Here at CF, we work to bring you affordable, fashion-forward looks each and every day – but the easiest way to save money on clothing is to take care of the clothes you already own!
After three years in college, I’ve lost countless coat buttons, ripped multiple belt loops and bought (a few) new pairs of pants rather than hemming a pair I already owned. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to accept that I can’t always afford to buy new clothing – but I can afford a $5 sewing kit.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on sewing, or even able to complete beginner sewing projects with ease every time, but below, I’ll share a few sewing tricks that will help you get the most out of your wardrobe favorites. (Okay, one tip doesn’t involve sewing – but it’s totally invaluable, I swear!)
Sewing Kit, Urban Outfitters – $4.99
Table of Contents
Sewing on a Button
As the weather gets colder, everyone starts to layer on sweaters and cardigans. The problem is that with all that wear comes some tear. Most pieces purchased from typical retailers will come with an extra button or two attached, to preempt the future missing button problem. For cardigans from discount retailers, like T.J. Maxx, you may be on your own if a button goes rogue.
Luckily, most small sewing kits come with basic black and white buttons. These will get you through a few weeks until you can get to a craft store and get a matching button. No matter what option you have, taking a few minutes to replace a missing button will get you a lot more use out of your favorite outerwear. These directions assume you’re using a button with the basic two holes.
- Choose the closest color thread that you have (white and black are the best options to have on hand) to the color of the garment you’re fixing.
- Cut a piece of thread a 1/2 yard long (about the distance from your elbow to finger).
- Feed the thread through the eye hole of the needle.
- Pull the thread through until the needle is in the middle of the strand, then double knot the two ends together.
- Position the button where you’d like it and push the needle up through the fabric and one of the button holes.
- Pull the needle and thread all the way through until the knotted end is against the back of the fabric.
- Push the needle downwards through the second hole and the fabric.
- Repeat the last two steps 6-7 times to secure the button and finish with a knot on the inside of the garment.
One of the most popular fashion tips from magazines and stylist is to get your pants and jeans hemmed. Well, I’m not one to disregard the advice of Vogue, but hemming my own pants seems a little too intimidating. And although many retailers offer hemming services, it’s hard to justify the extra cost. Fortunately, a couple of years ago I stumbled upon hemming tape in the Target checkout line, and it has become one of my best secret weapons.
Hemming tape is a double-sided adhesive that bonds when it is ironed. The bond will stay through multiple loads of laundry and it is the perfect alternative to the time-consuming task of sewing your denim by hand. I have a habit of purchasing certain jeans just to wear with heels (longer and flared) and certain styles for flats (ankle length and skinny fit). But when you can hem, or de-hem, a pair of pants at will, you can get maximum use, no matter what footwear you choose.
- First, turn your clothing item inside out.
- Measure the hemming tape around the bottom of your pants and cut it to fit. You can work in small sections or just do a couple larger pieces – it’s up to you.
- Iron the fabric how you would like it hemmed to create a deep crease. (This will help the fabric stay in place while you work.)
- Peel off the backing of the first strip of tape and place it inside the fold of the crease you just created.
- Make sure to check the directions on the packaging – they will tell you what iron temperature is best.
- Work your way around the hem, ironing each section as you go.
- When all the fabric is bonded together, turn your pants right side out and iron the hem one last time.
Fixing a Separated Zipper
We’ve all been there: your zipper gets stuck, you tug on it, it splits. I’ve trashed sweatshirts and dresses because of broken zippers in the past, but with a little thread, there is a way to get those zippers back on track!
- Using a small pair of pliers, pry off the zipper’s metal stop (the little band at the bottom of the zipper that stops the slider). (See Picture 1, above.)
- Once you remove the stop, move the slider all the way down to the bottom.
- Realign the zipper’s teeth.
- Move the slider back up the zipper, zipping it completely.
- Thread a needle and knot the ends.
- Start underneath the material and make 6-7 stitches across the bottom of the zipper where the stop used to be, essentially creating a new stop out of thread. (See Picture 2, above.)
- When you’re finished, just knot the thread on the back side of the fabric and cut off the excess!
More Easy How-To’s
Are you facing some fashion troubles that the three tips above won’t solve? No matter how obscure you may think your problem is, there’s always a way to fix it. For future clothing woes, bookmark these sites (and College Fashion) so that you’re always prepared!
Are these tips that you’ll use? Do you have any other tips or tricks for fixing clothing problems? This is something that we all deal with – and we want to hear from you! Be sure to leave a comment.