We’re living in a disposable society. There are a lot of people who think nothing of using items once then biffing them away. If we want to turn against the rising tide of mass consumerism we’re going to have to bring back the idea of repair rather than replace
Often fast fashion and cheap, mass produced products break and fall apart easily, so avoid both as much as you can. It is more environmentally friendly and works out cheaper in the end to buy something made well than to keep replacing poorly made stuff.
However, because shit happens, even the best made products need the odd bit of minor repair from time to time. Buttons come off, hemlines get snagged and zips stick. It’s irritating, especially when you’re in a rush or feel like you don’t have the skills to fix it. Don’t worry, we’re here with our starter kit of easy fixes to get you going.
Pulls in wool – Firstly, turn your woolen inside out. Next use blunt needle, crochet hook or similar to pull the loop of yarn through to the back of the garment. You can then either leave it as is or carefully cut the loop and tie it in a knot. Be careful not to tie it too tight or it will leave a visible pull in your clothing.
Dropped hems – The sooner you catch an unraveling hem the less work you have to do. You can either dust off your sewing machine and pin N sew or use hem fusible hem tape. Place the tape in your hem fold and run an iron over the top. it’s that simple. Perfect for jeans and other bulky fabric that is a pain in the arse to sew.
Replace buttons – Ugly buttons can ruin an otherwise gorgeous jacket. They also have a nasty habit of dropping off or coming loose. Being able to replace buttons is definitely a handy skill to have. Watch here for a simple how to
Stuck zip – The best technique I’ve ever used is a graphite pencil on the teeth of the zip. I used to use olive oil but that just made a big greasy mess I had to deal with on top of the stuck zip. Other household products that work are candle wax, a bar of soap or lip balm. Be cautious using anything oil based, use as little as possible and wash straight after to prevent oil stains.
Lost drawstring – Grab a sharp pin and stab through the first layer of fabric and half way through the drawstring on an angle. Slowly and carefully push the point of the needle into the fabric, towards where the drawstring comes out. Repeat until the string emerges from the hole. Then tie a big fat knot in the ends of the string so it doesn’t happen again.
Reduce pilling – The easiest and quickest way to remove pilling on clothing is either with a sandpaper block or actually shave your clothes with a disposable razor as genuinely mental as that sounds. To use the sandpaper block technique pull the clothing flat and taut, then rub the surface with the block in firm up and down movements until the pilling comes away. If that doesn’t work pull the clothes flat and taut again and use the razor to shave upwards with the gentlest pressure you can manage to avoid putting nicks or holes in the fabric. I’d suggest trying out the sandpaper block first as it’s a bit more foolproof.
Stretch shoes out. – I have half a size difference in my shoes so I often have to stretch one of my shoes out to accommodate my awkward half-size-bigger right foot. I swear by the two thick socks and a hairdryer method. Simply put the socks on then put the shoe on (A bit of gentle shoving may be needed) then blast with a hot hair dryer for as long as it takes to loosen them up. I have also heard putting a bag of water inside the shoe then leaving them in the freezer overnight. I haven’t tried this myself but let us know on our Facebook if you have and if it worked. With either of these methods don’t expect miracles, you’re not going to get a size 9 foot into a size 5 shoe but half a size shouldn’t be a drama.
Water stains on leather – If you can dry off any leather as soon as it gets wet. When water dries on real leather it leaves a really obvious dark mark, almost like you’ve drawn around the area in pen. If this happens spray a fine mist of cold water and vinegar mixed together and blot gently. If it doesn’t work consult a professional leather cleaner. If it’s expensive and/or vintage consult a professional leather cleaner. It’ll be worth the money to have it sorted properly if it’s your pride and joy.
General staining – There’s a lot of stain removing hacks out there. Ketchup for this, oil for that, the blood of a virgin unicorn for the next thing. However 37 years and two kids later I’m yet to find anything more versatile and effective as either a bar of Sards Wonder Soap or Sunlight Soap. I’ve used it on carpet, shirts, bibs and couches and they’ve been the best thing I’ve tried on all kinds of spills and stains. Keep a bar in your laundry.
As with anything, use an inconspicuous spot for testing any of the cleaning products mentioned.
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