March 31, 2023
Have you seen the price of clothing lately? The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothes each year, with nearly 95% of which can be reused or recycled. With inflation on most things right now at an all-time high, Frugal Friday discusses how to save money and repair your own clothing.
We know this isn't your grandma's day & age anymore. However, sewing or patching items isn't as hard as it may seem. Ask any military personnel. They have to learn how to sew to be able to stitch on their patches and badges. Repairing your own clothes is a matter of simplicity that some may pick up rather quickly. It is also super helpful to have a sewing machine, or know someone that would let you borrow theirs. If learning to sew isn't in your wheelhouse, paying a seamstress or tailor to mend your clothes will save you money, as repairing clothes is cheaper than buying new.
Sewing Made Easy
Sewing really isn't as difficult as one might perceive. It's as simple as knowing how to thread a needle. As long as you can do that, you can perform easy fixes such as sewing a button back on or stitching your child's stuffed monkey that the dog chewed the eye off of. (Yes, that actually happened!) Simple hand stitching also comes in handy when the kid brings to your attention that they have a class project due in the morning - and it happens to be 9pm. If you haven't learned the basics of hand sewing, YouTube has a plethora of short "how-to" videos.
If you want to get into the sewing machines, I would also recommend YouTube. However, if you would rather have a more hands-on, personal touch, I'd recommend reaching out to a local nursing home or assisted living and ask if they have anyone available for a sewing lesson or two.
Patching Might Work Too
Patching clothes is also a great option. Your box store is bound to have some sort of iron on patch. In that case, it's a really easy fix. Holes in your pants or shirt? Flip the garment inside out, place the patch over it & iron it on. Easy peasy! You can also fix those old work jeans. If you have other pairs that are beyond fixing, save them and use them to patch newer ones. Cut a piece of material (old jeans) a little larger than the size of the hole itself. Either hand stich it, use seam bias and iron it on (given the hole is small enough), or use a sewing machine and sew the new patch under or over the existing hole. Again, this is where YouTube videos will come in handy, if sewing is new to you.
With a good percentage of people buying clothes online, many times there needs to be adjustments done to ensure they fit comfortably. If you are not comfortable altering your new garment yourself, consider hiring a local seamstress or tailor. Don't feel bad, as alterations can be tricky to even the more experienced sewists. If you're lucky, the local tailor may also help with small projects such as buttons.
The End Result
Keep in mind, if you tend to spend $40 - $50 on a single garment, only for it to have holes in it, or not fit properly, it's probably best to try and fix it yourself. Whether that be you take it to the local sewing shop, or mend it by hand, you will essentially save a TON of money by not having to toss it or sell it at a loss.
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