Care of Clothes: Essential Mending

Ihyra Iana

I am better with words than I am with a sword!!! For which I am forever grateful because words are mightier.

Mending your Clothes

Living in a generation which lives by the throwaway culture and writing about the care of anything is seemingly hypocritical. Common sense: Throwing away your clothes before you have worn it out is a waste of money.
Common belief: the more clothes we have the better our status in society. That is, a new outfit every day!

Although it appears that: in the race to look good for oneself, the opposite sex and society in general, people tend to binge on clothes that would either hardly be worn or decrease the stage time all clothes get. Thus, in today’s society, we buy clothes not because we need to but because we want to.

Let us go back to the time when things that were broken were fixed and not thrown away!

The situation is such that, despite wardrobes cramped full of clothes, we don’t have anything to wear?
It appears that since the garments we have are worn out; outgrown or frowned at (by our critical self) most women complain that they have “nothing” to wear!!!

This logic has baffled men for centuries and apparently will forever baffle them for centuries to come.
No man is ever going to understand the plight of a woman who discovered at the last moment that the outfit she thought to wear to the evening party does not fit her, that the zipper is not working or buttons came loose! Stressful situations as such can easily be avoided if we know our wardrobe like we know our bodies!

The normal wear of clothes does wear clothes! Hanging them in the closet will not magically mend these clothes. We all may have wished to be Barbie when we were kids but grow up already this is not a Fashion Fairytale and Barbie is not real!!!

Mending your own clothes can save lots of money and time!!! (Mostly by not shopping for new clothes)

One does not have to be particularly gifted or skilled in order to do this.

Torn Garment

Patch it up inconspicuously if possible (use a small piece of cloth to the inside of the garment for reinforcement and satin stitch or zigzag stitch it). If the tear is in a key area where it is visible then patching it up might make matters worse.

Then instead rejoice for you are presented with the opportunity to make your garment truly your own by adding a personal touch!!!
Depending on the type of tear; embellishments (like decorative buttons, sew-on jewels, and sequins), embroidery or pockets can be added.

Jewels Red Sequins

Decorative sew-on buttons, sequins and bohemian beads.

If you are the lazy type this all may seem like very hard work! Nevertheless, the fashion scene of today is in sync with us lazy bones. Although this, theoretically may require more skill than redecoration, our will to remain lazy may drive excellent results.

Hence, you can get a razor blade out and contribute to the tear.

Gone are the days when torn clothes were a connotation of poverty. Torn clothes are the trend of today! So why not use this to our advantage?

Nonetheless, the location of the tear is crucial in determining the mending method applied.

If it is in the front of the garment, it is easier to systematically rip a small area around the tear creating a pattern.

Yet if the tear is in the back of the garment, a larger pattern will have to be created. This will require some skill and precision in which case it is better to resort to embellishments or embroidery.

In addition, the type of fabric should be noted.


Never try to razor rip lightweight fabrics because these will fray and lose shape easily. Some examples of lightweight fabrics are:
Thin kinds of cotton like georgette
Cotton knits
Woven polyester


Razor rip method works best with medium and heavy weight fabrics such as:
Types of Denim
Double knits
Lightweight woollens

In any case, your garment will never be the same but it will be uniquely yours!


Garments with Loose or Missing Buttons

If it is just one or two buttons, turn the garment inside out and check for spare buttons sewn on to the edge of seams or on the care label. In case spare buttons are not provided or more than two or three buttons are missing, it is best to take out all of the remaining buttons. You can easily get good buttons from retail stores nowadays. Buy a pack ensuring that they are the same size. This is vital because the buttonholes have to match. Sew the new buttons on the exact mark left by the previous ones and you cannot go wrong!

Care label with spare buttons attached

Accumulation of Lint or Fluff on Garments

Don’t you just hate it when your favourite pair of black jeans or top looks ugly and old after just the first wash??? Lint or fluff is the small pieces of thread or fine fibres that stick to the surface of clothes. This can be prevented if garments are turned inside out before washing. Also, the lint remover in the washing machine should be cleaned regularly. Nevertheless, lint that still finds its way to your clothes can easily be removed by a roller lint remover. These are not very costly and are easily available even in supermarkets. In any case, if you don’t have a lint remover an alternative is Sellotape!!! Just lay down your garment and tape it vertically. Then strip away the tape like you would if you were waxing the garment. Just make sure the garment itself is secured to a table or countertop.  

Garments where Seams came Undone

Seams have to be stitched before further damage is done particularly if the seam is in an area of strain. This is best tailored using a sewing machine as the stitch strength is better. However, the same can be done with hand sewing especially if the opening is not very long. Just follow the dots left on the fabric where the seam had been and weave your needle in and out in a straight line.  

Therefore, let us make this our norm: to repair our own clothes and to get the most out of any garment in our wardrobes. We can all do our small share and contribute to the end of the throwaway culture.