Quick clothing fixes: how to mend your own clothes

Becca Donaldson ·
Mend Own Clothes

With the cost of living continuing to rise, many fashion fans are getting creative and mending their own clothes to save money and still look stylish. 

Saving money is not the only benefit of mending clothes, as it’s more sustainable to mend holes in clothes than replace them. Besides, there’s a lot of fun and satisfaction to be found by channelling your great-grandmother’s spirit and learning to Make Do and Mend!

If you’d like to learn how to mend clothes, but don’t know how to get started, then read on – all you need is a needle and thread and a little patience! Iif you don’t fancy getting handy with a sewing machine, we’ve even got a top tip on how to mend clothes without sewing.

How to repair a hem by hand

The stitching on hems coming undone is one of the most common garment mishaps – but it’s extremely easy to mend a hem with just a few pins, a needle, and thread. So, don’t ditch the item and don’t wonder when you’ll find the time to take it to the menders! Most hems can be repaired without the need for a sewing machine in just a few simple steps.

  1. Double-thread your needle with a thread that closely matches the colour of your fabric.
  2. Fold and pin the hem on the inside of your garment to keep the line straight while you are sewing.
  3. Use a blanket stitch to secure the hem and provide some stretch and flexibility.
  4. Iron the hem to press the crease into place and turn the garment the right way round.

Not confident with a needle? Don’t worry – there’s a ‘no-sew hack’ that we can share with you. Hemming tape is a wonderful little invention that secures a hem with a thin, double-sided strip of heat-activated tape. 

Simply place the tape under the turn-up of the hem and iron into place – and hey presto – your hem will look as good as new. We find it doesn’t last forever, so you may need to do it more than once for your favourite items.

How to mend holes in clothes

There is nothing more frustrating than discovering a hole in your favourite knitwear or most comfortable pair of jeans – whether the moths have been at it, or an item has snagged in the wash or while being worn, your heart sinks when you spy a hole. But with a little know-how, your go-to-garments can be given a new lease of life.

Denim is easy to repair, and all you’ll need is a scrap of denim and thread that matches the colour of your jeans:

  1. Turn your jeans inside out and place the denim patch over the hole with a 2cm overlap to completely cover the tear. 
  2. Stitch back and forth in vertical lines over the patch to secure the denim.
  3. Ensure you stitch over any frayed edges and trim back any loose threads to make the repair look neat and tidy.

For holes in woollen garments, darning is an effective way of mending a tear in clothing. It’s a technique that has been used for generations – and here’s how to do it:

  1. Thread your needle with matching yarn.
  2. Turn your garment inside out – always work on the side of your clothing that is not visible.
  3. Stitch across the tear in one direction by inserting the needle roughly 1 cm before the hole and the same distance beyond the hole.
  4. Don’t be tempted to tighten the stitches otherwise the fabric will snag or pucker.
  5. Complete the darn by weaving through the stitches to create a ‘woven net’ and securing the finished repair with a knot in the thread.

Darning is a quick and easy way to mend torn clothes, but the results can be visible, so it’s best applied in areas of clothing that are not on show.

If you want to know how to mend torn clothes without the repair looking obvious, then there is a technique known as ‘invisible mending’.

Invisible mending is an art perfected by tailors and seamstresses – and when correctly done the rip or tear is not distinguishable from the rest of the fabric. If your garment has sentimental value or you are not a confident seamstress, then it’s best to leave invisible repairs to the professionals who understand the wefts and weaves required to make the repair appear flawless.  

Learn the techniques online

Keen to learn the basics of mending clothes? There are plenty of YouTube tutorials to help you master a needle and thread. That way you can learn the techniques as you need them and in the comfort of your own home. Check out these popular sewing channels to get started:

Why is mending clothes important?

Reports have shown that we are wearing our clothes less than ever before; with the average number of times we wear an item decreasing by 36% over the last 20 years. It’s worryingly wasteful, before we consider that we could be throwing out our favourite items.

However, the slow fashion movement is fighting back against the throw-away clothing culture and repairing clothes is a fantastic way to support a more sustainable wardrobe.

Times are changing, and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. Even mainstream TV shows such as Love Island are promoting sustainable fashion by only allowing this year’s contestants access to a wardrobe of pre-loved clothing. 

Build your sustainable wardrobe by visiting our Reliked store and shopping preloved clothing from our influencers and celebrities – and brush up on some basic sewing techniques to keep the clothes you already own in tip-top condition. What’s not to love about making sure you can find and keep wonderful pieces?!

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