Maggie Pa from Beyond the Label happily wearing a pair of pants that she got from Swap Society and had tailored to fit perfectly.
As a follow-up to our post about How to Properly Care for Your Clothes, we at Swap Society thought we would bring you tips to keep your clothing cared for. Now that you are an expert at washing garments correctly, it’s time to mend to last a lifetime! While there are many types of clothing items, and issues that can arise with each one, the three most common are: loose buttons, ripped fabric, and ill-fitting pieces. From simplest, to most difficult, below are tips to tackle all three!
Whether it’s a loose button, or one that has completely fallen off, it’s common for these closures to need a little assistance after many wears. Most of the time brands will purposely sew an extra button to the inside of your shirt or jacket for times like this. Others will attach a small plastic bag to the tag with an extra button inside. It admittedly took me a long time to understand the importance of these and would throw away the extra button upon wearing an item. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.
However, if you’re like me and have thrown the backup away, or the brand didn’t attach one, there’s still hope! Take a quick trip to your local craft or bead store with you clothing piece and find a match. Don’t have one of these stores close by? Check out shops on Etsy, or a nearby fashion district (like the one Downtown, Los Angeles)!
Once you’ve secured your new button, it’s time to grab a needle and thread to finish the job. Sewing on buttons can be daunting but it’s far easier than it looks. Once you get the hang of it you will want to fix every loose button you can find. Follow these simple guides on Pinterest, blogs, and craft sites to get you going.
There are a few different types of snags that can occur on your clothing: moth holes, rips from an accident, tears from wear, and seam openings due to excessive washing or weak fabric. In addition, the mending depends on what type of garment it is and what fabric it’s made out of. These kinds of clothing issues may need to be remedied by a tailor or seamstress, but I encourage you to try it out yourself first! Stretch fabrics such as spandex, and heavy fabrics like leather will be harder to mend. Oppositely, sturdy, yet light, fabrics like cotton and linen will be easier to repair.
You can find ways to sew up holes with thorough written guides or youtube tutorial videos that will walk you through each step. If you feel like the tear is too great or in a difficult place to fix discreetly, it’s time to upcycle! Patches, pins, complementary colors, ties, and more can spice up a bad situation. Find inspiration on, you guessed it, Pinterest. The point is that you don’t need to be discouraged when your favorite top gets a rip in it, these things can be fixed!
Being 5 foot 2 has kept me very familiar with hemming clothes. Almost every single pair of pants I own is either rolled at the bottom or hemmed to fit me. However, shortening garments isn’t only for pants– you can hem shirts, dresses, skirts etc. Getting clothes to fit you correctly is an important way to keep them in your wardrobe for a long time. It makes a world of a difference to have pieces which are the right size and shape for you.
Just like mending holes, this one can be done at home, although it is more advanced than the others. Again, depending on fabric and garment, there are a few routes you could take to altering your piece! There are great explanations online that can show you how to make your clothing items your own.
On the other hand, there are so many talented tailors that are reasonably priced and ready to make your clothing dreams come true! You might even have a friend who’s a secret master seamstress or find stores that do complimentary hemming. You don’t have to drown in your clothing! By taking a little time and effort, you can feel good in what you wear.
Mending can often feel like more work than it’s worth, nevertheless, setting aside some time can greatly increase the lifespan of your wardrobe. Block out a few hours, grab some friends, gather snacks, and have a fix-it party! The planet and your pocket will thank you.
Audrey Stanton was born and raised in the Bay Area and is currently based in Los Angeles. She has attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, London College of Fashion, and received a BFA in costume design from the California Institute of the Arts. Audrey is deeply passionate about conscious fashion and hopes to continue to spread awareness and love for ethical consumption. Visit her blog audstant.com and follow her on Instagram for lots of #slowfashion inspiration!