How to Salvage Damaged Clothing: Tips and Tricks

salvage damaged clothingGetting rid of clothing may be hard to do when the garment is fairly new or it's an article of clothing you really like.  Sometimes it takes time and luck to find clothing that looks fantastic on you and fits well so you may really want to avoid throwing it away. With a little creativity and some basic sewing knowledge, you can salvage damaged clothing and even enhance the way your clothes look.  Use these sewing tips to get you started and back into the clothes you’d rather not throw away.

Salvage Damaged ClothingSmall Holes

Sometimes a small hole in an article of clothing can suddenly appear without you ever knowing how, or why, it got there.  Often, a tiny hole in a garment is barely visible, but a hole barely there is still a hole that can detract from the appearance of a blouse, or a pair of slacks.  To cover the open area and add some glitz to the garment at the same time, apply a spot of fabric glue to the back of a rhinestone and glue the shiny stone over the hole.  Rhinestones look fabulous on satin and on denim jeans.  After gluing the rhinestone in place, add additional rhinestones to the garment to create a design, if you like.

Large Holes

Cutting pants at or above the knee with a pair of scissors can easily eliminate large holes that appear in the bottom area of the pants.  After removing the damaged area, you can then hem the pants. Consider trimming the pants with a piece of decorative trim while you’re at it.  Although the pants will be shorter, you will still be able to wear them.

salvage damaged clothingFrayed Sleeves

If the edges of the sleeves on a long-sleeved shirt are no longer fit to be worn, make the sleeves shorter to eliminate the unsightly frayed edges.  Hem the edge of the altered sleeves to create a clean finish.  Wear the shirt under a sweater if you prefer long sleeves.

salvage damaged clothingStains and Worn Out Areas

Depending on where the stain or worn out area is located, sewing an appliqué over the damaged area can be an excellent way to make a garment wearable again.  Position your appliqué directly over the stain or worn out area and sew the appliqué on with a needle and thread that matches the edges of the appliqué.  Note that some appliqués can be sewn on while others can be applied using a warm iron.  Shop for the appliqué that best suites your needs and desires.

For a complete tutorial on How to Make An Appliqué, please check out this link.

salvage damaged clothing

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22 Responses to How to Salvage Damaged Clothing: Tips and Tricks

  1. Victoria Prima says:

    Thank you for these ideas! I think there is something heartfelt about amending clothes, besides it helps to live withing your means and thus reduces the stress. I’ve been making appliques and attaching “extra” pockets to cover holes on my sons’ jeans when they were little. They learned from me 🙂 Now my teens would come to me and ask how they could fix this or that spot, small hole, etc on their clothes 🙂

    I like embroidery a lot. Have used it to cover up spots on my favorite white blazer recently.

  2. Linda says:

    I have successfully patched holes in jeans using the backs of worn out jeans. First you barely cover the hole from the back and then apply a larger piece of denim across the front. To accomplish this I open the normally stitched seam (not the flat felled seam) from hem to thigh or higher. Place the patch (on the front) as close to the flat fell seam as possible and stitch with matching thread, then stitch down the top and bottom. Since the patch extends into the opened seam, sew the seam closed and finish with a zig zag or serge stitch. This reinforces the area really well and you can use matching or contrasting thread and decorative stitches if you like. You may even start a fashion trend.
    As for stains, I have painted designs or a picture to cover the stain or discolouration. I painted a sunflower over a stain on a back picket, then painted the stem and leaves down and over the side seam. These were well loved jeans afterwards and it was a sad day when they were retired.

  3. Ella Horman says:

    Thank you for some creative ideas.

  4. ella ruth says:

    Thank you for sharing all of your FREE tips. We do appreciate them. : )

  5. Anne Neikirk says:

    I thank you for your wonderful, clear instructions and project ideas. Love the free patterns. They’ve helped me look at my fabric stash more creatively. goals for 2017 decrease the stash by completing projects! thanks for your help. Love this blog!!!!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Ahhhh! this is music to my ears, yes do keep in touch and let me know what projects you are doing. Share a picture or two so I can place it on out Pinterest board “Your projects”. Happy 2017 Sewing Year! Kind Regards, Mayra

  6. Irene says:

    I had bought a couch at a garage sale years ago which had an iron burn mark on one of the cushions.. It looked terrible. I cut
    the arm protector and made a reverse applique for the underside of the fabric and sewed it, matching the plaid. If you knew it was there, you could have seen it, otherwise it was invisible. Great find and fix.
    Great to save money and get something “new” at the same time.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Indeed Irene, it does take a great deal of skill to do what you have done! Congratulations! Happy 2017!

