My most treasured items are clothing, jewelry, and furniture my grandparents passed down. These items are truly timeless and hold their value for generations.
Unfortunately, the value of our clothes and other goods (and what we expect from them) has changed over the years. Like fast furniture, we no longer expect the things we buy to last over generations. Heck, fast fashion items barely even lasted past one season! This is how I discovered online clothes repair…
The stuff we buy doesn’t last as it used to! And while I try to buy the most durable items from thrift stores and upcycled clothing brands, having clothes in your closet that are a little more fragile can’t always be avoided. I wanted a sustainable solution!
If you are into sustainable living like me, repairing your clothes instead of throwing them away can impact your carbon footprint. The best part? Finding options for clothes repair near you doesn’t have to be a struggle when you can mail them in to be altered!
Online clothing repair services that are worth trying
Are you looking for ways to save money, reduce waste, and extend the lifespan of your clothes? Check out the guides at the end of this post, which explain why repairing your clothes is crucial for a sustainable environment and circular economy.
What is mail-order clothing repair, and how does it work? I believe mailing clothes online to be repaired is circular fashion at its best. We have all brought items that are ripped, damaged, or no longer fit into our local tailor once or twice. But how does this process work when it’s done online? Most mail-in alterations work in a pretty similar way…
The first step is to do your research, and congratulations, reading this article takes care of this part! You will want to look for a service that is close to you.
This will ensure your item doesn’t have to travel too far and rack up CO2 emissions from transportation. Some tailors might also have more experience with certain kinds of garments. For example, if you have a vintage piece that needs repair, look for a tailor with plenty of experience working with vintage clothing labels.
Once you have picked your online tailor, you can select the alterations you need to do on their website, and they will ship you a prepaid shipping label. If a garment doesn’t fit right, the online alternations service will often offer instructional videos and templates so you can mark the clothes you want fixed or altered, and the tailor can do the rest.
For example, Tad More Tailoring even allows you to schedule a Zoom chat with one of their expert tailors. I love this idea, and you can read more about them below.
The last step is to wash your garments and send them in. Most online clothes repair services have a pretty short turnaround, and you can expect your item to be returned to you within a few days to six weeks. And that's it. You are done!
1. Alter Knit
Alter Knit, based in Queens, New York, offers many clothing repair services, including de-pilling, sweater repair, suit repair, handwashing, garment cleaning, and knit restyling. While they are an American company, they accept orders outside the US since they use USPS tracking to deliver your order.
Their repair service starts at $45 (this does not include material costs, shipping/delivery fees, or additional services), and you can expect a 4-6 week turnaround time. However, their website states that if you have an upcoming event and need your garment ASAP, they offer a rush service for an additional fee.
Have you ever heard about Patagonia’s clothing repair program? While this service is specifically for Patagonia items, this is a great example of upcycling your clothes. The final product is often more beautiful than the original! This is because they use gear patches to cover up holes or rips. They also have a Tenacious Tape® patch kit which they will happily send you upon request.
When you mail a repair to Patagonia, they ask you to cover the shipping cost, while Patagonia covers the repair itself (in most cases) and the return shipping. To start, head over to their repairs page on their website, click "Start a Repair," and follow the instructions. They will then email you a flat-rate shipping label that includes tracking and insurance.
3. Little Cliff
Wondering what to do with ripped old jeans? Send them to Little Cliff! Their Denim Repair Service will do belt loop repair and replacement, butt and crotch repair, knee patches and reinforcement, zipper repair and replacement, hemming, and back pocket seam reinforcement. Little Cliff doesn’t just repair jeans. They repair jackets, knits, and general clothing items.
Their process is straightforward. One reviewer said, “[The] process was very smooth. I sent the item to them, got a quote, approved, got a preview of the item in process, asked for a few modifications, and it was done and shipped to me. Easy!”
Tad More Tailoring is another great one to have on your radar. With only a five-day repair turnaround, most customers will receive their orders in under two weeks.
All you need to do is fill out their custom alterations form and request a prepaid shipping label which will be sent to your email. You can use their “How to Pin” page for instructions and videos about marking your clothes for alterations.
Ever wonder what to do with old shoes? These are tricky to fix! But don’t worry, repairable shoes still exist! Dave Page has been repairing shoes for over 90 years. REI even recommends them as an authorized REI repair shop for fixing brands like HOKA, Brooks, New Balance, and more. By the way, REI does clothing and outdoor gear repair, too!
While they are based in Seattle, you can ship your item to Dave Page, Cobbler online using their work request form.
6. Hem Me Up
Hem Me Up is the go-to place for repairing ripped or damaged jeans. The first step to using their services is to measure what alterations or repairs you need. They have some handy videos on their website to help you with this.
The next step is to select the type of repair/s you need and choose the type of return shipping you prefer. After checking out, you can ship your pinned items and expect your clothes to be delivered to your doorstep in 5 to 8 days. So simple!
Hidden Opulence is the place to go if you need vintage items repaired! Their vintage refurbishment service is an easy fix for any historic or heirloom garments you’d like restored. They also repair missing buttons, loose stitches, zippers, and darning.
Please note they can only accept those with measurements included, and they ask you to wash your item before sending it to them (they charge a $25 wash per item if they determine it has not been cleaned).
Rugged Thread is an online repair shop for your outdoor gear! They will repair zippers, sleeping bags, tents, outerwear, and backpacks - I love this idea! They work with brands like Mammut, REI, Arc’teryx, Osprey, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Black Diamond, and Cotopaxi.
All you need to do is get an online quote from one of their repair techs, and they will send you a shipping form. Once you mail your item in (this must be done through USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL), you should receive it back in about 4 - 6 weeks. Their pricing ranges based on the item you need repairing and its condition. However, you can always get a quote beforehand!
Why consider online clothing repairs?
Textile waste is a nasty problem in the United States. According to the University of Colorado, the United States generates an average of 25 billion pounds of textiles annually, 82 pounds per person. Unfortunately, only 15 percent of that gets donated or recycled.
The remaining 85 percent goes to landfills… and these numbers are growing! While I sympathize with how confusing it can be to find how and where you can recycle clothes, this is SCARY.
How did we get here? As fashion trends change faster than ever, prices and our clothing quality have plummeted. The garments are usually made from cheap, plastic-based materials that fall apart after a few washes.
Even more concerning is that these garments release microfibres (microplastics) after each wash. These tiny strands of synthetic fabrics often end up in aquatic food chains. According to National Geographic, 114 different aquatic species have microplastics in them… It’s disgusting.
To make clothes fast and cheap, these brands have also been exposed to serious human rights violations. An undercover investigation into the clothing brand Boohoo found that factory workers made only $4.40 an hour, despite the minimum wage being $11.40 for workers over age 25. This is just one example of many in the fast fashion industry.
Renting your clothes and dresses online or thrifting for your clothes are also both not only fun but eco-friendly (did you know you can even buy wedding dresses second-hand?). If you are interested, I have many other sustainable shopping tips here at the EcoHub.
However, owning garments from the fast fashion industry can’t be avoided. Repairing your clothes can help prolong the life of your garment and keep it out of landfills!
A Final Word on Online clothing repair options
Online clothes repair is a fantastic way to prolong the life of your clothing and keep textiles out of landfills. While you can use in-person clothing repair shops, sending in clothes to be repaired online is super convenient and can often save you time and money.
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