Don't throw away your beautiful clothes, mend them!
As soon as we see a missing button, a tear or mark on our garment, it becomes an ‘oh no’ moment. Most people bin their clothes after a small mishap such as this, where the UK is currently binning £140 million worth of clothes every year.
WRAP stated that 87% of these items were not completely ruined, as some clothes were binned simply because of a missing button or a small tear.
Extending the life of our clothes can reduce between 5 to 10% of carbon, water and waste footprints, whereas if we keep our clothes for 9 months, we can reduce up to 20% carbon footprint in the UK.
How to Sew on a Button
Keep your extras. Most clothes have an attached packet of extra buttons when you buy them, so make sure that you keep these for the moment that a button pops off.
- Thread to match garment
- Hand-sewing needle
Place the button where it was lost. Pay attention to the pattern the buttons are sewn in before piercing the fabric with the threaded needle.
Sew the button. Put your needle through the fabric from the inside (wrong side) of the garment so the knot of the thread does not show.
Buttons can have two to four holes: For buttons with two holes. Pierce the threaded needle through the inside of the garment into one hole and back down to the other hole. Sew another layer in the same pattern to secure the button and tie the knot from the inside when finished. (See how to secure a knot below this article: Step 6, 7 and 8 as guide)
For buttons with more holes. Pierce the needle through the first hole bring the thread back down into the next hole keeping in mind the pattern and continue to secure the next hole same way. Sew another layer this way on top of the first layer, but only try to go over the pattern once. You don’t want the thread to make the button bulge out of the fabric from sewing too many layers.
How to Mend a Hole (using the 'Invisible' or Ladder stitch)
- Thread to match the garment
- Hand-Sewing Needle
Assess the damage. Ask yourself, how big is the tear/hole? Is it mendable by hand?
A mend may not be possible if the damage involves the textile itself, such as insect damage in the body of the cloth, deterioration, shattering, or loss. But there are other ways your pre-loved clothing can stay away from landfills:
Using the ‘Ladder or Invisible’ Stitch. If the damage is minimal, then go ahead and fix it. The ladder stitch is a quick and easy method to sew a small rip. It is particularly great in mending denim, cotton, and synthetic. Here is how to use it.
Example – A hole between the legs of a garment.
Step 1. Bring the needle up through one of the edges so the knot is hidden.
Step 2. Then go to the opposite side and slide the needle forward on the same side.
Step 3. Then go back to the side where you started and pick up another bit of fabric while moving forward. Keep doing Step 2 and 3 until you get to the end of the hole.
Step 4. Make sure not to pull the thread completely when taking the needle from side to side. The thread will start to look like the rungs on a ladder.
Step 5. When you pull the thread taut as shown, the thread will disappear.
Step 6. To secure the stitch, bring your needle back inside the garment, and take a piece of fabric.
Step 7. When taking a bit of fabric to secure the stitch, make sure to leave a loop for the needle to go through.
Step 8. Pull the threaded needle through the loop to secure the knot. Do Step 6, 7 and 8 again to make sure that the stitches are completely secure then cut the rest of the thread off.
And Viola! Admire your work!
For more information, watch Love your Clothes UK video on how to mend holes and worn areas in garments.