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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

How to make your favourite clothes last longer

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Have you ever had a beloved shirt fall apart because you wore it so often? Found a hole in the sole of your favourite pair of shoes? Cried because your reliable work pants have a hole in a seam?

Ok, I can’t say I’ve ever cried over damaged clothes. But it is annoying when your favourites can’t cope with the amount of wear you’d like to get out of them. If they weren’t useful or fun to wear, they’d never get holes from overuse in the first place, so I don’t want to replace them.

That’s where repairing comes in handy. Knowing how to sew a seam or re-attach a button means that you get to keep your old reliables for a bit longer. I’ve salvaged quite a few jackets and skirts this way - it helps that when I buy new things, I put any spare buttons in a jar in case I need them later.

If you’ve never tried repairing your clothes before, it’s worth learning how.

Repairs are always needed when you least expect it though, so you’ll need to be prepared with a bit of equipment. I’ve found that basic sewing repair kits you can get from craft stores or department stores are usually enough to get me by. But I like this Lazy DIYers Craft Tools article, since it also includes things like pliers for fixing jewellery, and suggestions for other clothes modifications if you’ve got a rotary cutter or super glue. I’d probably add snaps and elastic to her list.

Of course, sometimes you just need a professional. Many shopping centres have a tailor or alterations place these days, and larger places have cobblers and shoe repair places who can fix your beloved worn-in-all-the-right-places boots. I really recommend it for getting the most use out of clothes that you know you already like.