For the longest time I was a habitual purger — cleaning out my closet every few months to make room for new bargain clothes. When sorting through everything, damaged items were the first to go.
In fact, even the slightest hint of damage was enough for me to donate it.
I had convinced myself I didn’t have the time to go to a tailor, when really, I had no desire to make cheap clothes last. In my mind clothing was disposable. Why would I pay money to go to a tailor when, for only a few dollars more, I could get something brand new?
But I reached a point where I no longer wanted to live in a wasteful way.
Learning to Sew
One way I knew I could make garments last longer was to learn to sew and mend items at home that were slightly damaged.
When starting out, the only thing I really knew how to do was sew on a button. So I eagerly studied the structure of clothing and sometimes even took things apart so see how they were put together.
My son Stevie’s clothes were really helpful as I learned to hem and patch. Since he ruins everything so quickly anyway, I wasn’t worried about messing them up.
Once I mastered some simple skills, I moved on to practicing on thrift store purchases. I would hand-stitch small holes and repair seams for practice, making them look good as new!
Finally I tackled my own closet. I repaired a few slightly damaged items and even ventured into changing the look of certain clothes that I wasn’t wearing anymore — turning dresses into crop tops, hemming jeans that were too long, and creating new shapes out of the old stuff.
When I wasn’t sure how to do something, I would turn to YouTube for instruction. And my love for sewing just grew and grew, to the point of designing my own clothes!
Always Consider Fixing Your Clothes
I know not everyone has the time to sew and mend their own clothing, but at the very least, I highly recommend taking damaged items to a tailor to see if they can be saved before giving them away. That way, we can get more wear out of an existing wardrobe and contribute a little less to the gobs of clothing being wasted every single day.
It’s good for your closet, its good practice in slow living, and it’s good for the environment to boot! The ultimate way to a sustainable wardrobe – wear what you already have.
P.S. be sure to check out 3 Common Clothing Fixes to Keep Your Old Garments Alive!