  7. Inky says:

    Thank you for these tips. Very much needed with 3 kids under 10, lol!

    Keep up the good work – I’m looking forward to reading your site/blog in 2017!

    All the best for 2017 for all you sewists (is that the correct word? 😉 ) out there. It’s so wonderful to know so many people share my passion.
    Happy sewing everyone!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      wow! 3 kids under 10 years old, I can imagine your workload and still have time for sewing, thank you for sharing. I am putting a few projects to support this article. Keep in touch and let me know if they were useful to you. Happy 2017 sewing year!

      • Inky says:

        Sewing is the one thing that keeps me sane Mayra, lol!

        What strikes me is how patterns for kids are usually too wide for my darlings. I guess they’re really skinny because they’re really all over the place all the time ?. I drafted a jeans pattern for one of my boys myself to get a pair that actually fit him the way they should. He felt they were tight, because all his rtw jeans are way too big at the waist and hips. Mama’s custom made pair are his favourite now though! Biggest thumbs up ever, since he can be extremely picky!

        My next project is making my husband sew a pair. Experiencing how much work jeans are, he might finally understand why I keep saving boys jeans with rips at the knees. ? They’ll make wonderful shorts next summer!
        I’m looking forward to your next articles and tips!

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          I can totally relate. You could take a nap but rather sew. Making jeans on a home machine is not easy, and despite of being small you indeed got the best feedback anyone can give you. Your children will become your toughest critics, however it keeps you on your toes forcing you to get better. Do let me know how your new pair of jeans progress, love to see a picture. Kind Regards, Mayra

  8. blewbird1031 says:

    Great tips for us frugal, sensible people!
    sometimes a repair is better than a replacement!

  9. Have saved your tips to my pinterest as they will come in handy. I am wondering if you have somewhere on your site instructions or tips for how to resize a tshirt. I bought a size too large and want to know the easiest way to make is a size smaller. Thankyou in advance Myra and have a wonderful 2017.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Janet, the easiest way would be to sew the amount you do not need from the sleeve thought the sides all the way to the hem using an overlocker. I will be following this tips and tricks will a few projects, so gather some cloths you want repurposing and we will have some good fun.

  10. Kathleen Kelley says:

    Adding lace to worn denim is popular and very pretty too! I’ve actually seen it added under a hole or just to a worn spot on the denim.

  11. jenny_o says:

    I’m always looking for ways to save favourite clothing – thanks for the ideas. I’ve also seen embroidery used to cover small holes, similarly to the rhinestone idea. Fix the holey spot first, then use additional embroidery to make a design that looks intended.

    Thank you for your blog, and Happy New Year!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Great tips, Mayra! I also like that they’re all in one place for those of us who enjoy mending. Happy 2017!

  13. nananak27 says:

    well, duh. do not like the glue-ons either – would someone actually wear a garment with that on it?????

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      You mean no one uses Swarovski crystals in Arkansa, Nancy? I used to have a pair of Calvin Klein jeans that fit me like a millions dollars and I couldn’t part with them, I sewed patches, rhinestones, flags and many more things until I found another pair to replace them. Happy 2017 Sewing Year!

      • Kimberly says:

        Happy New Year, Mayra, to you, and to Deby, and your families! I hope 2017 is a great year for you all! I was just telling a friend about your fabulous website and the wonderful and varied projects you publish – for FREE! – for all of us who enjoy sewing as a hobby. I appreciate that it takes a lot of creativity, time, and care to put together the projects, and to publish the tutorials, and I know I speak for most of your readers when I say that. Unfortunately, there will always be folks around who like to pee on other peoples’ parades, and I’m sorry you occasionally have to deal with that … as if there’s not enough strife in the world these days. Just wanted you, and Deby, to know that you are treasured and appreciated for what you do with this website. All the best!

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          Thank you Kimberly, you are so sweet. May live grant you much happiness. I enjoy a good debate and like when people express their opinion however harsh it night be. It actually makes me try harder. The really rude comments never get published and there has only been 3 last year. Which makes me so happy because the blog is read by over 5 million people a year. But, the best part is there is always such as you that says thank you and let us know enjoys the blog and this is just the very thing I need to keep going. So I thank you because without readers like you this blog could not exist. Happy 2017 sewing year! Kind Regards, Mayra

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