Guide for Reuse, Repair, Recycling, and Safe Disposal
for Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City of Palo Alto

What do I do with:



Textiles: DIY Clothing Repair

Sewing Kit

The most sustainable action to take with our clothing is not to recycle it but to repair and wear it again. Rather than letting that shirt, jacket, sweater or pair of pants hang in your closet or sit in your drawer while you buy or rent something else to replace it, repair it.

Follow these tips for the top 6 basic clothing damages that with a few tools you or your local dry cleaning or alteration shop can repair. Sewing materials may be found at local fabric or craft shops and stores.

Sewing on a Button

  • Requires sewing thread, hand sewing needle, button, and scissors.
  • This video explains different types of buttons and how to sew them on by hand. If you just need some reminders, this this written Guide for button Sewing is for you.
    • Jeans button replacement/repair guide and alternative options.

Fix a Zipper Problem

  • This guide sheet reviews repairs and avoidance of zipper problems actually calling out zipper parts and typical repairs such as stuck zippers, zippers off track, zippers that have lost their pull tabs and much more.

Fix tears in and out of a seam

  • Requires sewing thread, hand sewing needle and scissors.
  • This video explains how to repair a tear on a seam (the stitching line where the garment was originally sewn). If you have not tried hand stitching before, here is a guide sheet and video to follow.

Patch a hole or fix a tear (not in a seam)

  • Will require sewing thread, hand sewing needle and scissors.
  • Holes can be mended in many ways, this video explains how to with an example of a shirt and this video is on a heavier fabric.

Replace a drawstring

  • Requires the original string from your hoodie or pants or bag, or a new piece of cording, which can be found at local fabric or craft shop or a Michaels or Joann Fabrics, and a safety pin that will fit though the hole that the drawstring pulls through.
  • This video explains how to make the replacement.

Fixing a Hem

  • Requires sewing thread, hand sewing needle and scissors.
  • Most all garments have hems, they all look different and this video explains them and how to repair them.

Tips and hacks on how to repair, remake and refresh your clothes to make them last longer.

Produced in partnership with CPSC.

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