Decades ago, kids clothes were built to last. Even when they wore out, our mothers knew all the tricks for mending of clothes and breathing new life into them. But in the last twenty to thirty years, mending skills faded and the quality of children's clothes took a turn for the worse. Now we have millions of children's clothing lying in landfills.
Don't through it away - give it another life!
Some companies, like Orbasics, have stepped up to create high-quality clothing, like these pants or this shirt, that can endure more than just a few washes and wears. Our children continue to play their little hearts out and give every tiny garment a run for its money. From blowouts to berry juice and grass stains to growth spurts -, every fabric , thread, and notion has to stand up to the endless energy of our youngsters children.
To limit the textile waste piling up around the globe, we can extend the lives of our well-made children's clothing with a few basic skills for refashioning and mending of clothing and help save our planet. With these few tricks for the mending of clothes, none of which require a sewing machine, we can ensure our children’s clothes last far longer than a single run through the mud.
Let's ensure that our kids' clothes last longer ©Steve Johnson, unsplash
5 No-Sew Tricks for Mending Kids ClothesPatch a Hole
It doesn't take long for our kiddos to arrive home with the first holes in the knees of their pants. Sometimes, after a single wear or two, they've burned through their almost-new pants. Patching a hole, especially in the knee of a pair of pants, is quite easy and requires nothing more than a needle and thread.
Mending a hole has never been easier
If the hole is large or you prefer the look of a patch, the patch will help reinforce the mend and add a touch of character. You can color match them to the damaged piece for an “invisible” look or set accents with colorful patches. These ones from Orbasics are made from left-over fabric scraps from 100% organic cotton fleece.
For an easy attachment simply use a fabric glue. As you see, mending can be very simple and doesn't need to include any work with a needle and thread. In fact the gluing can be a fun activity for you with your little ones.
For a fast attachment just use the sustainable glue from Forschur
Visible mending is a practice of adding intentional stitch patterns on the face of the garment. It is becoming quite popular, particularly on denim, and is another great way to add interest to a garment while also extending its life. Many mending projects that are taking Instagram by storm rely on white stitching, but visible mending on children's clothing is also a great excuse to get creative with color.
Stitch a Seam
Fixing a ripped or broken seam is one of the easiest mending skills because we can simply follow and restitch the seam created by the original creator or manufacturer. Additionally, most seams are stitched from the inside, so we don't have to worry about whether or not our work "looks nice". No one will see it! Manufacturers typically use sergers and more advanced sewing machine stitches to create seams. These stitches are stronger, but it's not necessary to have special tools to fix a broken seam. You can check out this tutorial for a hand-stitched seam repair.
Don't worry about whether or not your work looks nice! No one will see it ;)
©Marianne Krohn, unsplash
Turn Pants To Shorts
Growth spurts definitely don't have to signal the end of life for anything in our children's closets. Good-quality clothing, especially when it's gender-neutral, can always find a new home with a younger sibling, family member, neighbor or local charity. However, certain articles of clothing can serve a new purpose for the same sprouting child.
Depending on the fabric, many pants can become shorts with a quick snip of the pant legs. They won't require hems, just a simple pair of scissors to clip off the bottom of the legs. Knitted fabric, like jersey, won't unravel when trimmed. The edges may roll slightly when washed, but many articles of clothing are manufactured like this by design. Denim develops a nice fringe, after a few washes that is right on trend and adds character to the clothes.
Fabric scissors suffice to make the cut, but a rotary cutter is quite a bit easier to use and cut straight lines. When making the first cuts on a pair of pants, be sure to cut a bit lower than you plan and have your child try on the 'new' shorts to see how they fit. You can always cut again, but you can't add length back to the shorts.
Dye It Dark To Cover Stains
Lighter colored clothing, in particular, attracts a variety of stains from the everyday adventures of youngsters. Using stain-remover detergent or stain-treating products on clothes shortly after the stain sets helps reduce the number of stains that can't be removed, but we will never prevent all stains.
If an article of clothing endures a long-lasting stain, consider dyeing the article of clothing darker to hide it. This doesn't work with all clothing, particularly clothing covered in logos, designs or embellishments. But clothing dye is a perfect solution for garments like these pants or this shirt, that are lighter in color and can be fully dipped in the dye. If they are old enough, kids can even help dye their own clothing and get excited about the renewal experience!
Don't worry about stains. Just dye them away!
It's a bit harder to find great-quality clothes for our kids today than a few decades ago, and we're grateful Orbasics has a growing collection of eco-friendly and ethically-made kids clothing options that stand up to the test of child-sized adventures. Further, doing this handful of simple and effective tricks for the mending of clothing that requires no special skills can significantly extend the life of children's' garments the world over. Mother Nature knows full well that all of our trash bins could use a break from the barrage of mini-garments landing in the landfills.
Jen has a passion for pairing her creative pursuits and big ideas to translate emerging topics in sustainable living into actionable habits everyday families can employ. She is a parent, a member of the Executive Team for Ethical Writers and Creatives, and a Board Member and Treasurer of her local library. You can count on Jen and her work to inspire modern families to rethink the status quo because our choices today can light a brighter tomorrow.