Do you repair your clothes or do you throw them away and buy new ones?

@owlwings (43290)
Cambridge, England
April 10, 2009 6:34am CST
I am talking about simple repairs like sewing on buttons, repairing tears and worn patches, mending pockets, darning socks and so on. My mother would always repair clothes until they were really no longer wearable. Our socks were darned, our buttons replaced, the collars of our shirts were turned when they were worn and holes in pockets were either mended or the pocket replaced. These days, it seems, there is less time than there was and many people don't even bother to replace a button (even if they know how to!) Do you do these simple repairs (or would you even know how to!)?
27 people like this
140 responses
@mysdianait (65056)
• Italy
10 Apr 09
Hi Owl! There are many repairs that I do still do, as long as they are things I can do by hand as I do not have a sewing machine. I still sew buttons back on if they come off and I repair hems (most of them seem to come undone really quickly these days). I shorten things too if they are too long when I buy them. I will also darn in tops if they get torn and they are particular favorites. Small hand-sewing jobs like zips I can do too and still do. Other things like turning collars I would take to a friend who will do them on her machine. In return I offer some other service such as a lift if she needs one or help with her daughter's English homework. Among my friends are several who are better at something than the others and we all swap our sservices as the need arises. I still knit too (if I ever get off myLot!).
4 people like this
@owlwings (43290)
• Cambridge, England
10 Apr 09
It used to be easy enough (so I have been told) to knit and watch television. Knitting and using MyLot is not quite so easy. I recently bought Dragon Naturally Speaking which (it is claimed) can do almost anything you do on a PC by just talking into a microphone. It can even type into this textbox here and could (I believe) press Post Comment for me and send the message. This would mean that I could be doing other things with my hands (no, don't go there ... I mean productive things like knitting!) To date, I haven't trained it to do these things (I have used it once or twice to write comments and responses but, to be honest, it needs to get to know my voice better before I'd trust it completely!)
3 people like this
@mysdianait (65056)
• Italy
10 Apr 09
Oh I am so interested in that Dragon Naturally Speaking thingy. You mean I would be able to be doing other things (like writing something or whatever) whieltalking to myLot? Thank tou for the BR too Owl. I feel like it's a reward for the two buttons I sewed on to a cardigan before responding here. I needed it for work this evening! Alice I knit for one and all when I am without my computer or when I'm at work if the computer available for the guests (this one ) is in use. I learnt at school and have knitted ever since.
3 people like this
@mysdianait (65056)
• Italy
10 Apr 09
Oh I agree Alice! I still have some beautifil mohair tops I knitted when I first moved here over thirty years ago. They are stillexactly as they were when I made them but I wear them every winter. Mohair is so warm and cuddly! They would also have cost at least double what it cost me to make them had I bought them ready-made too.
3 people like this
@Gladys22 (416)
• Philippines
10 Apr 09
we had same situation my mother too do repair and also she give it to my cousin for them.
4 people like this
@xboxboy (5578)
10 Apr 09
i donate them to the wicker man to keep in favour with his burnings. sometimes i go to Hector the local loomtuner and buy a new plaid shirt.
4 people like this
@bellis716 (4804)
• United States
11 Apr 09
I was brought up to do all of the repairs you mentioned and did them when our children were small and our pocketbook thin. I still sew on missing buttons and repair ripped seams but have not darned a sock in at least 20 years. At his request, I put a patch on the elbow of my husband's favorite shirt a few months ago. It wasn't long before he was asking me to buy him a replacement, though. The other elbow had broken through, and he noticed that the collar was frayed.
@owlwings (43290)
• Cambridge, England
11 Apr 09
My mother would have turned the collar! I wonder if that's possible with modern shirts, though.
2 people like this
@bellis716 (4804)
• United States
12 Apr 09
On many shirts it is not possible to turn the collars, especially those with those plastic stays.
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@sawatzky (69)
• Canada
11 Apr 09
I'm in the throwaway camp. Socks, underwear, go in the trash, ripped jeans go to my daughter's denim/scrap fabric pile for sewing projects, shirts get turned into rags, Still usable stuff goes to charity.
3 people like this
@owlwings (43290)
• Cambridge, England
11 Apr 09
I have to say that I don't ever remember my mother mending underwear except for new elastic in the waist. Underpants with dodgy elastic are one of the most uncomfortable things I know
1 person likes this
@umart13 (841)
• Ireland
11 Apr 09
Hello owlwings, I was discussing this same topic with my mother yesterday and asked her to sew a suede jacket which has a tear under the arm. It was given to me by my cousin's husband as it does not fit him anymore. It would be such a shame to throw the jacket away as it looks quite stylish. I sew on shirt buttons myself and I also repair holes on the insides of my coat pockets. However, I do not darn socks as I have too many pairs of worn-out socks and if I see them with holes, then I am using this opportunity to throw them out. Otherwise I would be going to the other extreme which is the obsessive compulsive syndrome, whereby you cannot throw anything away.... Happy Easter. Umart
@owlwings (43290)
• Cambridge, England
11 Apr 09
Suede is very tricky, especially if it's not the seam that's torn. I agree, though, that a good suede jacket is worth refurbishing.
1 person likes this
@bird123 (10484)
• United States
11 Apr 09
Yes, I was doing these repairs until someone at work told me that duct tape wasn't really a repair.
3 people like this
@owlwings (43290)
• Cambridge, England
11 Apr 09
Well, if you use the silver kind it might make you look like a knight in shining armour ... or C-3PO.
