The Ultimate Guide to Clothing Rehab: 50+ Fixes for Apparel You Never Expected to Wear Again


Freshen up your wardrobe by pulling out the clothes you keep passing by and making them into something that you enjoy wearing again! Below are 40+ fashion fixes that will get the clothes at the back of your closet back in the open.

GENERAL
(via www.laupre.com)
A broken zipper.
There are a number of available guides for how to fix a broken zipper. Rain Blanken offers a guide for How to Fix a Broken Zipper, as does Shannon Makes Stuff. If the zipper is beyond repair, LauPre has a tutorial for adding a second zipper between the folds of the old zipper. If it is a knitted item, try Splityarn's Easiest Knitted Zipper Install.

Don't like the color.
RitDye is an awesome resource for learning about Dyeing and Dyeing TechniquesSuze Geeks Out also has great instructions for Dyeing Your Own Clothing. If you're looking for something more interesting, why not learn How to Dip Dye clothing? Refinery29 also has a dip dye tutorial for making a Shirt with a Dip Dye Collar.

Armpit and Other Stains.
Check out the Only Spot Remover You'll Ever Need from Glamour. Other bloggers have highly recommended the removal recipe for clothing stains. If grease stains are your clothing woe, try Elementary Organization's Grease Stain Fix.


TOPS
Shirt is too narrow.
Trash to Couture has a tutorial for a DIY crochet trim seam for shirts that are too narrow. You might also try making Wobisobi's No Sew T-shirt Vest. One crafter also suggested trying to copy this image from This Modern Romance.  Easily Dunn made a cardigan out of an old shirt that she couldn't stand to get rid of.

Shirt is too short.
Nelle Creations suggests adding lace to the bottom of shirts to give them extra length. Monkey See, Monkey Do! used another t-shirt to add body and sleeve length to a small t-shirt. Cotton & Curls has a tutorial for How to Lengthen a Tight Short Shirt. Discover Create Learn suggests Adding a Waistband to Too-Short Shirts to make them longer and unique. Otherwise, why not Turn Your Shirt into a Dress like Elle Apparel?

Shirt is too big.
Thankfully, this is a problem that has many, many options.
If you have an oversized t-shirt:
Trash to Couture's Mens Tee Sewn into Dolman
Crafterhour's Tee to Tank
If your have an oversized cotton shirt:
Simple Step Back's Quick Refit for a Too-Big Top
If you have an oversized dress shirt:
Cotton & Curls Oversized Plaid


SLEEVES & STRAPS
Straps are too long.
(via www.ikatbag.com)
If your straps aren't holding you're cloths up as high as you'd like, it's time for an adjustment! Learn How to Shorten Your Top or Dress Straps from Sew for Dough. ikatbag also has a great tutorial for making Shoulder Strap Adjustments.

Straps are too short.
For straps that are two short, check out the Chameleon Girls tutorial for Adding Ribbon to Straps to make them longer and fun.

Shirt or dress needs straps.
Learn how to Add Permanent or Adjustable Straps to a top or dress on eHow. How to Bliss also has a tutorial, How to Add Straps to Your Summer Dress.

Straps are too narrow.
Consider adding lace edging to your straps to add a personal touch while increasing the width.

Don't want the sleeves.
There is a great Sleeve-Removal tutorial from Adventures in Dressmaking. Bothered by puffy sleeves in particular? Check out Wearing It On My Sleeves' awesome Getting Rid of Puffy Sleeves tutorial.

Needs sleeves.
Check out Modest Prom's easy Sleeve Patterns for cap, square, or half circle sleeves. For another great sleeves tutorial, try Suburbs Mama's Adding Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress.

Sleeves are too small.
My Life on the Divide offers a great fix for small sleeves.


DRESSES
Old dress to top.
If you're tired of one of your dresses but would be sorry to let it go, consider transforming it into a top. Cotton & Curls describes how she converted her dress into a shirt in front long in back top. Get inspired by a Springtime Dress Refashion where cutting and hemming makes a fantastic shirt.


SKIRTS
Skirt too long.
(via www.elementalcarbon.blogspot.com)
This seems like this would be an easy fix if you cut the skirt (and any lining) to the right length and then hem it. However, this isn't appropriate for every skirt. Cotton and Curls shortened a thicker skirt but also narrowed it to give it shape at the bottom.

