Money Saving ‘Make Do and Mend’ Fashion Tips

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We’re all clutching our purses a bit tighter this year, especially after over indulging a bit at Christmas. We can’t necessarily afford to buy the latest and greatest in the fashion world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have it. Thanks to the return of the ‘Make do and mend’ motto, any of your old clothes and accessories can be made to look brand new. Everything from an old pair of curtains to a broken watch can be mended, up-cycled and made into something catwalk worthy.

The Basics

Before you start turning your frocks into designer dresses, it is important to learn the basics. Here are a few things you need to know, if you want to make do and mend your wardrobe:

  • How to sew – It may be worth going to a sewing class or two, before tackling some of the most difficult stuff. If you know how to thread a needle and basic stitching, you should be fine. There are some great sewing tips and tricks to be found on the internet; give them a try.
  • Fix a hem – Turn up the loose hem so that it matches with the rest of the material. Iron the hem flat to make it easier to sew. Either use a sewing machine or a needle and thread to create small stitches along the hemline. This method can be used for bits of hem that have come away or to completely re-hem an item.
  • Ironing on patches or transfers – Once the patch or transfer has been placed, cover with a thin tea towel and press your iron over it for around 15 seconds. Remember to have all items on a heat resistant surface, like an ironing board. Most transfers will come with instructions, so double check before starting.
  • Sewing on buttons and other items – Lastly, you need to know how to sew things like buttons and sequins onto your garments. Your newfound sewing knowledge should make this pretty easy.

Dresses and Skirts

The best way to make do and mend anything like a dress or skirt is by re-hemming. Longer items can be given a new lease of life by turning up the hem and making shorter. We’re not suggesting you make your already-tiny-dress explicit; stick with turning long and mid-length styles into midi and mini dresses. Long summer dresses can be turned into night time party dresses, and old pencil skirts can be turned into dinner date material. To add something a bit extra special use your sequin sewing skills to add sparkle.

Trousers and Jeans

One of the most used make do and mend tip involves turning jeans and trousers into shorts. Grunge chic cutoff shorts can be made using a pair of old jeans, no sewing required! You don’t need to battle with the hem, because they’re supposed to look messy. Simply take a pair of fabric scissors and cut. Make sure you match up the legs to get an even look. Nicer trousers can be turned into summer shorts by being cut and then re-hemmed at a length that you’re happy with.


Finally, you can make do and mend your accessories too. Okay, so the Michael Kors may need a professional on site watch repair service if it starts playing up, but everything else should be mendable at home. You can even make your own jewellery with bits and pieces you find lying around. This is called up-cycling and is all the rage this year! Give it a go and add some bling to your new clothes!

There are a whole range of make do and mend websites that will help with further inspiration for your new money saving lifestyle. So now pop on your headscarf and roll up your sleeves – this isn’t war, it is fashion.

Filed in: Fashion Style, Jewellery

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