3 Common Clothing Fixes to Keep Your Old Garments Alive

Learn the basics in less than 5 minutes.

Dodgy zip, moth holes and fallen hems can be real nightmares. Fortunately, in many cases, these can fixed at home. Here are some great tips on how it’s done, from our friends at Clothes Doctor, a professional clothing repair service.

At Clothes Doctor, we believe that for a sustainable future it is important that we make use of what we already have, including our preloved clothing, rather than simply replacing worn, damaged, or ill-fitting pieces.

Whilst reworking, repairing and repurposing is beneficial for the environment, it offers the opportunity to breathe new life into our wardrobe favourites so that they can be enjoyed for many years to come.

By following these basic tips, that require neither a sewing machine nor previous skill, you can save your more loved garments.

How to Fix A Stuck Zipper

A stuck zip is a common (and seriously annoying) problem. The zip might get stuck if it is rusted or if debris has become stuck in the teeth. Using the correct technique you can ensure you don’t do any further damage. If the zip is broken, you’ll need a professional to fix it. In the meantime, here are some handy tips for loosening a stuck zip:

  • Assess the garment to check that the surrounding fabric isn’t caught in the teeth. It is also worth checking for snags, folds, tangles. If you find that the surrounding fabric is caught, gently pull it away from the zip, either by hand or with tweezers, to ensure you do not tear the material.
  • If you find that the zip continues to stick, find pencil…yes a pencil! Just make sure it’s a classic graphite one. Rub the pencil tip on both sides of the teeth, focusing on the centre where the teeth intersect, whilst holding the zip together with one hand. Next, test the zip to see if it glides smoothly. If it does, wipe off any remaining graphite.
  • If the zip continues to stick, you’ll need to use a product with more lubrication. Common household products such as soap, window cleaner, or lip balm, will do the trick.
  • Add the product directly to the teeth. Gradually pull the zip down, applying more product, and continue to do so until the zip comes all the way down. Try to keep the product on the zip, rather than the surrounding fabric, to prevent discolouration or staining.
  • If the zip continues to stick, take it to a professional to have it repaired or replaced.

How to Fix A Hole With Darning

Darning is a quick and simple technique. It is better to darn garments when you first notice any damage, as bigger holes are more challenging to repair.

  • Find the following equipment: darning needle, yarn in a matching colour and the same thickness as the surrounding material, a darning mushroom (or an equivalent – anything with a rounded side).
  • Place the darning mushroom under the hole and pull the garment over so that the hole is centred.
  • Sew a few stitches in the undamaged surrounding fabric to secure the thread.
  • Stitch across the hole horizontally starting and ending close to the circle of running stitches.
  • Next weave a series of stitches going perpendicular, working the thread over and under your stitches.
  • Continue this up and down weaving until you have created a grid that completely covers the hole.
  • Make sure that you leave a long end on the thread when you are finished so that you can weave it into the repair, rather than securing it with a knot. If you would like to secure it with a knot, ensure that you do not pull on the thread or it may end up puckering.

How to Repair A Fallen Hem With Hemming Web

Iron-on adhesive tape allows you to bond two pieces of fabric together without the hassle of a needle and thread and is cheap and readily available. You’ll be able to hem your trousers with these easy tips.

  • To ensure the fusing attaches properly to the fabric, make sure the garment is clean.
  • Turn the garment inside out and flatten it out
  • If you have a delicate garment, you will need to use a tea towel for extra protection.
  • Find out how big hole is and cut the hemming web to size
  • Place the double-sided strip between the two pieces of fabric and check that no hemming tape sticking out
  • Place a damp cloth over the garment and press with a very hot iron for about 30 seconds
  • The only downside to hemming web is that it can leave a residue. In addition, whilst hemming tape is a great solution for a quick fix, bear in mind it is only a short-term solution. For a more long-term solution, a professional hem repair service might be needed.

Clothes Doctor was kind enough to write this helpful article for us, so please consider them if you need help with more complex repairs or alterations! They offer a vast range of services, from repairing holes and seams, shortening sleeves and trousers, to reworking and transform your garments into something new.

Subscribe to our Weekly Digest

It's a collection of everything interesting that happened that week, so that you can get back to it when you have the time.

Discover Ethical Fashion

  • ABLE Perez 70mm Booties
    SIZES: 6-10
    SHIPS TO: Worldwide
  • Pact Leggings
    + MORE
  • Everlane Japanese Oxford Shirt
    SIZES: 00-14
    SHIPS TO: International
  • Everlane Easy Chino
    SIZES: 00-16
    SHIPS TO: International
  • Kotn Mock Neck Tank
    SHIPS FROM: Canada
    SHIPS TO: Worldwide

See our complete curated collection of minimalist wardrobe essentials here.

More to Read