How to Repair Clothing and Give Worn Out Clothes New Life

How to Repair Clothing and Give Worn Out Clothes New Life

No one wants to lose a favorite piece of clothing to a stain or a tear. In many cases, you can easily revive your threads, even when they seem ruined. By giving your clothes a second life, you’ll keep clothing out of the trash and reduce your clothing footprint.  


We like our jeans to appear worn-in. Still, a number of things can go wrong with them. Here are a few tips for coping with jeans that have reached their tipping point: 

  • Embrace holes in jeans, they’re stylish
  • If you can’t embrace them, patch up or mend holes (and torn belt loops)
  • Raise worn-out hem-lines to turn your jeans into capris or cut-off shorts
  • Cut seam slits for jeans that are too tight at the ankle
  • Loosen a tight waistband by sewing wedges of fabric along seam slits at the waist


We wear them to walk, run and dance. We step on the dirty streets in them. And on unlucky days, our shoes get caught in nasty weather. This means shoes can age quickly. Give your shoes a second chance with these recommendations: 

  • Scrub water-stained leather with vinegar using a soft-brushed toothbrush
  • Tackle dirt-stained shoes suede by buffing it with a nail-file
  • Deodorize your sweaty trainers by sprinkling them with baking soda and stuffing them with newspaper
  • Replace dirty laces with fresh new ones
  • Add insoles to extend the life of uncomfortable shoes
  • Repair worn-out soles by having a cobbler resole your shoes 


Whether they get stretched out, discolored or stained, tees can lose their luster quickly. Here are some easy ways to keep them in rotation in your closet: 

  • Crop it
  • Cut off the sleeves to turn your tee into a tank
  • Cut a V-neck to remove a stained collar
  • Transform your tee into a reusable shopping tote by sewing the bottom shut

Blouses and Button-up Shirts

It’s easy to get frustrated with unflattering formal and semi-formal shirts. Here are some ways to improve your chances of gaining shirt mileage: 

  • Fix boxy, unattractive fits with some darts or by taking a shirt in at the sides
  • Fix bent or wrinkled collars by ironing them and applying starch
  • “Steam iron” wrinkled fabrics, by hanging them near the shower
  • Replace the buttons
  • Reinforce buttons with clear nail polish
  • Alter ugly sleeves to a different length

Sweaters and Knits

Sweaters can warp, shrink, and snag. Don’t get dismayed, though. Help is on the way: 

  • Shave off pills with a disposable razor
  • Pull snagged threads to the back side of a sweater with a needle and watch them disappear
  • Hand-wash sweaters to prevent warping
  • Crop long, boring cardigans
  • Avoid washing sweaters by wearing undershirts with them
  • Gift shrunken sweaters to children or dogs

Coats and Jackets

Coats and jackets add character to our closets and warmth to our outfits. Make sure you keep them around for the long-haul:  

  • Reinforce the seams
  • Reinforce the buttons
  • Use vaseline on stuck zippers
  • Replace a torn liner or sew a missing one in
  • Spot-treat stains with a toothbrush, baking soda and vinegar

Hire Help

When all else fails, remember that tailors and cobblers are your friends. Or you can simply call up your crafty aunt for help. 

Let us know how you saved a piece of your own clothing from the trash in the comments. 

Give high-quality thrifted clothes a second chance by shopping our Sustainability Sweetness Bundle.   


Article Written by Erica Eller

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1 comment

I love this! I spend my days working on keeping furniture and home goods out of the landfill by refurbishing them for a thrift store that I work for. Clothes should be no exception! I hope you would let me share this article and your website with my customers?


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