no-sew pocket DIY from Oh The Lovely Things is a great way to bring new life into an old or plain top or to cover up a stain or hole.  I plan on doing this very soon on a stained top that I couldn’t get the stain out of (not even with my best natural stain remover techniques) so that I can save it from landfill.

Scalloped Shorts Upcycling Project

diy no sew scalloped shorts

This DIY for no-sew scalloped shorts from Making Nice In The Midwest is a great and easy way to upcycle some old clothes. This technique would be great for trousers or shorts that you no longer like, or to upcycle trousers that have irreparable tears in the knees.  Although it initially looks complicated, to get the perfect scallops it turns out that all you need is a lid from a jar – no sewing required!

best no-sew clothing diys


Paint With Bleach

bleach painting easy clothing no-sew diy

I love this idea for upcycling clothes by painting a top with bleach from the crafty lot at A Beautiful Mess.  So striking, yet so simple!  This is such a great way to upcycle a plain top that you no longer like, or to disguise a bleach stain on a dark item of clothing.

DIY No Sew Stud Buttons

no-sew diy shirt button tutorial

This is one of the easiest DIYs ever, from Collective Gen.  All you need is a shirt and some studs and you’re good to go.  It’s a great way to upcycle a plain shirt. Also when you’ve annoyingly lost a button and can’t find one to match the others. Just cover them up with studs!

Upcycle Clothes With Potatoes

upcycle clothes with this stamped top diy

Kate at See Kate Sew stamped this cute cat t-shirt using potatoes!  Upcycling clothes with potato prints must surely be the ultimate easy way to update your wardrobe! This technique also works really well if you want to cover a stain that you can’t get out.

Jazz Up Basics

no sew top

It turns out there are lots of crafty Kate’s out there. This no-sew DIY lace insert top is by Kate of Mr. Kate! All you need is some iron-on hem tape, an iron and some clever scissor work. This technique would work well if you had a hole that was difficult to mend – just make a feature of it!

Upcycle Clothes With Embellished Flowers

no sew flower embellishment

This embellished flower DIY from Jessie Daye is for kid’s clothing but would look beautiful on an adult’s cardigan or jumper too. This technique to upcycle clothes is such a great way to disguise any holes in your knitwear – be it from moths or just general wear and tear.

Fabric Dye

ombre diy clothes upcycling ideas

This ombre t-shirt from I Spy DIY is a really great way to revitalise an old plain top that you no longer wear. The link is no longer available, so try this tutorial instead.

The thing I love best about these upcycling techniques is that they are such effective and relatively simple ways to breathe new life into old clothes, without needing to have too much technical knowledge or professional skills.  Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at crafty DIYs on Pinterest, but the no-sew ideas always seem the most relatable and achievable to me!

Will you upcycle clothes using any of these techniques?  Do share how you get on!