Six simple clothing fixes you can do yourself to save money

Clothes can undergo a lot of wear and tear, especially your favourite pieces worn day in and day out. Inevitably, garments will start to show signs of age. But just because a button falls off or stitches come undone, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your beloved item. Here are six simple clothing fixes you can do at home to save money.

Clothing fix: cover holes with patches

Distressed denim may now be in fashion but a hole or rip in your clothing presents a unique opportunity for personalisation. You can patch holes using appliqués, a variety of which can be found online. They range from plain to intricately colourful and are available in various shapes and sizes.

To attach an appliqué, simply pin it over the hole and then hand stitch the edges in place using ordinary sewing thread (don’t forget to remove the pins afterwards). For a more decorative touch, you can opt for a thicker darning thread, making the stitching itself a stylish feature. If you’re not comfortable with sewing on an appliqué, there are also a plethora of iron-on patches readily available for a hassle-free solution.

Clothing fix: replace buttons

Reattaching a loose button is simple. All you need for this quick fix is a needle and thread, typically found in your basic sewing kit.

Starting with a looped knot can help ensure a neat finish and avoid stray threads. Begin by cutting a length of thread, folding it in half, and threading both ends through the eye of the needle, leaving about 10cm hanging. The first stitch is made from the back to the front of the garment and then back through again, pulling the needle through the loop of thread to secure it. It’s recommended to use approximately four loops of stitching through each buttonhole, or you can match the appearance of the other buttons on your garment for a consistent look.

Get into the habit of reattaching a button as soon as it begins to loosen to prevent it from falling off completely. This way, you won’t have to search through your collection to find a suitable replacement for a lost button.

Clothing fix: remove pilling and bobbles

Knitted and jersey garments often develop unsightly fibre bobbles on the surface, making them appear worn out. To breathe new life into these items, consider giving them a quick haircut. While a basic fabric comb can effectively remove the bobbles, using a more robust fabric comb or an electric de-piller will be more effective and quicker.

Start by laying your garment flat and gently combing it in one direction to remove the fuzz, taking care to avoid the seams. If you have invested in an electric de-piller, read the instructions to ensure proper use.

It’s essential to take it slowly and work in proper lighting to avoid accidentally cutting the fabric. Taking five minutes to de-pill a garment will leave it looking refreshed and ready to take on another season.

Clothing fix: fix falling hems

If the hem of a skirt, dress or pair of trousers starts to unravel, work quickly to prevent further damage.

If the unravelling is limited to a few centimetres of thread, DIY repair is an excellent strategy to prevent further damage. It’s essential to choose a thread that closely matches the fabric, or opt for a slightly darker shade if necessary, as it will be less noticeable than a lighter thread. Be sure to follow the existing stitch line.

When sewing by hand, using shorter stitches closely sewn close together is the safest way to prevent unravelling and damage during washing.

Clothing fix: eliminate stubborn odours

Spirits serve a purpose beyond happy hour, they can also come to the rescue when dealing with unpleasant odours in clothing. Mix together equal parts vodka and water in a spray bottle, start with 1/4 cup of each and you can add more if needed.

Gently mist the mixture all over the garment then leave it in the sun to dry. If it’s still a bit smelly, repeat the process. In essence, this technique effectively eliminates unpleasant odours, leaving your clothing smelling fresh and clean. It’s far more effective than trying to get rid of the smells in your washing machine.

Clothing fix: rethread drawstrings

If you find yourself in a situation where the drawstring on a pair of trousers or joggers has slipped out of the waistband channel, don’t worry, there’s a straightforward solution.

To get it back in place, start by attaching a safety pin to one end of the drawstring; make sure it’s narrow enough to fit through the channel but not so tiny it will get lost. Then, insert the safety-pinned end of the string into one end of the channel and inch the fabric along the pin. Occasionally distribute the gathers along the string until you can successfully pull the pin out from the other side. Ensure the material is evenly distributed along the drawstring.

Do you try to mend or fix your clothes before replacing them? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Upcycling your clothes for sustainable savings

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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