Four Broken Outfit Fixes... Save Your Pennies Guide

I did it again. I ripped my damn pants, at the inseam, mere inches away from the crotch of my jeans. Does this happen to you? Well, let's go through four embarrassing broken-outfit mishaps and how to fix them before you throw away another piece of clothing.


1. Ripped Denim Inseams(this seems to happen with denim more than any other fabric)

These rips are desirable...just not when they are inches from your crotch.

My "Save Your Pennies" Fix:


Iron-On or Self-Adhesive denim patches. Found in most stores, like Wal-mart, Target, grocery stores and online at Amazon here. What I do, is buy the sticky, self-adhesive types that come in rounded rectangle patches about three inches in length. Then I turn my jeans inside out, and hold the sides of the inseam rip together (or as much as possible) and secure the sticky patch onto the rip. It looks like this:


Note:If you are trying to close a gaping hole, you may need: A.) More than one patch; and/or B.) Know that there will be some of the sticky adhesive appearing on the outside of your jeans. Don't worry, as you walk around with your newly fixed jeans, the sticky adhesive will lightly pick up lint from your other pants leg, therefore dulling the stickiness AND making the patch appear to be the same color as the rest of the denim.


This saved one of my favorite pair of jeans. It's been two months, multiple washes and they are still going strong. To be fair, I ripped holes in both pants legs, so it took four patches. Yeehaw.


The Professional Fix: Denim Doctors outlines how a professional can fix a ripped inseam:


2. Underwire Bra Fix. Stop it from sticking out.

Ouch! This freaking hurts. Getting stabbed relentlessly in your underarm sucks and has made me discard an otherwise perfectly good bra. No more.

My "Save Your Pennies" Fix: Do not pull the underwire out. Fold over the fabric at the site where the underwire is sticking out and push down hard with the palm of your hand so the underwire so it retreats back into its spot under the cup. Once the underwire is pushed back in place, then proceed:


Now, I have two solutions:

  • Sew it. Take a needle and thread and do a cross-stitch pattern (make X's) across the inch-wide area where the underwire is enclosed. Actually, do the cross-stitch pattern twice, back and forth. I'm not the greatest seamstress, but this method worked for me and few people will see this repair (and Capricorn will never notice, nor care).
  • Tape it. For those of you who hate sewing, I do have a taping method. It does require two kinds of tape: 
Tape #1: Wrap this two-sided tape vertically around the inch-wide underwire enclosure at least twice. Press the tape firmly against the bra material to secure it. You can find this at most retailers (Target, Sears, Wal-mart, Macy's, Nordstrom's,  Carson's, Torrid, Lane Bryant...) Or, order online at
Tape#2: Plain o' medical tape. About 3/4inch wide. Find it at any pharmacy or convenience store. Since the body tape is two sided you will now want to wrap the medical tape firmly around the body tape, covering up any stickiness. This will secure the tape, keep the underwire from poking throw and greatly reduce any irritation on your skin. After washing you will have to repeat this process. Keep the tapes handy.

Fixed an underwire bra by sewing. It's nude one from Lane Bryant (so it's a staple) and I wear it often. Woohoo.
The Professional Fix:Are you kidding me? They are just going to try and talk you into buying a new underwire bra. Fix it yourself.

3. Button-Down Shirt Chest Sizing Issues
Sometimes there is a slight pull between the top buttoned button and the second top button. You want the shirt to fit your body and that top-button is often the source of button popping. Damn, the shirt is so cute. There must be a way to fix it without breaking out the sewing machine, right? Yippie, there is!
My "Save Your Pennies" Fix: Break out the two-sided body tape again. This stuff is great.
To fix a bulging-chest pull: You can achieve this fix while wearing the shirt. 1. unbutton the top-most button you intent to button and place a piece of two-sided tape along the seam of the shirt starting at your second button (which should be buttoned) up past the button hole for your top-most button (you should be covering the button hole). 2. Now, take a pair of scissors or a pen tip and push a hole through the open button hole. 3. Then, button the top-most button and push the fabric of the shirt firmly against the two-sided taped area. This should help keep your shirt in place.
I have a favorite plaid shirt that I do this with every time I wear it. Until those pushups do their magic and minimize that area of my body, body tape is my friend.
The Professional Fix: Not that I can think of. Maybe a tailor would sew in a small snap clasp in between the two top buttons. This one is pure ingenuity.
4. The Tube-Top Maxi Dress That's Too Short
Oh, don't you judge me. It's almost summer and this fashion staple is on sale as low as $9.99 from anywhere from Forever21 to the Bloomingdales. Sometimes, the dress is just too short even though you want to make it work. Or, sometimes, in a more embarrassing turn of events, the stretchy fabric that hugs your chest snaps down as your bend over to pick up the car keys you dropped in the street and you end up flashing your strapless nude bra to the Lacrosse team of a local high school. (That's as much information as I want to give about that certain mishap.)
The "Save Your Pennies" Fix: Pull your dress down, way down. Make it a skirt. These dresses are often fun, bold colors or beautiful patterns--don't throw the dress out just because it can't be technically worn as a dress. The stretchy fabric is perfect for fitting your torso (making it roughly cocktail length), allowing you to wear anything from a flowly tank top over to a cute blouse that can be tucked into the skirt. You'll look boho and in season, not slutty or like a potential flasher.
I still wear that same dress as a summer skirt. And, in completely unrelated news, I don't go near the high school anymore.
The Professional Fix: Unless you want to sew an additional 3-4 inches of fabric to the bottom of the dress and add straps--which could look cute--there's no way to change this without changing the look of the dress. Keep It Simple, Sweetie. (See what I did there? No one likes an insult.)
Short and sweet! There are four of the broken-outfit issues I encounter rather frequently. In case you do, too, fight back and don't give up on your perfectly good clothing.
Lady J
Lady J is a writer, blogger and Chicago Cubs' fan. Find her at and follow her on Twitter at @LadyJWanderlust.
Copyright © 2012 Lady J

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