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Clothes care and repair

from Sarah Nicholson

  • When you bring a new item of clothing home, rescue the receipt and either staple it to the cardboard tag or pin it to the item before hanging it up. That way, if you want to return it for any reason, you won’t waste time searching for the receipt.


  • If you don’t have or can’t find a clothes brush, make a ring or two of tape round your palm, sticky side out, and skim over your coat or jacket to remove fluff and hairs. Alternatively, use a clean dry sponge.


  • Use an old razor to get rid of bobbles from jumpers.
  • Save your swimsuit from fading and going baggy. 

Rinse after use in plain cold water, adding if you have it a few drops of chlorine remover (sold in pet shops for fish tanks) and dry naturally. 

Do not put a swimsuit in the washing machine or tumble dryer, as this weakens the Lycra and it will lose its shape more quickly.

lady in swimming costume
  • Two pairs of tights/pantyhose the same colour each with a hole/ladder in one leg? Don’t throw them away - cut off the damaged legs towards the top of the thigh and wear the good legs with the two bodies one over the other. (Cut the feet sections of the damaged legs off, fill with lavender and tie onto hangers to keep moths out of your wardrobe/closet).


  • Always buy a bra in the size that fits snugly around with the hooks on the outermost set of eyes. Then, when the elastic gives with time and washing, you can use the inner set(s) of eyes. 


  • Keep small items and clothes that get tangled, such as tights/pantyhose, socks and bras, separate in your washing machine in a zipped mesh bag. You can easily make a bag yourself from a piece of old net curtain, tied at the top with ribbon or string.
lady standing by washing machine
  • If you have stored your winter woollies with mothballs, you don’t need to wash them again to remove the smell. 

Simply tumble dry for 20 minutes with some scented dryer sheets (or a hanky sprinkled with a few drops of essential oils or perfume).

  • A small tear in clothing can be neatly repaired by applying iron-on interfacing or hemming strip on the wrong side. Also useful to restore an area on which to re-sew a button that has been ripped off.


  • Most zips break at the level of the lowest few teeth only. Carefully re-attach the puller and then stitch firmly across the lowest couple of good teeth with thread in a matching colour.


  • To remove chewing gum, put the item in the freezer until the gum goes rock hard, then chip off with a knife.


  • Keep a small bag or box of sewing essentials (for example, useful colours of thread and spare buttons) in a cupboard next to your washing machine or where you iron, so you can quickly and easily make repairs when sorting or ironing clothing.






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