Make Do and Mend

How some simple sewing skills can help you re-love your wardrobe

Listen I’m no seamstress; I’ve never been near a sewing machine and I’m a bit too reliant on a tube of craft glue but my trusty white sewing box has been my side since uni and has made many an ill-fitting Primark dress look bang on.

Ok so it might be blindingly obvious but having a few fix-up skills in your locker can help you make the most of your clothes and can even save some from the certain fate of the charity shop pile. I’m 5ft 2 so things not fitting has been a life-long problem, and for as long as I can remember Wundaweb has been a good friend of mine. I have used Wundaweb* on trousers, skirts, dresses and most recently a a £189 sequin Hasan Hejazi dress I won (I’d have had that altered professionally but I was desperate to wear it & lockdown is a bitch). I know you might be worried you’ll ruin stuff but it’s only scary the first time and it means you can easily switch something up that you might have bought and then not bothered with because it was a bit too long (so basically anything from Zara).

*Top tip: if you mess up with the wundaweb, wet a towel, hold it over the offending area, steam it with the iron and it will peel off.

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I’ve no doubt there’ll be plenty of people who will turn their nose up at some textile DIY but I’ve no such airs and graces. I can’t afford to be hot footing it to a tailor all the time. In addition to being short, I also have tiny boobs. Which means I’m overly familiar with gaping and strappy tops are always just a bit too strappy. The easiest way to fix it is to tie a tiny knot in the straps which takes them up just enough with minimal effort. If the straps are a bit thicker, I fold them over slightly and sew them down. Takes all of ten minutes and keeps things concealed.

Dresses that are too loose but look crap with a belt? I tack some ribbon on to the sides and tie it behind my back to cinch the waist a little. And trousers that I loved but couldn’t find in my size? I’ve taken them in by moving the button or have bought hook and bar fasteners and sewed them on myself.

I realise this hasn’t been the most pithy of blog posts but I just wanted to show that you don’t need to discount your clothes on the basis of them not fitting exactly as you want. With some very basic know how and a bit of improvising you can make something work much better for you. It also means you can save money by being able to buy stuff in the sales or second hand. Most recently I got a pair of Topshop jeans on Depop. I knew they were the wrong length but was more than happy to take my sewing scissors to them and leave them with a raw hem.

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Now I know this kind of thing isn’t for everyone, it’s a bit too bargain basement and that’s fine. But I also know there are clothes languishing in wardrobes unloved and unworn because they need a tiny bit of TLC. It’s no harder than DIY tie-dye and everyone went wild for that!

So I’m just saying before you bag up those things that don’t quite fit, consider getting a simple sewing kit and some decent scissors & seeing if you can’t give them a new lease of life. It’s way more satisfying than wasting yet more cash on something almost identical. I see people on Instagram do amazing things with a sewing machine but that’s never going to be me. My skills are rudimentary at best but they get the job done, keep my wardrobe ticking over and help me make the most of what I’ve got. Now pass me the craft glue, I’m feeling inspired. 

More DIY hacks and rewearing on my Instagram

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