Extend the life of your clothes with mending

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Today, there’s an increasing trend of viewing clothes as disposable – cheap stuff that’s meant to be tossed after a couple of uses. Gone are the days of mending and altering clothes, and re-using the fabric when the item has reached the end of its lifespan.

While many clothes today are of a really shoddy quality, you can still get a lot more wear out of them with simple mending: replacing lost buttons, sewing up a ripped seam, or stitching a hole before it grows too large.

I always save buttons and often use them to mend different items, often not the original ones. I have also noticed that, while the stitch quality in clothing is often subpar, the fabric itself is OK, especially if I choose cotton. A couple of minutes’ work buys me months, if not years of extended use.

Many of our clothes are actually hand-me-downs in pristine condition except for a missing button or another such little easily fixable thing. I love taking something that would otherwise be thrown out and giving it new life.

To keep my mending organized, I put all the items in a pile on a dresser in my room. The clothes only go back into the closet when they’re ready to wear.

Your clothes will last longer if you invest in higher-quality items, but that’s not always possible with a bunch of growing and active kids. However, thrift stores in your area might yield some treasures if you have the time to look.

Another way to keep clothes in better condition is not washing them that often. Sometimes, an airing is more than enough to make the item ready to wear again. For me, washing after every use is non-optional only for underwear. Less laundry is also great for other, obvious reasons, like less work and a reduced electricity bill.

Once an item is really beyond repair, you can use it as a rag, make a rag rug, or repurpose it as pet bedding. Some people make yarn from used t-shirts, although I personally find this a little too labor intensive.

If you have a favorite hack for making clothes last longer, let me know in the comments!


Author: Anna

An Orthodox Jewish wife and mother enjoying a simple life with her family and chickens, somewhere in the hills, in Israel.

2 thoughts on “Extend the life of your clothes with mending”

  1. I haven’t made any clothes from scratch in years, but I really enjoy mending. My husband always wears out the elbows of his dress shirts. It’s not possible to patch these invisibly, so I just make the patch a feature and add a lot of embroidery. He works in a creative field so he can get away with fanciful elbows.

    I love the process of making the tshirt yarn, but I don’t know how to knit or crochet. I did use a bunch to reweave a patio chair. The other thing is that one tshirt doesn’t make that much yarn. I usually just make cleaning rags out of them.

    I prefer to buy clothes secondhand bc I can get a lot higher quality within our budget. But this is easy to do in the US, how is the secondhand shopping in Israel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! The elbow patches are a cool idea.
      Some areas in Israel have really great secondhand clothing options. That was the case in the area where we used to live. I used to find real treasures! Today, I don’t live near these secondhand shops anymore, but we do get some fantastic outlet sales where you can get deeply discounted items, new with tags, for just a couple dollars.


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