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
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:
- A straightforward video guide to replacing a button on a shirt.
- For those that prefer words and pictures rather than videos, here’s how to replace a button on a shirt or blouse, with step-by-step instructions and pictures to guide you at every stage.
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.
- 15 ways to mend tears in fabric. This video talks you through the many ways to fix tears in your clothes.
- How to mend rips in your clothing (video).
- How to repair a hole in a t-shirt (video).
- How to invisible mend a tweed jacket.
Fixing Your Clothes With Visible Mending
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.
- 10 basic visible mending principles to get you started. A useful video to help get you started, packed full of indispensable advice.
- Using embroidery to mend and fix your clothes. This handy blog post is packed full of inspiration for your next repair.
- How to visibly mend your clothes. A useful video that offers an insight into the history of visible mending, before showing you the art in practice.
- How to add visible mending to your wardrobe. A practical blog post outlining the materials you need as well as the stitching basics you need to know.
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 sew a patch on to anything. This fun and easy-to-follow video talks you through all the steps involved in patching your clothing.
- How to apply iron-on patches. If you would rather duck out of sewing, here’s how to apply iron-on patches for the best finish.
How To Replace A Zip
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 replace a zip using a sewing machine.
- How to replace a zip in 5 easy steps using a sewing machine (video).
- How to replace a zip using hand sewing.
- How to replace a zip by hand (video).
- How to replace a zip pull and replace zip stops. This is in case you can repair the zip rather than replace it.
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:
- How to hem anything (blog post).
- How to hem trousers by hand (video).
- How to hem trousers with a sewing machine (video).
- How to hem trousers the no-sew way (video).
- How to hem a skirt or dress by hand (video).
- How to hem a skirt or dress the no-sew way (video).
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.