Tag Archives: how to sew

How to spend less on fashion but get more – mend and make ‘new’

Love clothes shopping? But fear you spend too much? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to spend less on fashion but get more. Well, welcome to part 3 on the series of how to enhance your wardrobe on a budget. If you haven’t read the guide on saving online or the one on saving money on fashion in store, go check them out.

In this post, we’re focussing on how to enhance your wardrobe by refreshing what you already have or creating new items. New clothes without having to shop!

If you’re like me and you love a bargain, then I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced one or two shopping fails. By that I mean, hems coming down on skirts or buttons coming off when you really could do with looking SHARP.

Why does this happen? Well 50% of the time it’s down to the fact that you’ve worn that precious piece of clothing to death and the other half of the time it’s probably because it was cheaply made. Yup. That’s the problem with buying clothes at primani….they won’t last.  Anyway, it’s a good job you’ve found this guide on how to make your clothes last longer! So let’s begin.


The first reaction when clothes rip, buttons fall off or zips break is to throw them away and replace but it’s so easy to fix them, and even make them look BETTER!


We’ve all been there. Hell, at school we ALL suffered from the issues of a loose hem. Well, the problem now is that we don’t have our mums to rely on to fix it. Some of you now even have daughters whose hems need controlling! Fortunately, unlike your parents, you have a bit of genius technology on your side to make this problem so much easier to fix. Hem tape.

This amazing product means you can do without a needle and thread and fix a loose hem in minutes, all while doing the ironing!

All you do is snip off a piece of hem tape a little longer than the area to be re-hemmed, slide it into the area, and iron over it. The adhesive on the tape melts with the temperature of the iron and sticks the material in place, wash after wash!

For a great guide on how to use it, check out Brit + Co.


Your button falls off, and typically, it’s at bra level. Damnit. You could chuck the top/shirt/jacket/dress away OR you could replace that button….and the rest of the buttons and make it look even better that it did before.

This is where a trip to John Lewis is called for. Yup. Yes they’re great at Customer Service, yes their electronic prices are the best you’re going to get offline, but they’ve also got one of the best haberdashery sections you’re going to find. Period.

Take the garment you have in mind to ‘re-button’ and let yourself go wild with options. Just bear in mind the size of the buttonhole.

Different buttons could make the clothing look so much better as shown below by the AMAZING Tilly and the Buttons. If you want to learn anything to do with making and mending clothing – from the very basics to creating your own wardrobe – she is your girl.

Courtesy of Tillyandthebuttons.com

Another great guide on stitching buttons can be found at the lovely site Plum Deluxe.

Ripped seams

Maybe you ate too much? Or you wore a bra that gave too much ‘oomph’? Or you simply caught what you were wearing on something and it ripped? If it’s along a seam, then it’s very easy to mend. You just need a needle and thread that matches the colour of the fabric.

Cut a length of thread, thread it through the needle until it’s halfway through and tie both ends together several times over so you end up with a big thick knot. Then when you stitch it through the clothing, each stitch will be twice as secure. For tips on how to sew different items, check out this great article from thespruce.com.

Fixing faded clothing

It’s so easy to pick out a person’s favourite clothing. For me, it’s black skinny jeans. I wear them to death, and with a 2 year old, I spend a lot of time chasing him around on all fours so the knees are pretty worn. Rather than replace them, a quick cycle with some black fabric dye makes them as good as new.


Did you know you could even do that to clothes? If you’re like me and you’ve done some proper damage to a lot of the wardrobe by using the tumble dryer too often, then you should read this guide from the Tips Bulletin. It covers every type of material and there’s a lot of great advice in there.

But it’s not just a case of mending, dye is great for making clothes look better and that brings me nicely on to my next section on how to enhance your wardrobe even further….


A few years ago I bought a royal blue dress off of eBay. It was from Oasis, it fit me well but it was very frilly and bright and I wore it once.

A few months ago, I used fabric dye to change it to black and now I have a dress I love that’s just the right level of understated, that I can wear for work and out and it’s bang on trend with it’s frilliness.  And it probably cost me little more than 20 quid.

But that’s not the only way to make your existing wardrobe look even better.

Cut offs

If you’re shorter than average like me, you have a great advantage as you can buy long length clothes and make them edgey by cutting them to the length you need and fraying the ends.

This is very simple to do. Just cut to the length you need with fabric scissors, or super sharp kitchen scissors, and then pull at loose threads to create more of a frayed effect.

For a more detailed account of how to do it, check out InStyle’s guide here.

Sequins and embellishment

Slogan tees are hot right now but there aren’t that many in the high street so if you find one, chances are you’ll meet someone wearing the same thing pretty quickly. So, why not create something of your very own?

It’s so simple that I first did it when I was 12 years old. Simply get a t-shirt that you like, a long length of sequin trim and some fabric glue. Then, and this is the most crucial stage, find a SIMPLE pattern or phrase that you’d like to spell out on the top.

Draw it out on a sheet of A4 paper (any bigger and it’ll be too big for the top), cut out the shape and then use that as a guide, by placing it on the tee. Using a fine pen, draw out the pattern and then starting at one end start to glue on the sequin trim. You may need several layers to create the desired effect. Once complete, use a needle and thread to stitch a few key sequins in place to secure the embellishment, and then you’re done.

Another way of doing this, and with slightly larger sequins, can be shown by the lovely A Pair and a Spare here.

And if sparkle isn’t your thing, you can do simple embellishment of clothing to MATCH designer clobber with my save or splurge guide here. How to enhance your wardrobe (and trick people into thinking you’ve spent a fortune!).

Finally, there are plenty of ways to extend the life of your wardrobe just by pairing oldish clothes with new accessories. Becky Goddard-Hill over at Family-Budgeting.co.uk has a fab guide here that’s well worth reading.

So next time you’re tempted to throw something away because you think it’s past it, and pull out the credit card, see if your creativity can save you a bit of money.