And your money. There are a few different ways to give clothing an extra lease of life, to get your moneys worth out of each piece of clothing in your wardrobe. This is not only good for your bank balance but also for the environment. More than 350,000 tonnes end up in landfills each year, which contributes to climate change because most clothing breaks down at a very slow rate, or it is burned which leaks toxic fumes into the environment.
1. Stain Removal
One of the main reasons that people dispose of clothing is due to staining. I'm sure that everyone at some point in their life has accidentally stained one of their most treasured pieces of clothing, there are many different methods of stain removal depending on the type of clothing and type of stain. I have tried and tested many different stain removers over the years, and by far the best in my experience is the Vanish Gold Power Gel. You simply apply it to the stain for up to 5 minutes before putting it into the washing machine on a regular cycle. 90% of the time it fully removes the stain, or makes it extremely less visible after one or two uses. It is definitely a must-have in your house to target the most common stains such as food spills. I've been so surprised at how well it has worked particularly on vintage sweatshirts that have been stained for probably 10+ years. If this product doesn't work, try googling the cause of the stain and you'll find lots of home remedies to target your specific situation.
2. Bleach Dye
If your stain can't be removed, a great way to disguise it is through bleach dying. It's such an easy way to camouflage stubborn marks and it provides a really unique result. All you need is bleach, a spray bottle, and some elastic bands. There are tutorials for different styles of bleach dye to create different patterns all over the internet, but in a nutshell you need to mix bleach with water in a spray bottle, wrap your clothing in an elastic band and let it set for around 30 minutes. After this you can rinse it and put it through a wash cycle, and then you have a brand new piece of customised clothing!
3. Bobble Removal
This is another common issue with used and old clothing. Through wash cycles and friction, small pill-like bobbles can eventually form which can be unsightly. The good news is that with a bit of time and care, you can easily remove them using items already in your household - my favourite method is using a shaving razor. You will need to lay your garment onto a flat, hard surface such as a table and then simply run the razor blade onto the item of clothing, gently and eventually applying more pressure a couple of times on the specific area until you see the bobbles coming off. Then, you can go in with a lint roller or cello tape to completely banish them and your garment will look good as new. Please remember to be careful and not apply too firmly, as with fragile materials you accidentally can create holes.
You don't need to be a sewing expert to transform your garment into something new. There are many no-sew ways of thrift-flipping your clothes to cut off any stained areas. For example, you can simply turn a t-shirt into a crop top or a sleeveless top by using sharp scissors. Another idea is turning joggers and leggings into shorts but cutting off the majority of the length, or turning a dress into a two piece crop top and skirt set by cutting it in the centre. If you're a more experienced sewer you can transform your garment into something completely brand new. For example, I often turn old trousers into skirts by cropping, removing the crotch seam and levelling off the hem. You can also rework t-shirts into new crop top styles, there are so many tutorials for this on YouTube.
5. Minor Sewing
This is a more obvious method of saving your clothes, but is often overlooked because some holes seem un-repairable. A lot of holes that are in inconspicuous places such as under the armpit are easily repaired because you don't need any particular skill to fix them, as it is an area that is rarely seen. The same goes for side seams - you can find videos for for specific areas of different garments on YouTube and TikTok. If you think a hole has completely ruined your clothing, before throwing it away try your best to repair it as you would be surprised at how easy and effective it can be.
6. Leather Polish
I source a lot of real leather jackets for my shop, some of which are over 20 years old and are still in amazing condition but parts of the leather can be slightly scuffed. An easy way to repair this is using leather shoe polish, it blends the scuff instantly and becomes completely unnoticeable. This method can be used on all types of leather clothing, including trousers, shoes and bags. Make sure you patch test the polish first on somewhere concealed to ensure it is the right colour match.
In summary, there are many different ways of restoring your current wardrobe using items that are already in your household, which results in saving money and the planet. The only cost for some methods is your time, but it is so satisfying when your favourite items of clothing look brand new again. If you want any help with a specific damaged clothing issue, please don't hesitate to get in touch for more advice.