It’s SEW Easy: How to Make You & Your Clothes Feel Brand New
Ever had a button pop off your blouse in the middle of a date? Yep, wardrobe malfunctions happen to everyone. While it’s tempting to throw worn clothes away and get something new, we need to put more value in what we wear.
Taking care of our clothes is essential to taking care of ourselves and the earth. As we all know, doing all we can to extend the life of our clothes is 100% worth it. A little TLC and a handy sewing kit goes a long way. Plus, it just feels sooo good to do it yourself!
From how to get rid of pilling to transforming last year’s clothes, read on for super handy beginner’s tips for how to upcycle your clothes to make them feel brand new.
1. Sew Long, Loose Buttons
A single missing button could push your favorite shirt to the very back of the closet. Bring your favorite styles back to the front by mastering this simple sewing technique. You’ll need: Scissors, a matching button (or not, your choice!), a needle, and thread.
Step 1: Mark the Spot
Use a pin or washable fabric pen to mark where the button will go. A simple ‘X’ will do. Use a ruler to make sure it’s exactly where you want it to be!
Step 2: Thread the Needle
Cut about 24 inches of thread and thread the needle. Pull the thread through until it’s equal length on both sides, and knot the ends.
Step 3: Push the Needle Through the Back
Flip over the fabric and push the needle through the marked spot until you feel the knot is pulled firmly against the fabric.
Step 4: Fasten the Button
Take your needle through any of the buttonholes and bring it down the hole that sits across. Repeat 2-3 times, and do the same for the remaining two buttonholes.
Step 5: Create a Shank (Optional)
For garments of thicker material (like a coat or jacket), you’ll want to create room for the fabric to go under the button by making a “shank”. Simply bring the needle up and wind the thread around the button 2-3 times before bringing the needle back down through the fabric.
Alternatively, you could also buy buttons that already have a shank attached, (it’s that loop on the back of some buttons).
Step 6: Finish Up
Bring the needle up and down through the fabric to create a small loop on the underside. Bring the needle through the loop to create a knot. Repeat 3 times and cut the loose thread. You’re done, hurray!
2. Refresh Your Outfits
After you’ve mastered basic sewing skills, it’s time to freshen up your closet. It’s so easy to turn an everyday tee into a stylish tank, and use the excess fabric as material for a unique patch. Take anything from the back of your closet, and after a few cuts and stitches, it’ll have a whole new flare. You’ll look great, and feel even better when you say, “Yep, I made this myself.”
Want to switch up an old tee to a cool tank, AND use the excess material for a cool patch? Be sure to try Zero Waste Daniel’s upcycling guide to make your very own eco-friendly outfit.
3. Patch It Up
A hole in your jeans is the perfect opportunity to add some personality to your worn-in denim. While denim patches are always a safe option, you can also buy cute patches that can easily be sewn or ironed on. Better yet, try making your own patches out of unwanted fabric from clothes you no longer wear. Voila! Last year’s jeans just moved back into first place.
You don’t even need to use a hole as an excuse to revamp your denim. Simply sew a strip of velvet down the outseam for an effortlessly chic look.
4. Change Up Your Canvas
Every thought of painting your clothes? (Yep, it’s a thing). It’s a great way to cover up a stain, or completely transform your clothes. Use acrylic paint to paint a denim jacket or jeans, or spice up your shoe game with canvas painting. Grab a white pair of faded canvas shoes, like Vans or Converse, and let the creativity begin! You’ll have just as much fun doing this one as you will flaunting it afterward!
5. Snagged Thread? What a Drag!
Don’t panic! A snagged thread does not need to mark the end of your go-to sweater’s life. Simply loop a threaded needle through the snagged thread and pull it through to the inside of the sweater. This technique works every time and is so easy to do!
6. Unshrink Your Clothes
Finishing a load of laundry to find that you’ve shrunk your fave tee is the WORST, but it happens to the best of us. Lucky for you, you can unshrink it in three easy steps.
Step 1: Fill a bucket with lukewarm water.
Step 2: Add in 1 tbsp of soft hair conditioner.
Step 3: Soak the clothing item for 30 minutes, then gently stretch it back to its original size. Rinse it out and let it air dry.
This method works every time—you’ll have your fave shirt back in no time!
7. Pilling? What a Pill!
When your favorite knit starts pilling, don’t give up on it just yet! Our favorite hack for getting rid of pesky pills is super easy and takes mere seconds. Just gently shave them off with a razor and your sweater is as good as new.
Want to prevent pilling? These fuzzy bobbles usually surface after a lot of friction, whether it’s being rubbed against a bag, abrasive detergents, or rough washing cycles. Handwashing your favorite knits or running it on the delicate cycle goes a long way.
8. Camouflage Your Stubborn Stains
Can’t get rid of a pesky stain? Use it as an excuse to rock the ‘60s look! Grab some colorful dye or bleach, and tie-dye the stain away. You’ll fit right in with the tie dye trend AND your clothes get a total makeover. Your cast-off T-shirt just became a compliment-worthy DIY fashion statement. For more tie dye inspo, check out our top four tie dye tips here.
Sometimes all clothes need is a little TLC to be as good as new! Whether you’re refreshing something old or selling lightly used items, treat them like you would an old friend and you’ll be happier for it.
Got any mending and clothing care tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.