Extending the life of your clothes

From a very young age I was taught how to sew by my grandmother. I started by adding button after button on a simple piece of fabric she gave me even though people tried to convince her that it was much too dangerous for a five year old to be using a needle and thread. All ended well though and by age twelve I knew how to knit, crochet, embroider and fix my own clothes. A small hole or tear in a cashmere cardigan? I’ll fix it in five minutes and you won’t be able to find it. Sounds easy right? Because it is! With just a few simple measures you can affect the life span of your clothes tremendously.

Learn a few sewing techniques so you can make small fabric repairs to your garments as needed. For instance, learn to sew on buttons or repair small tears or holes. Of course you can always bring your clothes to a tailor but honestly, save yourself the money as it’s super easy and isn’t that what (Youtube) tutorials are for? Here’s as great explanation on how to fix a small hole in a cashmere sweater. A small note: usually a new purchase comes with extra buttons or yarn, make sure to keep it all in the same spot. I keep them in a small box with a simple sewing kit (also great for when you’re travelling).

Much of extending the life of your clothing is making sure they’re stored properly. Yes, those designer wire hangers look great (looking at you HAY) but I strongly suggest you invest in wooden hangers. Thin hangers can put a lot of stress on the fabric and seams of your garment and ultimately stretch out the shoulders. This also goes for heavy pieces of clothing such as wool sweaters. It’s much better to store them folded on a shelf. Also, cedar products offer natural protection against damage from moths and are able to absorb any dampness or odours in your closet. When they loose their scent you can easily revive it by rubbing the cedar with sand paper.

This is going to sound really boring but read the care instructions before you wash a new purchase and line dry your clothes. Dryers can wear out garments in a hurry so it’s good to hang your favorite items to dry whenever possible. Hanging clothes to dry also prevents shrinking. For my Dutch readers, use ossegalzeep for the most stubborn of stains (sorry, I have no idea what it’s called in English) . It’s a biodegradable natural product that doesn’t contain any chemicals or bleaching agents which affect the fabric of your clothes.

I’m sure there are many other tips out there but these are pretty easy and work great for me personally. Of course I’m always open to other wonderful tips. Let me know!