Repair, don't replace!
7 Simple Clothing Fixes You Can Do
by Shaunna Privratsky
Oh, no! A button just popped off of your favorite shirt. Do you pick up the button and put it aside to fix and then find it three years later? Or maybe you put it on the pile of stuff for the dry cleaners, knowing it will cost a few extra dollars. Or do you throw up your hands and toss the shirt, deciding it is easier to buy a new one?
In our time-crunched day, it is sometimes easier to buy a new item than try to fix it, but it is always going to cost more money. With just a little know-how, you can accomplish these seven simple clothing fixes that will cost you little to no money, even if you don't sew!
- Replacing a button. If you have the button, this is really easy to fix. Thread a needle with a matching color of thread and tie a double knot at the end. Then position the button in the correct spot and come from underneath, so the knot won't show. Simply crisscross the threads in the holes about six times and then tie a knot to secure it. Find a fun, two-minute video here.
- What if you can't find the button? Many items of clothing come with extra buttons attached to the tag. Keep these buttons, and when you lose one, you can find the exact match. Also, some shirts have extra buttons sewed into the hem or collar. You can also take an extra button from the cuff or a side button that won't show.
What if you lose the button on your favorite pair of pants? An easy replacement could be at your local thrift store. Look for the same brand and then go for the cheapest pair.
- You notice the hem is loose on your skirt or pant leg. You have no sewing skills whatsoever and no time. No problem! Buy some inexpensive hem tape. You just place between the garment and hem and iron it in place. It won't show and it will stay in place even through multiple washing.
- Oh no! You snag your clothes on a nail and there is a tiny hole! This is a more difficult sewing job, but you can fix it! Look for iron-on patches or an applique that would cover the hole and look decorative. You can add more on the other side to make it look like an intentional design.
- What if you find a stain that normal washing doesn't remove? You can try a homemade paste of baking soda and Shout® or your regular detergent. Let it sit for a while and then gently rub with an old toothbrush. You can add a touch of bleach if it is white.
- What if you lose a lot of weight and your clothes don't fit anymore, but you don't want to replace your whole wardrobe? First of all, congratulations! You can take any skirt or pants down a size or two. This works best with elastic waists. Turn the garment inside out. Now sew a straight seam a few inches in from the existing seam, following the shape. You can cut off the excess fabric or leave it. Turn right-side out and your clothing will fit much better!
- If you feel you can't fix your garment, but can't bear to part with it, call your drycleaners. They often offer sewing and alterations for a set price. It will still be cheaper than buying a whole new outfit, especially those one-of-a-kind pieces.
The next time something goes wrong with your clothing, take a few minutes to fix it, instead of tossing it. Your wallet will thank you!
Reviewed January 2018
Take the Next Step:
- Make clothing last as long as possible with these 9 ways to extend the life of clothing.
- Get more frugal tips for sewing and repairing clothing by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
- Spend less time and money doing your laundry. The Dollar Stretcher Frugal Laundry Guide can help you do both.
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