Replacing a pair of go-to jeans that suffer from some spotty distressing, or those sliiightly dirty canvas sneakers which have carried you just about everywhere for the past four years, isn't as easy as just buying a new item. Your favorite clothes have lived so much of your life -- the nostalgia is strong with them. The hacks below will help you greatly extend the lifecycle of timeworn clothing, and most of them can be executed with items you (probably) already have lying around your apartment.
1. Save your jeans with... sandpaper
What you need: 220 grit sandpaper.
What it does: Uniformly distressed old denim.
If you have an old pair of beat up jeans, don't throw 'em out! It takes years to get that sort of lived-in feel/look, and there is a ton of folks who would pay top dollar to get their hands on a faux pair. Instead, wrap a piece of sandpaper around a deck of cards, notebook, etc. and even out/add to the shading and distressing on other areas of the pants. This works best when done on a flat surface while using ultra-abrasive 220 grit sandpaper.
2. Brighten your canvas sneakers
What you need: Baking soda, white vinegar, and a toothbrush.
What it does: Cleans dirt, smudges, scuffs, etc. from canvas sneakers.
Before doing anything, remove the shoelaces and let the shoes soak in lukewarm water. Once that's done, mix one tablespoon of hot water, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and one tablespoon of baking soda until it reaches a paste-like consistency (if you need more, just up the measurements). Using a toothbrush, work the paste into the canvas and rubber in circular motions. Then, under lukewarm water, rinse the shoes thoroughly. Repeat if there a few particularly pesky stains.
3. Shave your sweater
What you need: A disposable razor.
What it does: Removes pills from sweaters, jackets, blankets, and just about everything else.
Over time, knitwear fibers begin to push out from the surface of the cloth, and abrasion causes the fibers to develop into small, spherical bundles on the surface of the garment. To remove these balls of fuzz, lay the cloth you're de-pilling on a flat surface and hold it tightly with one hand. With a new razor, use short, quick strokes to remove all the fuzz. You don't want to press too hard since it is possible to cut the fabric with a sharp blade. This'll work on your chunkiest of winter sweaters and/or those light knits you break out for a warm weather night.
4. Turn a pair of old pants into shorts (without using a needle and thread)
What you need: Scissors, 1" of fusible webbing tape (can be found at any fabric or crafts store or online), an iron, and a piece of chalk/pencil.
What it does: Turns a pair of denim, chinos, or trousers into shorts without having to sew anything.
1. If you have a pair of shorts that fit you, use those as your guide, adding two extra inches of fabric to the length. Mark the area with a piece of chalk/pencil.
If you do not have a pair of shorts readily available, put the pants on and determine where you want the shorts to end (ideally, they should be two or three inches above your knee). Add an extra two inches of fabric to your desired length and mark the spot.
2. Fold the pants in half lengthwise on a flat surface and, using a ruler and the same chalk/pencil, extend the line from the mark you made in the first step all the way across. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut through both pant legs. Use the leg opening seam from the bottom half of the pants as a guide to make sure your cut is straight. Match 'em up, and make whatever slight alterations are needed.
3. Decide if you want them cuffed or not. If you do, fold the cuff up and attach them to the pants with the fusible webbing tape. Then use an iron to seal the cuff down. Rather not have a cuff? Repeat the same process but, instead of folding the extra fabric up, fold and tuck it inside the shorts. Proceed to wear shorts stylishly.
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