There needs to be a complete revolution in thinking when it comes to our clothes and their lifespan...
In general, the fashion industry has a heavy impact on our Earth's environment, and whilst many advances are being made in eco-fashion and sustainable technologies, there's still the big problem of 'fashion waste'.
Did you know that each year, Australians collectively spend over 12 billion dollars on more than a billion fashion items, yet discarded clothing makes up around 4-5% of waste going into our landfills!
Many clothing items get thrown away simply because they have a stain, or a small hole, and many people are unfamiliar with the idea or skills to make simple repairs themselves (and forget there are businesses which also can do this for you, for a cheaper price than just buying something new).
By repairing or upcycling our clothes through DIY projects we can save an estimated 17kg of CO2 per month (200kg per year) by not letting our clothes end up in landfill.
Like I said, the way we look at our clothes needs to be completely turned on its head, and rather than see waste, we should only see opportunity when we believe our clothes are no longer usable.
These easy DIY ideas focusing on how to cover up stains are to inspire you to join the fashion revolution, and theres options here for everybody (the magic words are fabric glue & paint) so don't worry if you're not an experienced sewer, you can give one of these a try...
1. Sequins, beads or jewels:
If the stain is small, yet in a highly visible place like on the chest area, or backside, then one of the best ways to cover a stain like this is getting crafty with sequins, beads or jewels. You will need a needle and thread for this one. Create a small cluster or shape of sequins/beads and hand sew them over the stain. You could make this a feature on the clothing item, but in many cases because of where the stain is located it looks nice to repeat the embellished patch on other parts of your garment too. For a bigger stain you could buy some sequin embellished fabric and create a shape you like big enough to cover the stain and attach it to your garment.
2. Studs & Pearls:
Definitely the best friend for a non-sewer when it comes to covering stains. Studs are super easy, you just push them into the fabric and on the underneath side fold over the four points to keep them in place. Not an inch of sewing required. Studs would be great to cover stains near the shoulder on a top, or on the front near pockets on shorts or pants. Pearls are great for this too, look for the kind of pearls called 'flat backs', and then get your fabric glue ready! Think how is best to cover the stain, whether it be pearls in a pattern or shape, always do a test first over the actual stain, and if possible, mark with a fabric marker where you will stick each pearl and then glue away. The same goes for studs, test and mark before you start plunging them into your fabric to avoid any holes if you get it wrong.
3. Fabric paint:
This is another easy one for non-sewers. Invest in a little fabric paint and you can do wonders for your clothing, even if they don't have a stain. You could easily cover a stain with fabric paint by painting a simple shape over the top like a love heart or a fake pocket perhaps. Or, if you are a little more arty, you could completely refashion your clothing item with the paint, perhaps giving it a unique pattern or design, or painting some words or a favourite quote. Depending on the kind of stain and how big it is will determine what kind of design will be able to cover it.
This is perfect if you have a stain, or even a small hole somewhere on your clothing item where a pocket could look great. For example a stain on the chest, or on the backside, could easily be covered with a pocket (if your clothing item doesn't already have one). It's super easy to create your own pockets and you don't need to have a great level of sewing skills to do this either, however, you will need a sewing machine. You could choose similar fabric or a contrasting fabric to make a statement. We have a full how-to pockets tutorial for you to follow here .
Lastly, if none of the other ideas are for you, you can always cut holes in your clothing to get rid of stains. It might sound unconventional but cut-outs have been quite fashionable for some time now, and when I say holes of course I mean tasteful ones. For example, if you have a stain on the shoulder of a button-down shirt you could create a cut-out shoulder shirt. We will have a tutorial for this coming soon, but in the meantime you could google cut-out DIY's and an enormous amount of ideas will come up. You will need a sewing machine and some basic skills for this DIY, as where you cut the holes you will need to sew the edge to stop it from fraying. However, there's an option for non-sewers too if you do this DIY on a t-shirt, as t-shirt fabric won't fray so you can be more free to cut holes.