Repairing & Repurposing: A Guide To Mending Your Clothes

One of the most sustainable things you can do for your wardrobe is repairing it! Loved things last if we put in the time to mend them.

In this post I will be showing you four easy repairing techniques to keep those garments out of the landfill longer, enabling you to wear your favourite pieces for years and years to come. This places you as an essential part of the circular economy, which is so beneficial to the world we live in today.

There are a multitude of techniques you can use depending on the fabric, type of tear, and desired look of the repair. The four I will be showing you how to do today are: fastening replacement, darning, patching, and seam re-stitching.

 

Technique 1: Repairing a broken bra fastening

Tools:

– Needle

– Seam ripper

– Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Seam-rip the remaining stitches out of the seam.
  2. Thread the needle with your desired thread (I’ve used a cotton one here for added sustainability points) and pull the tail through to double the thread increasing the strength. Tie a knot at the bottom to secure it in place.
  3. Pin in place.
  4. Sew a backstitch along the edge to secure in place.

Voila!

 

Technique 2: Darning

Darning is essentially weaving new fabric over a hole in the fabric.

Tools:

– Embroidery thread or yarn

– Embroidery needle

– A darning mushroom or just anything with a flat bottom. This could be a ramekin, jar, reusable coffee cup or anything else of that description

– Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Thread your needle, ensuring it is no longer than an arm’s length of thread. Tie a knot at the bottom.
  2. Place your darning instrument under the hole in the inside of your garment. Hold it taut.
  3. Begin sewing vertical weft lines across the length of the hole.
  4. Weave the needle in and out of the weft thread, alternating the order on each line. This should be in a crosshatch pattern.
  5. Tie the thread off and voila! The hole is repaired.

If you wish to reinforce jeans or trousers where the fabric has worn away, most commonly where the thighs rub, you can do this with a sewing machine. Very simply, reinforce the material with interfacing; sew running stitches down the length of the hole, turn your fabric around, and then sew vertical lines across it. This may require a separate post for in-depth instructions so stay tuned for that.

 

Technique 3: Seam Repair

Perhaps the easiest of jobs, this will take wardrobe saving to the next level… Repair a torn seam or adjust the fit of your garments. This will keep your favourite clothes in rotation forever and ever.

Instructions:

  1. Turn your garment inside out.
  2. Pin the seam in place, following the line of the old stitches. This should be 1/4 of an inch in from the edge of the fabric.
  3. Thread up your sewing machine and set it to a basic running stitch.
  4. Sew along the line, taking out the pins as you go along so as to not sew across them and bread a needle.

Ta-da! A wearable garment.

 

Technique 4: Patching

Now that the ripped jean trend is dying out, it’s time to inject new life into them! This is a fun quirky way to do so. If you never jumped on that trend in the first place, this is for all those holes from a well-lived life!

Tools:

– Embroidery thread

– Embroidery needle

– Pins

– Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Cut a patch out of your fabric of choice. Make this at least 1cm bigger around the outside as the hole you are repairing.
  2. Pin the patch in place on the inside of the garment.
  3. Thread the needle and tie a knot at the bottom of the thread.
  4. Start tracing the outline of the tear with a running stitch.
  5. Continue tracing the tear until you reach the edge of the patch.

Complete!

 

So now that you’ve learnt some basic repairs hopefully you can move forward with mending your wardrobe! This is excellent for the planet – keeping clothes out of the landfill, and now with a bit of time and concentration, you can save money and find a million more ways to style your favourite garments. Fashion is innately transient, style is forever. Relish keeping your faves in rotation whilst putting the planet first.

If you have any request for mending tutorials then send them to us via our Instagram – @wearthlondon