Field Notes / February 9th , 2016

The Lifecycle of a T-Shirt: How To Repair Your Own Clothing

Around 10.5 million tons of clothing goes into landfills each year and only about 15% of clothing is donated or consigned. Only about half of the clothing that is donated or consigned is worn again. To extend the life of your clothing, learning a few simple tricks to repair them can make a huge difference. 

By purchasing higher quality clothing, taking care of your clothes and doing making repairs, you can save money and help the environment. Repairing clothing can also increase likely hood that the clothing you do consign or donate will be worn second hand rather than ending up in the unsalvageable pile and going to the landfill. 

Snagged your sleeve? Lost a button?
We offer a free repair program to keep your Ecologyst gear going strong.

Here are a few different tips and tricks to repair your clothing: 

Sweater Pulls

Sweater pulls are almost inevitable. It’s so easy to get snagged on a tree branch, hooked on some Velcro or whatever gets you hung up. But there are a few tips and tricks to quickly fix snags before your sweater starts to unravel.

  1. First turn your sweater inside out
  2. Using a blunt needle or crochet hook, pull the snag through the backside of the fabric
  3. With a needle or your fingers, gently tug or smooth the sides of the yarn loop until the thread is evenly distributed

Small Holes

 You can pick up a basic sewing kit at your local Dollar Store for a few dollars, which can save you money in the future. 

  1. Make sure you use thread that is a similar colour to your garment and you have enough thread to fix the hole
  2. Thread a small needle and tie the two ends of the thread together to make a knot that is big enough it won’t pull through the fabric
  3. Start from the underside of the shirt, pushing the needle to the outside
  4. Pull the thread all the way through until the knot is snug against the underside of the fabric
  5. Neatly weave the thread back and forth between the two sides of the hole, connecting them
  6. Once done, tie a knot at the end by catching a small piece of the underside of the fabric making a loop
  7. Then use the needle to guide the thread through the knot pulling it tight and trimming off the excess thread
  8. Tap your fingertip on the newly sewn piece to smooth out any bumps

Water Stains On Leather

If the water hasn’t dried yet, take a dry cloth or sponge and try to absorb as much water as you can. 

  1. In a bottle, mix one part cold water and one part white wine vinegar
  2. Spray mixture onto water stain
  3. Wipe clean the area with water just to remove any excess vinegar that might dry on to the area
  4. To replenish the moisture lost from using vinegar, take some hair conditioner and spread it onto the area
  5. Wipe clean again to remove any excess moisture
  6. Let area dry naturally

Securing Buttons

There’s a reason that most shirts with buttons come with a spare button. Buttons are in high abrasion areas so it’s common for the thread to wear out over time causing the button to fall off.

  1. Always save and store the spare buttons from your shirts
  2. Thread a small needle and tie the two ends of the thread together to make a knot that is big enough it won’t pull through the fabric
  3. Push the needle up from the underside of the garment and through one of the holes on the button
  4. Pull the thread all the way through until the knot is snug against the underside of the fabric
  5. Turn the needle around and push it back through the hole on the opposite side
  6. Push the needle all the way through and tug the thread tight
  7. Repeat this process until the button is secure and making sure the thread is even on both sides
  8. Once done, tie a knot by catching a small piece of the underside of the fabric making a large loop
  9. Use the needle to guide the thread through the loop and pulling the thread tight
  10. Trim off the excess thread

Tip: To make your button extra secure, apply clear nail polish over the threads to lock the stitching in place.

Draw String Fix

Attach a safety pin to one end of the drawstring and feed that drawstring back through the hole inching along the band until the safety pin and drawstring come out the other end. 

Prevent Fading in Dark Jeans

Add ½ Cup of distilled vinegar to the last washing cycle.

Removing Stains

Different stains require different methods of removal for an effective clean. Spot cleaning stains can not only save the quality of your clothing but it can also help reduce the number of loads of laundry you do, which has a huge effect on the environment.

Grass

  1. Apply mineral spirits or acetone in a well-ventilated room
  2. Press with a cheesecloth and lightly scrub your stain
  3. Use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to work the liquid into the area
  4. Rinse garment

 Coffee or Tea

  1. Soak area with lemon juice or white vinegar to remove stain
  2. To remove sugar or milk, spray with diluted dishwashing soap
  3. Rinse garment

Make-Up or Foundation (Liquid)

Shaving cream is one of the best methods for removing liquid foundations from collars or shirts. Try adding a touch of alcohol if the stain won’t lift with only shaving cream. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.

Wax or Gum

  1. Use ice to freeze the wax or gum
  2. Or place item in the freezer
  3. Scrape off as much of the gum or wax as you can
  4. Remove residue with an oil solvent or mineral spirits
  5. Rinse with isopropyl alcohol
  6. Let hang dry
  7. Rinse in warm water again without alcohol 

Grease or Oil

Try covering the stain with baby power and letting it sit overnight then wash the garment.

Sweat Stains

  1. Mix one part dishwashing liquid with two parts hydrogen peroxide
  2. Apply to stain and let for 1 hour
  3. Extra bad stains, add baking soda and scrub
  4. Rinse thoroughly 

Saving your clothes now can help save you money and the environment in the future.