Hi Skint pals,
Hope you’re all doing great. Today’s post is generally, though not exclusively, for all the lovely Skint girls . . .
It’s time at last to drag the summer clothes out of hibernation, but boy, are they a sorry sight! Covered in fluff, missing buttons, and more crumpled than a binful of sweet wrappers, so I thought that today I’d round up some advice that will help you getting those summer clothes strutting their stuff once more, with minimal outlay.
Sure, we all know that taking good care of our clothes is a no-brainer, but it can seem like a drag compared to the instant thrill of buying something new. Nonetheless, if we want to keep that cute little blouse or fabulous vintage cardi looking as chic and stylish as the day we fell in love with them, proper maintenance is a must. Learning how to fix a zipper and carry out other minor clothes repairs will save you a small fortune over the years.
Don’t believe me? Just wait till you’ve replaced that zip in your favourite skirt that’s been busted for a year. You never got round to taking it the tailor’s, right? Me neither. Who can find the time to schlep across town to drop it off, then make the same trip days later to collect it? Plus, the repair will cost £10 at least, plus travel: a third of the price of a new skirt. Just wait till you’re replacing your own zip from the comfort of your couch whilst watching a DVD – and all for the princely sum of £2.
Here’s a lowdown on keeping your clothes as good as new.
Emergency Surgery for Clothing 101
So many problems, so little time! I confess to having stuck hems up with sellotape (!) when in a hurry – and yep, they invariably come unstuck at a particularly embarrassing moment. To avoid those tape-on-a-hot-date tangles, try to tackle repairs as they come up. You know, a stitch in time and all that … Here are some of the most common repairs that you can cheaply and easily do at home.
Fix a zip: Zips have a shelf life that is sadly often shorter than that of their host garments. If you’re a fan of vintage you’ll be very familiar with this problem: old zips become sticky and then slowly grind to a halt. Skint girls learn how to mend their own. The web is a wonder for learning new skills. For an online tutorial log this one on replacing zips is good and clear. If you’re in a mad rush, with no time to replace a zip, try rubbing a sharpened pencil up and down the stuck part. The graphite in pencil lead acts as a lubricant, buying you some time till you can do a proper repair.
Defluffing 1: You know how it is: you bought a beautifully soft jumper and now it’s covered in pesky little balls. That’s no reason to bin it though: what you need is a razor. Just pull the fabric tight and lightly draw the razor over it, cleaning the blade as you go. Takes five minutes to do a whole jumper’s bobbly bits and knocks five years off its appearance. (If only there was such a quick fix for faces.).
Defluffing 2: Another sneaky tissue found its way into the wash, leaving your dark clothes covered in white fluff? You can buy purpose-made sticky rollers for this defluffing job but I like the satisfaction of winding a massive chunk of sticky tape round my hand and pat-pat-patting till the fluff’s all gone. Kids love doing this job too – they’ll happily tackle a big pile of clothes in return for a packet of crisps.
Shoe repair: Getting your shoes and boots heeled as soon as they need it and resoling boots when they start to look thin can prolong the life of your footwear by years. If a sole is coming away slightly I’ve always found a dab of superglue to do the job in an emergency. To keep heels looking as good as new, paint on a coat of clear nail varnish when you buy them. This stops heels scuffing and it isn’t noticeable.
Weatherproof: Leather shoes, bags and anything else that was once alive still deserves TLC. Spray leather when you buy it to protect from rain and those ugly salt stains and then feed with leather cream every now and then, or good old-fashioned Vaseline. If it’s too late though and the weather gets to your shoes before you do you can remove salt stains on shoes (those pesky white marks you get after walked on streets salted in the snow), by rubbing them with a cloth drenched in white vinegar. For water marks, try rubbing them with a saddle soap bought from a cobblers.
Dye it: Love the cut but hate the colour? If that lemon top looks so last season, just pop it in the wash with a packet of dye. Choose your colour, chuck in a couple of your craggy greying towels too and you’re good to go! Be sure to match the dye to your fabric: check out fibrecrafts for dyes appropriate to just about every fabric under the sun.
Hopefully these little tips will help to get your summer clothes dancing in the streets – and if you’d like to find out any more you can click the links below or sign up to follow this site if you don’t already do so. And what about you, Skint pals? Got any budget-busting clothes tips that have saved you a fortune over the years? Do let me know.
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Photo credit (shoes): inmyhousedesign
Photo credit (dress): natashabailievintage