Longevity: Methods for Repairing and Maintaining Sustainable Clothes

Paulina Kulczycki

When it comes to slow fashion, sustainability doesn't stop at purchasing an eco-friendly item. You see, how we tend to our clothes and make them last is a crucial part of the sustainability equation. What good is an environmentally friendly piece if it's destined for the landfill after just one season? At SANVT, we're all about producing climate-neutral, sustainable, fair, and high-quality basics. And today we're here to reveal methods for repairing and maintaining sustainable clothes, so your beloved garments can live a lifetime. 

So, sustainability in fashion means that your clothes should still be hanging in there after a good while. Longevity is one of the key points of sustainability – buy less, but better, right? While the initial quality of your clothing plays a role, it's equally important how you care for and repair your attire. We've already created a guide for sustainable garment care – you can learn more about it here.

Now, hold on to your beanies because even with all the eco-fabulous care in the world, clothes do wear out eventually. But fear not! With the right repair methods, you can conquer tiny holes, pesky tears, and wear-and-tear damage, making your wardrobe pieces look almost as fresh as the day you got them. And when all else fails, there's always the magical realm of upcycling, where old becomes new!


Methods for Repairing and Maintaining Sustainable Clothes SANVT


Why Longevity in Fashion is a Big Deal

If you're wondering why you should put in all this effort when it's easier to just buy something new, let us hit you with some quick facts. Fast fashion is one of the fashion industry's biggest villains and a threat to the environment. Just in German households alone, a staggering 1.3 million tons of clothing get tossed out each year -- that's a mind bloggling 4 tons a second! And that's not even considering the millions of unsold garments in stores. Now, where does all this textile trash end up? Sadly, for most of us, it's often out of sight, out of mind. But we've all seen those horrifying images of clothing mountains in the deserts of Chile. It's high time we take responsibility for how much textile waste we contribute to each year.

And if you thought you were doing your part by dropping off your old clothes at those convenient donation bins, brace yourself – it's often a bit of a fraud. Instead of reaching charitable organizations and the needy, your cast-offs frequently end up being resold, creating a million-dollar business in the process. So, make sure you're donating to certified and transparent foundations that you can call up, or consider giving your old clothes directly to those in need. And what about recycling, you ask? Well, the state of fashion recycling isn't exactly a shining beacon of hope either. You can read more about it here.

So, it's on us to cut down on cheap disposable fashion, focus on quality over quantity, and not only care for our sustainable clothing but also master the art of repairing it.

Patching Things Up

Patching clothing is one of the go-to techniques for fixing holes or tears in fabric. For this, you'll need a piece of fabric in the same material and colour as the damaged clothing (big enough to cover the hole), needles, matching thread, scissors, and some pins. Before you start patching, make sure your damaged garment is freshly washed and ironed to get that fabric nice and smooth. Position the patch on the inside of your garment so that it completely covers the hole. Secure the fabric with pins to prevent it from shifting, then hand-sew it neatly around the edges with small stitches. Aim for a stitch that's as discreet as possible. Trim any excess fabric from the patch, and voilà – you've gracefully concealed that hole. This method works like a charm, especially on dark or heavy materials.

Darning Your Threads

Darning comes to the rescue when you've got holes or snags in knitwear like sweaters, scarves, or knitted dresses. All you'll need is matching thread, a darning needle, scissors, and the damaged garment. First lay your clothing flat on a smooth surface and smooth the fabric around the hole. Thread your needle and start sewing in a circular motion around the edge of the hole. Pull the thread tight to close up the hole. Keep going until the hole is entirely sealed, then secure the thread on the inside of the garment with a knot. Trim any excess thread, and your knitwear will look as good as new!

Need help removing stains? In our stain guide, we provide you with easy tips on how to remove common stains. For example if you've spilt some red wine on your favorite shirt.

Reinforcing Trouble Spots

Reinforcing materials at high-stress areas like elbows or knees helps prevent premature wear and tear. This method isn't about repairing already damaged materials; it's more of a preventive measure. You'll need suitable interfacing and an iron, or fabric reinforcement, a needle, and thread. Depending on whether the interfacing has adhesive dots or not, you'll either iron it on or sew it in. Start by cutting your reinforcement material into the desired shape and size, then place it on the inside of the vulnerable area of your garment. If your reinforcement needs to be sewn, use pins to secure it and hand-sew it with discreet stitches around the edge. Ensure that the fabric is securely and evenly attached. We recommend going for fusible webbing though; it's much easier to handle. No strings attached.

Methods for  Maintaining Sustainable Clothes SANVT

Upcycling: When All Else Fails

And when all else fails, there's always the last resort of upcycling. Once you've mastered patching, darning, and reinforcing, you can get more creative and completely transform your clothes. Even if sewing isn't your forte and you tend to poke your fingers more than the fabric, you can still repurpose a damaged garment into something like a dishcloth. So, don't hesitate to breathe new life into your worn-out clothes through upcycling, giving a whole new meaning to the term "longevity"!

Methods for Repairing and Maintaining Sustainable Clothes

In all honesty: these techniques require patience and practice. But they can save your cherished garments and make them last longer. And don't worry, as time goes by, you'll get better at it and maybe even develop your own creative repair methods. Think cool iron-on patches on holey denim, for instance. And if you hit a snag with our repair and maintenance methods for sustainable clothes, there are always skilled tailors and seamstresses around every corner you can consult. 

If you want to avoid all the hustle, then have a look at our sustainable high-quality collection of timeless essentials at SANVT. Thanks to our premium materials, we guarantee not only style, but longevity!

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