How to mend clothes to give them a new lease of life

Author: Christina Summerfield

Read Time:   |  7th December 2020

Discover how to save your favourite pieces of clothing and give them a second chance. Learning how to mend your clothes is better for both your wallet and the environment!

Whatever reasons may have led you towards veganism, we’re betting that your awareness of environmental issues and the climate crisis has only increased since making the switch.

It’s well known among the vegan community that this lifestyle choice is the single-biggest change an individual can make to reduce their carbon footprint.

But with the fashion industry responsible for an estimated 10% of global carbon emissions¹, it’s worth taking a moment to consider other areas where your consumption choices can have a considerable impact.

As with many environmental issues it can be complicated to define the most sustainable option.

Though choosing items made from organic cotton is preferable as there are no damaging pesticides used in its production, growing it is still highly water-intensive: the average cotton t-shirt takes around 2,700 litres of water to produce².

Add to this the ecological impact of dyes, transportation emissions and post-production pollution (an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of microplastics from textiles enter our oceans annually³, many of which are released during the washing cycle from plastic-based fibres such as polyester), and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the various pitfalls in the quest to making more eco-friendly fashion choices.

Repair and re-wear

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated: the most sustainable item is the one that’s already in your wardrobe.

Many people don’t realise the impact that simply repairing and re-wearing their existing clothes can have on the environment – repairing a ripped pair of jeans, for example, would typically save over 10,000 litres of water in comparison to buying a replacement pair.

You don’t have to be an expert, and the mends don’t have to be perfect – but giving it a bash and saving items from landfill can be one of the most eco-friendly actions you take this year!

If you’ve ever suffered from the dreaded thigh split, it doesn’t have to mean goodbye – check out this tutorial and see if you might still have a future together after all:

Repair What You Wear

Don’t worry if you’ve not picked up a needle since… ever. Repair What You Wear is a free, non-profit organisation with the aim of teaching mending skills to all, whether you need help threading that first needle, literally can’t sew on a button, just want to repair some pesky moth holes or have a little more confidence and want to attempt some creative visual mends, like this elbow patching tutorial:

The videos are all taught by a former fashion industry expert and textiles teacher, so an understanding of the fabrics, threads, and best stitches for each mend are explained in each tutorial.

Before you know it backstitch, ladder stitch and blanket stitch will all feel familiar rather than fear-inducing – and you’ll be surprised how calming the process can be (mendfulness, as we like to call it).

Check them out through the links below and give mending a go – the planet (and your wallet) will thank you for it!

Website | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook

Looking for a new pair of planet-friendly vegan shoes for Christmas?

Here are our favourite sustainable vegan trainers. 

Written by

Christina Summerfield

Meet the team

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