Simple Sewing Hacks to Repair Your Clothes

red thread holding a blue patch on denim fabric
  • 1+
  • Beginner
  • 10+
What You'll Need
Sewing machine
What You'll Need
Sewing machine

Clothing makes up around five percent of landfill space every year. Because we live in a world of fast fashion and have the ability to replace any worn or damaged clothing instantly, but saving your old clothes is an excellent way to prevent landfill buildup and keep your wallet happy.

Clothing alterations and repairs are relatively easy, so as you give your clothes a new lease on life, you can update your look for a fraction of the price.

Patch a Hole

Sometimes clothes get holes. Maybe your favorite jeans are worn. Maybe your favorite sweater got snagged. Either way, there's a way to patch up your favorite clothes so you can keep wearing them for years to come.

For jeans, get an iron-on repair patch for easy fixing. These patches can be ironed on and then stitched over for maximum hold. You can get a visible patch that goes on the outside of the jeans, or a really inconspicuous one that goes on the inside of your jeans.

If you want to shake it up, add a contrasting patch made out of fabric and embroider the jeans. It's a completely custom look for under ten dollars.

If you've got a hole in a knit sweater, there are a few ways to tackle the fix. For a yarm sweater, or a sweater with a big, chinky knit, you are going to need to use a crochet hook to loop the loose threads back into the sweater and tie them off.

For other shirts or sweaters, you can use heat and bond. Heat and bond can be bought at any craft store and is cheap. Use an iron to adhere the bonding patch to the inside of your shirt and then stitch over the top to secure the patch and close up the hole.

For any garment that needs to be fixed, you can always try an invisible stitch by hand. This stitch disappears with a tug and hides all your repair work in a neat and tidy way.

Hike Up a Hemline

red hemline of a dress or skirt folded up from the front onto the back

If you have a tear at the hem of a dress, skirt, or shirt—or the hem is coming unraveled, all you need to do is re-hem. To re-hem something or take the hem up, you will need to roll the hem up one-half inch and pin it in place.

Stitch along the hem using a straight stitch. After you have stitched the hem, roll the hem up one more time and stitch it again. You will see this stitch on the outside of the garment so take your time and make it look great.

Button Up

This may seem like a basic fix, but it's one everyone needs to know. At some point in your life, you are guaranteed to lose a button. All you need is a basic sewing kit from the store with a needle and thread.

Start by holding the button in place and stitching through the bottom buttonhole from the back. Match the stitch pattern to the other buttons on the article of clothing. Finish off your button by tieing it off on the back.

Before you tie off the button, make sure it's lined up with the buttonhole and is securely attached to the article of clothing.

Beyond Repair

bare feet on a colorful rug made from repurposed fabric

If you find yourself in possession of clothes that are beyond repair, there are still a few ways to save your clothes from a landfill. Use soft, cotton clothes for rags. Cut them up into squares and use them around the house for cleaning.

You can also tear up old t-shirts, braid the strips together, and weave with them. We've seen more than one t-shirt rug in our day that made a fantastic bathmat.

If you love sewing, try incorporating old clothes into your next sewing project. We recently collected all of our favorite old button-ups and turned them into quilt squares. The project came together in such a fun way that we'll definitely be upcycling our old clothes again.