How to Rescue Torn, Stained, Worn and Damaged Clothing

How to Rescue Torn, Stained, Worn and Damaged Clothing

I have a confession to make. I spend too much money on clothing. I try to buy secondhand, but I get overwhelmed by sorting through racks of junk in order to find that gem. So when a piece of clothing gets torn, stained, or ripped, I feel like crying because it usually ends up getting thrown out or donated.

With two nature-loving kids, our clothes get damaged A LOT. My son gets holes in the knees of his pants. My daughter has stains on the front of every shirt. My sweaters seems to attract moths and are often littered with moth holes. Even my husband goes through his share of clothing by regularly wearing away the fabric in the crotch of his pants (don’t ask me how this happens)!

In the past, I would have just dropped the clothes off at Goodwill. Or thrown them in a box to eventually use for some craft project that would probably never actually happen. But now, thanks to Pinterest, I have a whole arsenal of tools for rescuing this damaged clothing.

Holes in the Knees of Pants

I think that just about every kid in the world gets holes in the knees of their pants. The obvious solution is to stick a patch on it. You can cut a patch out of an old pair of jeans using this tutorial. Or you can use one of the super cute patches out there. If you have leggings with a hole in the knee, you can create a patch using fabric from old clothing and cut it into fun shapes.

A more creative approach for your monster-loving little ones (or for monster-loving grown-ups) is to turn the hole into a monster face. I love this more colorful version of the monster patch.

Another cute alternative to the traditional patch is the use of wool patches. You can even use some of those moth-eaten sweaters to make the patches. Check out this cute idea from ReFashion Co-op:

Recycled Wool Knee Patches

Recycled Wool Patches for Knee Holes in Pants from Refashion Co-Op

If patches aren’t your thing, you can always turn the pants into shorts.

Moth Holes in Sweaters

I didn’t realize how many fun ideas there are for fixing moth holes until I did a search on Pinterest. You can just mend the holes using this tutorial. But I absolutely love this idea from Nini Makes – she covers the holes with beautifully-embroidered moths!

Another cute idea is to create round handwoven patches using this idea. Or you can use needle felting to create a sweet wool patch.

Needle Felting Wool Patch for Moth Holes in a Sweater Needle Felting Wool Patch from GOODKNITS

Holes in Socks

Patching a sock is very similar to patching a sweater except your handiwork isn’t as visible. You can use this as an opportunity to throw in a bold color or funky stitching that only you get to see! You can darn a sock hole using this tutorial or this one.

Worn Fabric in Jeans

The last time my husband wore a hole in the crotch of his jeans, I took them to the dry cleaner and they charged me $15 to basically run a bunch of lines of thread all over it. So I am determined to DIY the next time. Fortunately, Adventures in Dressmaking has a super easy tutorial for doing exactly what the dry cleaners charged me $15 to do.


I didn’t think there was any hope for our piles of stained clothing, but once again Pinterest came to the rescue! If your item of clothing is a solid color, you can use fabric dye in a darker color and dye the entire thing. Or you can get more creative and use fabric paint to create a fun new pattern, like this idea for making a Tetris hoodie or this idea using stencils.

If yours stained clothing has a pattern on it, you can always repurpose it.

Ways to Repurpose Damaged Clothing

When all else fails, turn your damaged article of clothing into something new and wonderful. You can turn sweaters into baby leg warmers or fingerless gloves. You can turn socks into toys or draft stoppers. Take one of your old shirts and turn it into a dress for your little girl. Turn one of your husband’s suits into a stuffed bunny.

The possibilities are endless. Of course, you may end up like me with huge boxes full of damaged clothing that you will never actually get around to using!

For more inspiration for repairing or reusing your damaged clothes, check out my Pinterest board.

Want more One Part Sunshine?  Here’s how:

One thought on “How to Rescue Torn, Stained, Worn and Damaged Clothing

  1. Great post! Your husband may be trying to wear pants that are the incorrect size. When pants are too small at the waist and they drop down, it causes excess stress on the crotch. I know how hard it is for them to think they need a bigger size, but sometimes it does the trick.

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