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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018
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Want to refresh your wardrobe and save money? Here are some expert tips

We went to the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design to find out how to spruce up your wardrobe for less.

Image: aoife


LAST WEEK, WE brought you the latest on why people are cutting down on clothes shopping in 2018.

This week, we bring you some tips on how to spruce up your wardrobe without spending a lot of money.

We went to the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design in Dublin, where Colin Atkinson showed us some tips and tricks.

Spruce up a t-shirt

If you have old plain t-shirts lying around, now’s your time to add a slogan or design to them. And the key is a very cheap product: iron-on bonding tape.

The tape doesn’t feel sticky, but if you place it between two parts of material, you can get them to stick together using an iron.

You can also use this tape (which Atkinson said you can get in €2 stores, haberdasheries and even supermarkets, and costs around €1-2) to hem an item of clothing.

“Any fabric would do,” said Atkinson. “But lining fabric doesn’t take the heat as well as wool, linen or cotton.”

Why is it good to reuse your clothes? Atkinson explained:

Only 10% of the clothes that are made are recycled. The amount of energy it takes to produce the fabrics, to dye them and to manufacture them, it’s a lot of waste of energy so it’s not so good for the environment. This kind of thing is good for the environment.

How to do it:

  • Choose your plain tshirt
  • Choose your design or pattern (use old material to save even more money)
  • If you want a centred design, fold the t-shirt in half and pin the design onto the centre, or use the centre to make sure your design is in the right place.
  • Cut your bonding tape to fit the pattern or material.
  • Place on the t-shirt, place additional material or cloth over it (to protect from the heat), and then iron on.

Cost: €

Patch your jeans

“What often happens with jeans is that the inside legs would rub together and you’ll get a hole there. So there’s a way you can get another whole load of wears, by patching that,” said Atkinson.

“Patching is very easy to do. Especially with cheaper clothes, the fabrics may not be as good, or with general day-to-day wear the inside leg is a place that goes.”

How to do it:

  • Choose a similar colour hard-wearing fabric (not a light cotton)
  • Place inside the jeans where the hole is, and then pin into place
  • Stitch using a sewing machine or by hand

“If you don’t have a machine, get a needle and thread and darn it up and downways and also crossways. That means you are reinforcing the hole and also making it stronger,” said Atkinson. “It’s virtually unnoticeable.”

Sew on a button

Sewing on a button is “a job you can do yourself in less than five minutes”, says Atkinson – so if you have clothes you can’t wear because of a missing button, here’s how to fix that.

What you need:

  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Matchstick

How to do it:

Using double thread, place the button in front of where it was, and place a matchstick between the button and material. Why the latter step?

“This button doesn’t have a shank on it, it’s a very flat button, so if you put the match here, between it, it gives just a little area to breathe so it will be able to go into the buttonhole.”

Sew through the holes about three or four times.

Remove the matchstick.

“You can see that there’s a gap – the button is loose,” says Atkinson. Wind the thread round the gap that the matchstick has created. Sew through this ‘shank’ a few times to secure it.

Go to the back of the button, sew through a few of the stitches to tighten up the button.

You don’t have to use the button that you’re given – why not hunt in charity or vintage shops to pick up some unusual buttons?

Cost: Free

Frayed jeans

Yes, you can buy frayed or slashed jeans for quite a few quid in clothing stores, but it’s incredibly easy to do it yourself

To make a pair of cropped, frayed jeans:

  • Decide how short you want the jeans. Mark the edge using soap.
  • Using a fabric scissors (about €15 – never use it on paper), cut the hem.
  • Then pull the threads away horizontally to show the frayed hem.
  • If you want to slash the jean legs, Atkinson says that a razor is best, but you can use a scissors too.
  • Reinforce the side of the hem.
  • Need to take in the jeans? Use the outside hem which isn’t as strongly reinforced.

Read: ‘We have to get a grip as a society’: Could you stop buying clothes for a year>

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