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How To Make Your Clothes Last Longer

Updated on March 1, 2018
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Lynsey has completed courses in corsetry, dressmaking, and pattern cutting and enjoys sewing in her spare time.

How many times have you binned a jumper because it was bobbly? Or bought new trousers because the hem had came down? Or even got rid of your favourite skirt because the button popped off?

How much money could you have saved over the years by fixing those trusty clothes up? Even if you got another few wears out of them, you could at least say that you definitely got your money's worth!

You don't need to be a world-class seamstress to prolong the lifespan of your wardrobe essentials. In fact, you only need 3 simple tools, and a tiny bit of practice.

Patch & Sew

The first thing you need is a basic sewing kit. You can pick these up in pound shops and discount stores, but I recommend a good quality one from a haberdashers or fabric store. The needles don't need to be the best quality- but the thread definitely does if you want to save yourself time and effort in restitching the same thing 10 times! Also remember the heavier fabrics will require a sturdier needle, so it is useful to have one or two in your kit.

Ideally, a sewing machine would form part of your kit- this is useful for putting darts in an oversized shirt, or re-sewing a pair of burst trousers. You can get machines for less than £30, or even look at refurbished models of higher quality machines that are around £50- they are a good investment!

Remember to keep a few patches of fabric in your kit, such as denim, from old pieces of clothing as these can be used for small repairs in inconspicuous areas.

Quick Fix

The second tool is a roll of wonderweb. (Or the own brand equivalent works just as well) You can pick this up in most supermarkets, and it is a web of adhesive that is activated by heat. Ideal when in a rush and your hem falls down or your top gapes open. This should only be used as a quick fix, allowing you to address the problem properly later, while keeping everything in place for at least a couple of wears.

Just be aware that this isn't permanent, and especially not if you tumble-dry your clothes. If you would like to make your fix permanent, you can use the sewing kit to keep everything in place, and the webbing will hold everything nicely while you stitch.

Pellon Wonder-Web 5/8" Puck - ST807-20 Yards
Pellon Wonder-Web 5/8" Puck - ST807-20 Yards
Wonderweb is my go to product for quick repairs- they usually last a few wears, and longer if you don't tumble dry the item.



The third tool is a de-fuzzer. This is a tad more difficult to source, but a quick google search should point you in the right direction. The de-fuzzer is basically a shaver for clothes. It has rotating blades, covered by a smooth, protective mesh. This allows the bobbles to go through and be chopped off, while the fabric remains whole. It's a great way of preserving that "new" look on knitwear, and also comes in handy for linen and bedding.

If you can't find one, a disposable razor does the same job, but a soft touch is required to ensure that you don't look as though Edward Scissorhands has done your laundry!

So, now that you have the tools required- go practice! The sewing kit/ machine is probably the tool that requires the most practice, but just take it slow. Perhaps use an old item of clothing to practice on. You never know- you could surprise yourself, and invent a new addition to your wardrobe!

Conair Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover, Battery Operated Portable Fabric Shaver, White
Conair Fabric Shaver and Lint Remover, Battery Operated Portable Fabric Shaver, White
This defuzzer is handy to have and will revamp any old bobbly pieces in your wardrobe. Great quality and handles well because of the shape.

© 2012 Lynsey Hart


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