1 person likes this
@asianwind (365)
• Philippines
11 Apr 09
LOL! Funny you should ask in time of global recession. If my mom can fix it, but if it is beyond repair like if it too fit... no I would just have to buy a new one The old ones would have to go to the charities. We have a family tradition of gathering the things we dont need and give away atleast 3x a year. To charities or to orphanages.
3 people like this
@owlwings (43290)
• Cambridge, England
11 Apr 09
I suppose that it was partly the economic situation that brought it to mind. Giving to charities is good!
2 people like this
@jazzsue58 (2668)
10 Apr 09
The clothes I buy are so cheap, and usually a speed impulse that I later regret anyway, that it often isn't worth repairing them! That being said, I will repair e.g. school uniforms, since they have personalised logos etc that make them expensive. And if I was lucky enough to own designer wear, I'd certainly do running repairs. I recently restitched some favourite trousers that - ahem - had kinda shrunk a bit in the wardrobe. Years ago, I lived near a shop that designed and sold its own clothes. I fell in love with a mono print dress and saved up to buy it. But something was wrong with the way it had been stitched - the bobbin or something - so all the seams kept coming undone. I know I should have taken it back, but it was the only one they had. Instead, I willingly got the needle and thread out and kept re-sewing every time a gap appeared (I didn't have a sewing machine at that time)I lived in that dress come summer time, until the print got so faded you could hardly see it. I must have resewn those seams a thousand times!
@sharra1 (6341)
• Australia
11 Apr 09
Our clothes fall into that category as well. I have bought designer wear in the past but many so called designer clothes are made in china and are no better made than the cheap stuff. When I was younger my mother bought me some real designer clothes that were so well made they never wore out. I also only wore them on very special occasions. When I was making good money 5 years ago I spent thousands on a designer wardrobe and was shocked to discover that the stitching was appalling. I have had to repair seams etc which in my view should never have come undone. I was not impressed. The fabrics are expensive but the stitching is rubbish. This is the price of outsourcing to cut costs so they can make more money. They certainly charge enough in the shop.
2 people like this
@cher913 (25859)
• Canada
11 Apr 09
i do sew buttons on but if the repair requires more than that (like more sewing) i will send it to my moms or my mil as they both have sewing machines (i do not). other wise, i will use the items for rags or use the material for crafting! (such as quilts or whatnot.)
3 people like this
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
11 Apr 09
I repair my clothes like crazy. I look for the really good quality clothing and I make sure it isn't trendy. So, I make sure that everything is in very good condition and repair. Of course it's easy for me as I am a seamstress and I love to sew.
3 people like this
• Malta
11 Apr 09
I don't sew and have always tried to learn but never really managed to!!! However, yes buttons are definite worth being put back on. It doesnt take much time plus many buttons are simply loose from the beginning (especially the one in jackets I found out), the item is not really torn... just missing a button. Sometimes I take shoes to a shop -- the old shoemaker especially when it needs a minor touch to the heel but the general condition of the shoe has to be really good!!
3 people like this
@brimia (6582)
• United States
11 Apr 09
Yes, it seems I'm sewing buttons back on all the time. I also resew seams and occasionally socks. If it's an article of clothing I like and/or something I know I'll still get a lot of use out of, it's definitely worth mending.
3 people like this
@dlr297 (5416)
• United States
11 Apr 09
I repair some things, like putting new buttons on, and mending pockets,......socks get thrown out, Tee shirts get used for rags, rips in blue jeans i do not worry about anymore, because it is the style. but back in the day they also got patched. When my girls were young i do not think that they ever had a store bought dress, I made them all.
3 people like this
@funtasy (98)
• Malaysia
11 Apr 09
well, sure i will repair it if really a small problem. and i also use my old broken cloth to be a cleaning mop's ^.^
3 people like this
@yiqiha (19)
• Weifang, China
11 Apr 09
I often replace a button when it lost.But when my clothes crevassed I usually don`t wear any longer.
3 people like this
@cutepenguin (6447)
• Canada
11 Apr 09
I replace buttons and fix tears if they are on a seam, but I don't know how to darn or to turn a collar, so I don't worry about it.
3 people like this
@ladym33 (10990)
• United States
11 Apr 09
I have never darned socks before. But yes I do replace buttons, and sew small tears. Replacing buttons is very simple to and only takes a few minutes, as long as you have a button that matches up to the clothing article, or still have the original one. It is also not a bit deal to repair a small tear. I see not reason to get rid of a perfectly good item of clothing when things are easily reparied. However, I have never repaired a torn zipper, I learned how to do it back in 7th grade in Home Economics, but have never tried it myself. I have taken a couple nice things to have the zippers fixed to the dry cleaners. But I would only do that for a very nice item of clothing.
11 Apr 09
i think it is because there is so much cheap and mass produced stuff now - it's not worth the time and bother. If i bought aomething really costly i would take the trouble to mend it. Clothes come so cheap now in some shops that I could quite literally not bother washing even- just buy new t shirts each week. It might come to that one day!
3 people like this
@blanne (174)
• Philippines
11 Apr 09
My mom is the greatest "repair woman" ever because she always finds a way to repair stuff, and that includes clothes. Personally, I'm not a big fan of always buying new stuff and buying a replacement for damaged things for that matter. I don't know. I think it's just a big waste of money to buy another one. It would always be better to learn and know how to repair my clothes, as well as avoiding them being torn or damaged. So just like you, my mom never gives in to buying new clothes as long as the damaged ones are still wearable and repairable. Other than that, she then highly encourages to buy new yet of great quality clothing. And no, I don't know how to repair. I mean, I can sew a bit but it's too complicated then I can never get any repairing done. Mom's always there to the rescue anyway. :D
3 people like this