I am a true believer in outsourcing. You want your dress taken in, go to a trusted tailor. You want to get chicken grease out of suede (it can be done!), go to a reputable dry cleaner. You need to fix your shoe, put down the duck tape, and go to a cobbler. If you are not an expert, dedicated hobbyist or otherwise, I recommend spending the money on a professional. In the end you will save time (time is money) and have it done right (this is worth money). Still, there are other tasks that are so easy it is actually more efficient or even necessary to do it at home. All you need is the right tools.
If you have lost weight or if you find a belt you love in the wrong size, a leather hole punch is essential. I love my C.S. Osborne 223 Revolving leather hole punch. It has multi-size hole punchers to ensure a seamless hole. When using a leather hole punch, don’t start firing off holes nilly willy. Measure the space between the already existing holes. If you need a hole two inches from the last opening and each hole is one inch apart, don’t punch one hole two inches away. Punch two holes an inch apart to follow the belt’s design. Side note, this does not work as well with patent leather.
2) Needle & Thread, Hook & Eye
Duh. No need to take a loose button to a tailor when you can do that yourself in 5 minutes. Black and white thread will suffice. It is also good to keep an extra hook and eye around in case one or both falls off your garments. They are also a good idea if you buy cheap dresses. Often dresses and skirts from stores like Forever 21 do not have a hook and eye. A hook and eye is located at the top of a zipper, making it easier to zip up said zipper. It also helps prevent the zipper from unzipping. Again, you can sew these on yourself in just a few moments.
This is generally used for polishing leather shoes, but I love using it on my suede skirts. After a night out, I use a dry horse hair brush on the suede to freshen its nap and dust it off. This prevents unnecessary trips to the dry cleaner, which is extremely expensive when it involves suede. That chicken grease incident I mentioned earlier cost me $45. That was more than the skirt cost (I got it at a thrift store).
4) Tagging Gun
A tagging gun may seem like an odd item at first, but hear me out. Before I come into their lives, many of my clients buy an item, take off the tag and then don’t wear the garment. Often they realize after they have taken off the tag that they will never wear it, but feel trapped because they took the tag off. Unlike Nordstrom, most stores demand tags attached in order to return it, so they are left with a dress, shirt or jeans that have never been worn, but can no longer be returned. A simple solution is to have a tagging gun. I use the Dennison Mark III ® Standard tag gun. Simply reattach the tags and return it. I also recommend having a safe spot for the tags you take off your clothes. How many times have you bought a shirt, threw the tag in the garbage because you planned on wearing it that night only to realize the shirt doesn’t actually go with the pants you wanted to wear with it. You either have to rummage in the garbage for the tags or chalk it up to another wasted purchase. I always say, don’t throw away tags until you actually walk out your front door in the new garment. Instead keep them in a drawer or cute box. Just remember to throw out your tags once you decide to keep the garment, otherwise the drawer or box will overflow and you will be labeled a hoarder by your loved ones.
Last note on this one, please don’t be unethical in your purchase of a tagging gun. Only return items that you haven’t worn.
It is sad to watch your favorite sweater show wear, but instead of donating it, try shaving it. A fabric shaver removes pilling and fuzz balls from all sorts of things like wool, flannel and knits. Yes, the sweater is losing its thread count, but it already lost it, you are just removing the evidence.