Green Tip #139: Waste Not, Want Not #1 – Clothes

Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS, is editor-in-chief of where she educates, inspires, & motivates for wealth in money and life. Learn personal finance from a real life portfolio manager. Stop by her site to pick up a FREE eBook, 20 Minute Guide to Investing.

Barb was brought up green, before it was fashionable. In fact, the great depression influenced my her parents, grandparents and relatives to conserve resources. Once you get these habits ingrained as a kid, they stick!

This is part one of the “Waste Not, Want Not” Green Tips Barb is writing for Sustainable Personal Finance.

Let’s discuss clothes and sustainability.  First off, if you don’t know how to sew, learn! You will save a bundle by doing your own hemming, mending and adjusting. I had some old capri’s with wide legs. Ten minutes on the sewing machine (left over from high school) and the legs were narrow and right in style. Wear out the knees in your slacks or jeans? Cut them off, hem, and you have shorts. (Don’t get me started on sewing pillows with remnants for home decorating.)

Check out our 365 Green Tips Series!

17 comments to Green Tip #139: Waste Not, Want Not #1 – Clothes

  • What about darning socks that have holes in them. Mom used to do that every week. Not even I do that any more!!

  • My sister recently dropped off some clothes for me to have since she was cleaning out her closet.

    Despite getting a few nice things there was one shirt in particular that I really liked… it just didn’t fit well on my top half because i’m a lot smaller than my sister is. 5 mins later with some help from the sewing machine and I was back in business!

  • I have limited sewing skills, but I rarely use them. I should put them to use more often.

  • My solution is buying classic traditional clothes that seem to stay in style. The Ralph Lauren (Polo) look at discount prices! My sewing ability is limited to replacing a button.

    • Ya, me to krantcents – and even then I have issues knotting things off. I can do some quite poor rudimentary sewing that looks like garbage but will hold. Survival sewing I like to call it.

  • I must admit I use a tailor when I need to but for the few times I have gone, it still hasn’t cost me the price of a sewing machine. When it comes to buttons and stuff though I do fix those myself.

  • Barb Friedberg

    Hi all for chiming in. Hemming by hand is a piece of cake and FAST. You don’t need a machine for that! But, I totally get that you have to prioritize your time and resources!! Let me know if any of you give a bit of extra mending a whirl. Darning socks is even beyond my tolerance!

  • Anastasia

    Just yesterday I sewed two oval shaped patches on my daughter’s (hand me down, but fashionable) blue jeans. Now they are even more cooler (ha ha!) To stitch patches on a pants leg, open up the inner seam. The outer seam is usually double or triple stitched. Then sew it right back again when you’re done. Really made my day to see that her new-old jeans are cute as can be again!

  • Barb Friedberg

    @Sustainable, In college I made some “hippie” shirts and sold them for extra cash!
    @Anastasia-Great job giving the “how to” details. This sewing stuff is easy and relaxing!

  • There’s definitely no space in my little apartment to keep a sewing machine — my space is so tight, in fact, that during the summer I keep my winter clothing and jackets stashed in the trunk of my car. But I do hand-sew buttons back onto my clothes, or do “quick” handstiches. I often need to hem the length of my pants, which I can do in 5 minutes.

  • Barb Friedberg

    Southern Country Girl-Love that story. I have some great “hand me downs” that look great after a bit of tweaking.
    Hi Marie-Yea, my mom did too. I think it’s cheaper to replace today. Try the Hanes multi packs, good quality and good prices.

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