Can’t Mend It? Where To Next…

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What about those items we can't mend?


Sometimes a mend it beyond our skill, beyond the time and effort we have to invest or maybe the garment is really just 'past it'. We can't and shouldn't try to mend everything - your time and energy is precious. Equally, landfill is not a great option for these garments. So, here are some options to consider before throwing your garment in the trash.


Here are some ideas to consider:


  1. Pay a Professional

For higher quality items that you still love and will wear, consider paying a professional Clothing Repair and Alteration service. This can be a great option and are often reasonably priced. I would definitely consider paying a professional for specialist and more complex repairs such as replacing a zipper or a jacket lining for example. They can also alter clothing for a better fit, which can be the key to keeping and loving your clothes long term.


2. Upskill Your Mending Game

Learning and improving is always a great use of time. Could you mend the garment if you learned a new skill? Can you take a class, find a great mending book or learn from someone you know?


3. Upcycle

This is great for damaged garments that would no longer be worn or are too far gone. Salvaging the 'good' fabric for an upcycling project can keep it from landfill and find it a new life. Many of these projects do require an interest/ability to sew - but not all. Here are some of my favourite ways to reuse garments:

  • cut t-shirts into thin strips to use as ribbon for gifts
  • cut jeans and shirts into patches to repair other garments
  • make reusable makeup wipes
  • sew into Bento Bags

I have saved lots of fabulous fabric upcycling ideas together on one Pinterest board - view my Fabric Upcycling Ideas board here

I'm keen to try the Reusable Tea Bag project next!


T-shirt cut into strips to use as ribbon; upcycle

T-shirt cut into strips to use as ribbon

Old clothing used to make bags; upcycling

Clothing used to make Bento Bags.

Old clothing used to make bags; upcycling

4. Recycle

The availability of textile recycling varies greatly worldwide. Here in New Zealand there is very little. If you do have access to textile recycling, ask some questions about what types of textiles can be accepted. Many of our garments are made from mixtures of fibres, which makes recycling more challenging and may exclude them from a recycling option. Also, I hope to see more companies offering Take Back schemes in the future as well. How great would it be to see retailers taking responsibility for turning their worn garments into something new.

We need better and more readily available textile recycling options. This is something I hope to see more of in the future.


These current options are not good enough for our planet. Textile recycling needs to be more readily available and clothing manufacturers need to take more responsibility for the end of life of their garments. However, as we wait for legislation and action to catch up - here are 4 options for moving damaged clothing out of your wardrobe while also keeping them out of landfill.


Do you have some other suggestions? Let me know! ()



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