3 August 2016

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Lexy here, and I've been mulling over how to make my beautiful, handmade clothes last as long as possible. After all, who wants to spend that long searching for the perfect pattern and fabric combo, sewing it up with love, just for it to fall apart in the wash?

At Tilly and the Buttons, we're big believers in treasuring our clothes, whether shop bought or made by our own fair hand. We've teamed up with Love Your Clothes to help spread the word about care and repair, as part of a national campaign to reduce the impact of clothing on the environment. Here are five handy tips to care for your beautiful garments, and prolong their use:

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Mend those holes

Always keep a needle and thread to hand – especially near where you do laundry. This way, if you come across a little rip or tear when sorting washing, you can sort it out pronto!

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Refresh with vodka

Clothing smelling a bit iffy? Don’t wash it just yet – fill a spray bottle with cheap vodka (or expensive, if you’re fancy!) and get spritzing. Leave to dry, and your clothing will be good to go (and don’t worry, don’t soak your clothing and you won’t smell like alcohol!).

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Freeze your denim

How’s your denim doing? The sturdy fibres can break down with prolonged washing, so pop your dirty denim (such as this beaut Miette skirt) in the freezer. The cold atmosphere gets rid of funny smells, and eradicates the need to put them through the gruelling hot wash. Jenny told me about this one when she popped by to say hello at the Knitting and Stitching show, and I haven’t forgotten it!

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Invest in quality hangers

This may sound silly, but have you thought about how you’re hanging your home-made threads? Using those naff wire hangers that come from the dry cleaners might seem cost effective, but your clothes can stretch and drag over time. Invest in some hangers with wider shoulders so that your clothes hold their shape in storage, and continue looking fab when worn.

Five Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Clothes - Tilly and the Buttons

Get to know laundry care symbols

Demystify those care labels on shop-bought clothing. Does anyone else get majorly confused by all of those confusing symbols on the care label of clothing you've bought? (This lovely top is from when Tilly taught us to Hand Paint a Breton Top). Love Your Clothes have put together a handy guide to figure out what they mean, so you can avoid shrinking that favourite skirt. Check it out!

I hope this has got you thinking about how you care for your clothes. Head over to the Love Your Clothes website for more tips and tricks on prolonging your clothing, and let us know if you have any novel ideas for caring for your clothes in the comments below!

16 comments:

  1. Wash all clothes inside out to protect the right side, and close all zips before washing or they act like little cheese graters on the rest of your clothes. Also, those little colour catcher sheets are brilliant! Using delicates detergent for anything containing Lycra or elastic will also help it last longer, as regular detergents break down elastic fibres.

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    1. Great advice annajosews, especially about closing up the zips - many a pair of tights have been ruined this way! x

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  2. Great tips! I'm always ruining clothes with stains and over-washing... and shrinking. I should really get to know those labels properly...

    Anna x
    http://thecornishlife.co.uk

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  3. My best tip is: skip the dryer! Your clothes will last a lot longer and you'll save a bunch of energy if you hang them to dry instead. And if you can hang them outside, they smell fantastic (at least mine do). Drying racks are a good alternative for inside too. The very best thing about hanging laundry up is that it's a moment of peace outside in the middle of the day.

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    1. Definitely true about hanging up clothes! Also, if you happen to have a conservatory, sun room or even a greenhouse with space, put your clothes on a fold up hanger and pop them in there to dry if the weather is a bit iffy or you are heading out and don't want your clothes to get rained on. Only a small amount of sunshine can make these places much warmer than outside or in the house so clothes dry much faster!

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  4. I recently decided it was probably a good idea to start hand washing a large majority of my me made wardrobe. As almost most of my wardrobe is now home made that is quite a lot of things, but it is worth it for the longevity of the clothing and really isn't a hardship. Once washed I hang most of my dresses on hangers on the shower curtain rail. There's a nice breeze that comes through the bathroom window, plus it is out of the harsh sunlight here in the Land of Aus, so no fades.

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  5. Thanks for your tips - never heard of using the alcohol before! My clothing gets damaged sometimes by a jewellery I didn't bother to check. Especially cheap earrings or necklaces can have sharp wire ends or unclosed eyelets which pull out threads. Long necklaces also rub the fabric on your chest when moving, making lumps on their way.

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  6. The freezing of denim also breaks it down, worse, freezing does not kill bacteria or yeast that constantly make your clothes home. Freezing only slows the microbes down. They will start eating your clothes or infecting you again! A delicate hand wash with soap and hang dry is much cleaner in the end and fairly easy on the denim.

    The vodka would work well on denim, too! It will kill the majority of microbes, which are the likely source of smells, and is unlikely to degrade the fabric. However, I would test vodka for whether it changes the dye, just in cases!

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  7. Definitely agree with fixing clothes and not just throwing them out. I always put handmade clothes in the washing machine time and time again and they are ok.

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  8. Get a bunch of those little zip-up netting laundry bags and machine-wash all of your handmade items in those. The clothes still get clean, but the bags stop the seams, buttons etc. from getting yanked about and tangled in the wash. My clothes are lasting much better since I started doing this.

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    1. Ooh great idea Beverly! I may have to start doing this...

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    2. I use those all the time! Anything I really love, no matter what the label says, goes in a laundry bag. It helps keep them from getting all tangled up around your other clothes, too!

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  9. Oh my god these are such great tips! I've never even thought about the coat hangers I use effecting my clothes! The vodka thing is a great tip as well as the freezing denim, thanks for this. I'm terrible at mending holes in clothes, especially socks! XxxX

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    1. Me too Second Hand Rose, I switched all my hangers when I came across the tip and it's made a real difference, especially for heavier materials like my Coco dresses made in ponte. I'm glad you found it helpful! x

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  10. Great tips. I always wash and dry things inside out, and that helps to avoid the tissue in pocket problem or just random bits of paper (which is my husband's main sin) as you usually remember to check things as you turn them inside out ready to wash.

    I also use the delicate/woollens wash cycles for lots of things. And, a pillowcase with an elastic band can work for a laundry bag if you don't have any mesh bags. I've never really bothered with those, but it is a good tip for delicate handknits that might snag.

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  11. Invest in a decent washer, which has a good short wash cycle. Use laundry bags.

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