Skirt too short.
See Kate Show adds a Fabric Band to the Bottom of Her Skirt to make it longer. Similarly, Elemental Carbon adds a lovely Lace Skirt Edging.


JEANS & PANTS
Jean bottoms too wide.
If you want to get rid of your jean flair, check out Cotton & CurlsLovin' the New Skinnies for skinny inspiration.

Jeans too baggy.
Cotton & Curls alters Tom Boy pants (very baggy) into 70's-style pants with a flair.

Holes in jeans.
Sad that your favorite pair of jeans has a hole in the rear? Adventures in Dressmaking has you covered with her awesome tutorial on Mending Holes in Jeans.


Fixed Sweater
(via www.knitpicks.com)
SWEATERS
Hole in sweater.
Check out the Easy Sweater Fix suggestions on the Martha Stewart site. For the Unraveling Knit Sweater, Ms Lindz Knits offers a wonderful thorough tutorial for a knit fix. There is also a faster fix suggested on the Knit Picks site.


SHOES
Salt stains off boots.
This eHow article tells you How to Get Salt Stains off Boots.

Shoes are uncomfortable.
WikiHow has some suggestions for how to Fix Hurting Feet.

Other.
There is a great article on LearnVest that details Easy, Inexpensive Shoe Fixes. These include scuffed shoes, worn-down heels, smooth and slippery shoes, and shoes that are too tight or uncomfortable.


If you are unable to find the right fix-up for an old favorite, get creative. You might not be able to wear the item again, but it could easily become a favorite bag, pillow, pair of mittens, or other item that can be put to use.

Something you wanted to see? Something you tried and want to share? Leave a post!

Good luck and happy crafting!

6 comments:

  1. Do you have any advice for replacing a zipper on a dress--and possibly adding some extra width while at it? There was a dress shop going out of business near my home and I found a gorgeous dress for $30! It fit fine when I tried it on in the dressing room, but when I took it home, I couldn't get the zipper to work. The zipper is stuck, and I had bought the dress knowing that it was a little tight (I figured it could assist me in my fitness goal). If I try to replace the zipper, I know it will go down a size or more (and consequently only fit my twelve-year-old on-edge-of-puberty-flat-chested younger sister). So any tips on 1. How to replace a zipper and 2. How to add width to the dress while replacing a zipper would be great. Because as much as I love my sister, it's my dress. (Mine.)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Loretta!

      I feel you pain! It is so frustrating when the perfect dress is just a hair too small. There are many resources around that share how to replace a zipper, some of which are listed in the post. However, check out this Lifehacker post first in case you can coax the zipper to work without fixing it completely:
      http://lifehacker.com/5975700/how-to-fix-every-common-zipper-problem

      If you do need to replace the zipper completely, this is a friendly tutorial for zipper installation:
      http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/10/sewing-tips-installing-a-basic-zipper.html

      Making clothing larger is probably the trickiest alteration and really depends on the item: material, seaming, construction, etc. If it is possible for your dress, you could add fabric to the dress by attaching the new fabric to the new zipper and then inserting the new piece where the original zipper is. For other ideas, here is a helpful ehow post:
      http://www.ehow.com/how_6968174_do-dress-size-16-20_.html

      Best of luck on your alteration adventures!

      Sarah
      The Fuzzy Square

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  2. Any thoughts or ideas on where to take or how to fix bras you have spent $40+ that have one underwire that has broken? It seems such a waste to throw the away when you pay good money for them.

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    Replies
    1. Hey there!

      Great question! I'm finding a number of sources that tackle unwire problems.

      If your underwire snapped, you can remove the fragments and replace the wiring. Here's a walkthrough about it:
      http://www.wikihow.com/Repair-an-Underwire-Bra

      For underwire that has broken through the bra fabric and is poking out, here are three different solution suggestions:
      http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/08/how-to-repair-an-underwire-bra.html
      http://www.kissmeawake.com/2012/01/repair-your-underwire-bra-in-15-minutes.html
      http://www.makelifelovely.com/2013/04/how-to-fix-broken-underwire-bra.html

      Best of luck!

      Sarah
      The Fuzzy Square

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  3. Any advice for stockings? I usually can get only one or two wears out of them and they're expensive repurchase when it's what you wear daily.

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    Replies
    1. A bit late, but I saw somewhere that you can spray with some hairspray, and if they are starting to run there is always clear nail polish.
      Hope that helps :)

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