Mending and Scrapping Your Old Clothes

It’s no secret that clothes need mending sometimes. Rather than hire someone to do it or throw things away, why not learn a few simple repairs yourself? As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t always know how to sew very well. Learning to mend is one of the most useful skills for saving money.

How Often?

I have one day every week for mending. Friday is my big laundry day, so I look through things as I fold them to see if anything needs fixing. If I need the machine, I wait to mend until I have a few things set aside. I’d estimate that I have 3-5 repairs a month, and I can do them all the same day, generally within an hour.

What Kinds of Repairs?

I most often fix hems and seams that have come apart. If you can sew a straight line, you can fix 90% of things that need it. I’ve fixed one zipper and slightly altered a few things, but that’s it, really, aside from an occasional button that needs reattaching.

I turn ripped pants into shorts, but if they’re done for, they get turned into quilts. If something has ripped knees, it can be patched, but patches aren’t very fun to do and don’t look great. They also don’t hold up well, so I really don’t patch things anymore. Ripped jeans are kind of the style now, anyway. 😉

shorts that used to be pants!

Is It Worth Fixing?

I ask myself a few questions about the item as I consider fixing it:

  1. Have I fixed this before?
  2. If yes, is it worth it to fix it again?
  3. Does it look anywhere decent enough to wear in public if mended?
  4. If not, does the owner of the article of clothing need more work clothes?
  5. Can it be recycled into something else?

If the item fails, then it’s scrap time. My most commonly scrapped items (that never get recycled) are socks and old dish towels.

Getting the Most From Scraps

Before throwing it away, I keep anything that could be useful.

  1. Remove the buttons and store in a jar.
  2. Cut out and keep zippers.
  3. Cut off and keep overall clasps.
  4. Keep anything else that can be useful, like drawstrings or elastic.
  5. Cut the rest into usable rags. If it’s not absorbent, toss it.

I end up with lots of rags, but I use them! I never run out because it seems there’s always something else that’s rag-worthy. Now, if only I could keep my favorite clothes from wearing out…

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