Repair by Simply Cutting Off The Bad Bits

by Katy on July 11, 2014 · 24 comments

I’ve been wearing the same scrappy pair of sandals for longer than I care to admit. (Okay, okay . . . maybe 8 years?) The shoes are leather with nylon edging, and through the years some of the nylon had become completely separated from the soles. I’ve very passively kept an eye out for a new pair at Goodwill, but frankly it was low on my priority list. But I was hanging out at my friend Lise’s house the other night when she asked why I didn’t just cut off the nylon bits.

It was an ah-hah moment.

Here’s how the shoes looked before my repair:

Shoes before

You can see the separation in this photo:

Shoe detail

And now they’re perfectly acceptable:

Fixed sandals

See where I cut?

Side view

And since I had my sewing scissors out, I fixed a pair of ancient pajamas which had torn at the knee:

Pajama fix

Which created:

A) A pair of summer pajama shorts.

B) A stack of nice soft rags.


So next time you’re thinking you need to toss broken or torn items, instead consider taking a pair of scissors and cutting off the offending bits. The solution might be easier than you think.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

nicoleandmaggie July 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm

If only my jeans wore out a bit … lower than they do.


Kate Wood July 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Amen! My poor jeans all have the same fate; inner thigh burn out.


Jennifer July 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Yup – inner thigh burnout here, too! So frustrating.


Bellen July 12, 2014 at 2:55 am

In college we mended the inner thigh burnout with soft cotton on the inside, hand sewn with tiny stitches. I used blanket stitch for a neat finished edge . Make the patch large enough to cover by at least 1″ all around. You can either leave the burnout as is or trim and turn under the edges. Cotton must be soft or you’ll get chafing. Color can be close or bold. Do not use iron-on patches as they are too thick and can easily come undone. A good patch will last a long time.


Linda in Mass July 12, 2014 at 3:49 am

I use the iron on patches but then I sew around the edges. It ends up being a really great solution.


Kayleigh July 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

What is inner thigh burnout exactly? I have never heard of such a thing.


Kristen July 14, 2014 at 3:26 am

Mine always break apart right at the bottom of the zipper. Very, very difficult to fix.


Vivian July 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I just discovered a tear in my favorite Valu Village blouse so I am going to repair it by sewing lace over it and on the opposite side. Lace is really in right now.


Lisa July 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

That is exactly what they did when I had surgery for a torn meniscus.


Sadye July 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Ha! I actually did this with a purse the other day, and it turns out that sometimes the bad bits are keeping the rest of it together. Whoops!


Lilypad July 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Are those Merrell’s? I have a similar pair of similar vintage and I love them and won’t replace them until I have to…so comfy…


Katy July 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm

They’re Columbia Sportswear.


Linda in Mass July 12, 2014 at 3:53 am

I bought a pair of jeans at a yard sales. They fit really nicely except on the length. They were a little too short. I just made them into shorts. The are now my go to pair of shorts this summer.


Angie July 12, 2014 at 9:19 am

The “cut off the bad bits” approach frequently works with foodstuffs, too. I’m thinking of cheese, bruised fruit, etc.


Danyel July 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I haven’t tried darning my jeans, but, it looks like it’d work.


sheri lin July 12, 2014 at 6:19 pm

I reuse/repurpose old tshirts, sheets, clothing (depending on the material) for various purposes. It’s amazing what you can do to save on purchasing disposable products to take care of the same job. Super money saver


local loco July 12, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Your left big toe is definitely smaller than your right big toe.


Katy July 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Nope, just the photo.


Gladys (The Pinay Mom) July 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

I just did the same too with our girls’ pants,since it will be their last time to use them,I cut them to make summer shorts.


Amy July 14, 2014 at 7:26 am

I’ve been trimming off sleeves lately. I wear a lot of cardigans to work, and don’t like having bulky sleeves under them. One Goodwill shirt in particular had cap sleeves, which look terrible on me. Since I always wear something over sleeveless shirts in public, I didn’t have to do anything with the seams. The shirt was just sitting in my closet for a year until I did this, but I’ve been wearing it once a week since then!

I’ve done this to some t-shirts too, just to wear at home when it’s hot and we don’t want to turn the air on. (It routinely gets into the 90’s here).


AMarie July 14, 2014 at 11:38 am

Hi Katy,
Take it from a serious ex-distance runner and novice soccer player of some 20 odd years whose knees are trashed and can no longer run:(, buy good shoes and buy them often. Our feet are one of the first things to go, which in time effects the knees, the hips, the joints– well you get the picture. And diversify and don’t buy used. Someone else’s gate/walk/wear on the support section of a shoe can throw your whole skeletal system off. For hard floors and medical professionals, Dansko clogs are rated #1; for outside walking buy high end running shoes with a lot of support (I buy mine at 50% just by going on-line for last year’s colors). For winter, Sorrels or similar are great. In the summer, Clarks sandals are hard to beat. So, at a minimum you want 3/4 good pair of functional shoes. If you walk a lot (I walk our German shepherd about 30 miles a week and then some, running shoes should be replaced no less than after 12 consecutive months with the distance I walk); mine are less because I am in boots in MN for 6 months out of the year. It makes a major difference in how my over-used trashed feet and knees feel when I am not in good supportive shoes or boots. So that is it for my 4 shoe recommendation—
Yours truly, from a gal who loves shoes and is not always practical—hence my closet full of 40 pair of shoes and boots…


JD July 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

My husband’s work jeans are giving out — he’s had three pairs give up lately — so I cut away the leg seams, cut the leg fabric into strips, and I’m making a braided rug out of them. I saw it online recently and thought that I could do that and I was right. Next up — new potholders out of old denim. When my pajama pants started shredding around the waist elastic, I cut the legs into pieces useful for cleaning. And recently, when my curtains in my laundry room window disintegrated in the washer because they were so old, I cut up a pair of pillowcases I’d bought on clearance years ago and never used because I never found sheets to match the colors in the print. The cases made a cafe type curtain panel and a valance, with just enough leftover to make a tie-back for the curtain and a bow for the wreath on my door.


Alisa July 24, 2014 at 7:51 pm

My son wears through numerous pairs of pants each school year. (I usually buy a second complete set long before spring break because he’s destroyed his first set beyond repair.) I save the ones that I can no longer repair the tears in and then those become his shorts for that summer. I have a sewing machine so I’m able to hem them nicely. I get a lot of compliments on his shorts each year because they fit nicely and don’t gape at the base of the leg, and I’m very happy to tell people “where” we got them. I’m all about spreading the frugal/simplicity word!


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