Mend A Thing: Drawstrings, Jeans and Torn Linings

Welcome to part two of Mend A Thing, the week where we finally start considering actually mending all of the things we have set aside thinking, “I can totally fix this.”

I’m making 2014 a less wasteful year, and that includes consuming less. I love to shop for new clothes and shoes and accessories, so when I get a hole in my jeans or rip the lining in my purse, I use it as an excuse to buy a new version because who knows when I’m actually going to fix the old version. But that’s wasteful, both in consuming new clothing constantly (turns out I’m really hard on my clothes) and in getting rid of the clothes I bought that I don’t even wear.

Mending your own clothes saves you money and saves you time trying to find a new pair of jeans that fit as well as your well-loved/worn pair. Last week we talked about mending buttons, socks and zippers, and this week we’ll be covering how to replace your drawstrings, patching holes in jeans and mending tears in the linings of jackets and handbags.

Replace Your Drawstrings

Accidentally pulling out the drawstring of your pants is super annoying. Also annoying: tying it too tightly on accident and having to cut it off. Also annoying thing that has actually happened to me: somehow getting a stray thread wrapped around it, making it impossible to untie, meaning you have to cut it off.

Replacing your drawstrings is actually super easy. You can often replace drawstrings with shoelaces, ribbon or the original drawstring. The trick is to attach a safety pin to each end of the string. The first safety pin, or the end you’ll be threading through, is easy to grab onto through the fabric to guide through the little pathway the drawstring should go. The other end is for securing onto the item of clothing so that you don’t accidentally pull your thread through, which is surprisingly easy to do.

There’s an easy to follow tutorial on No More Clothes Money here that can help you replace your drawstring if you need more specific instructions.

Patch Your Jeans

There are a few ways to repair the holes in your jeans depending on where they’ve ripped. Here’s my general rule for fixing jeans: if it is ripped along a seam or in the knees, I repair them. If it is a hole, not in the seam, in the crotch or ass of my jeans and would look suuuuper awkward with a patch right there, they might be best used for other projects. I like to use awkwardly ripped jeans for spare fabric for future jean patch jobs. I’m also a big fan of just turning jeans with knee-rips into jorts, but that’s only because I’m lazy. There are also tons of almost-cute projects you can make out of old jeans.

Okay, here’s two ways to patch your jeans:

Torn Along A Seam

Pretty simple. Lucky you.

Torn In A Random Weird Area

Okay, you have two options, in my opinion. Option 1: Highlight your tear. You can find that tutorial over at Design Mom.

Option 2: If it’s small enough, or if it hasn’t torn yet, hide/reinforce it with denim on the inside. Tutorial can be found at A Blackbird’s Epiphany.

Fix Torn Lining In Jackets or Handbags

Maybe I just buy cheap handbags, but the lining always tears! And then before I know it I’m panicking about my keys being lost even though I can hear them inside of my purse when I shake it (you’re welcome for that mental image). If it’s not torn along a seam, you can use an easy patch! Fusible interfacing is your friend! If it’s torn along a seam, just pull the lining up out of your bag or away from the outer layer of your jacket, and sew it shut. See? That was simple.

There’s no need to replace the entire lining, don’t be dramatic and make things hard for yourself. Just sew yourself a little patch like this with a tutorial at Sewaholic.

via {Sewaholic}

via {Sewaholic}

Yay! I feel good about all of the clothing and handbags we are saving. Isn’t it as satisfying as rescuing baby kittens and puppies from the animal shelter? Except instead of kittens it’s your favorite jeans and instead of the animal shelter, it’s the awkward pile of ruined clothes at the back of your closet (which is scary in its own right).

Thanks for reading this week’s Make A Thingwhere we make things with our hands for ourselves or other people we love.

Header by Rory Midhani

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. eeeeee the ones about the tears in jeans are very relevant to my life. especially the reenforcing tutorial! thank you : D

  2. Oh my gosh the random string taking my drawstrings hostage!!! I have had that happen countless times and I could never figure out just where that string came from! Also have you ever had the problem where you leave the drawstring tied when you wash your pants and then it becomes a fused, concrete-esque mass? But not always? Maybe it’s just that washing machines hate me sometimes…

    Thanks tho Hansen!

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