Prolonging the lifespan of your clothes: how to sew and patch clothes

Learn how to make clothing last with tips on sewing buttons on, how to use sew on patches and iron on patches for jeans, and how to wash and store clothes.


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The moment you realise a favourite item of clothing is damaged can make your heart sink, but fortunately there are plenty of ways to mend valuable and sentimental pieces. Learn how to repair common issues with these top tips on patches for clothes, sewing buttons and caring for clothing.

Have a simple sewing kit with a needle, thread and scissors for sewing buttons on and attaching sew on patches. The best way to help your clothes last longer, though, is to store and wash them carefully with quality products like Surf excel and Comfort!

Sewing buttons back on step by step

If you think sewing clothes is beyond your reach, think again. Sewing buttons on is one of the simplest ways to prolong your clothes. Check if a spare button has been provided (on the care label), choose thread that matches the colour of the garment, and get sewing.

  1. Pull the thread through the needle until each side is equal, knotting ends together.

  2. Stitch an X where your button is going.

  3. Position the button and push the needle from the back through one of the holes.

  4. Push the needle through the hole opposite and to the back of the garment.

  5. Repeat twice – repeat on the other side for a four-hole button.

  6. Pull the needle through the fabric but not the button, instead wrapping around the threads underneath the button six times, to create the shank.

  7. Push the needle to the underside and tie off.

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Patches for clothes: how to apply them

To fix a rip choose which patching method will work best for that item. There are two main types of patches for clothes: sew on patches and iron on patches for clothes.

  • Sew on patches: with a simple sewing kit you can sew on patches to cover holes – just remember to place the patch on the inside of the garment for a cleaner finish, and make the rip even by trimming ragged edges first

  • Iron on patches for clothes: you can do the job even faster, but check the care label of the garment first to be sure it can be ironed (avoid on silk or other delicate fabrics). Place an ironing board underneath and a tea towel or handkerchief on top. Ensure the grain is running the same way – this is particularly important with denim, like when using iron on patches for jeans.

Caring for your clothes

Of course, prevention is better than cure. You can avoid many issues if you follow a few golden rules to keep your clothes at their best:

  • Always read the care label: follow the guidelines to wash and dry the item correctly.

  • Use quality detergents, like Surf excel and Comfort, and follow the instructions on the packaging.

  • Store correctly: clothes that are thrown into a drawer get damaged more easily than those that are folded neatly or hung up.

  • Keep spares: new clothes sometimes come with spare buttons or a piece of fabric.

With a little know-how you’ll be able to fix rips with patches for clothes or sew buttons on, but one of the best ways to prolong the life of your clothes is to store and wash them carefully in the first place. Accidents happen, of course, and with your newfound knowledge you’ll never have to pay a professional to repair your clothes again.

Key Steps

  • Choose the best method to fix rips: sew on patches or iron on patches for clothes.

  • Invest in a simple kit for sewing buttons back on.

  • Store clothes neatly to avoid damage.

  • Keep spare buttons and fabric that come with new clothing.

  • Read care labels and wash clothes according to guidelines using quality products.

Originally published