Old Skills Revival: DIY Clothes and Shoes

Today we are used to walking into clothing stores where there are endless aisles of clothing of all types, colors, and sizes for us to buy. But this kind of luxury will not exist in the middle of a grid down scenario, and not only will you not be able to buy clothes, you won’t be able to buy the materials for them either (unless if you barter for materials with other people). That’s why you need to have those materials already stored with you.

If a grid down scenario lasts long enough, chances are that your clothes will not hold up through all of the tasks that will be required of you. Being outside in the harsh elements and the rain, being involved in security measures, hunting and fishing, foraging and harvesting food, working in your garden, hauling firewood, and hiking through the woods are all examples of tasks that can cause your clothing to wear down over time. That’s why you need the skills to make replacement clothing.

In this article, we are going to learn about the tools and materials that you need for building DIY clothes and shoes on your own as a replacement for any of your existing clothes that become torn or ruined during a long term disaster.

What Kind Of Tools Do You Need To Make Clothes?

Many people believe that a sewing machine is necessary to make clothes, but anyone who is familiar with knitting knows that this is not true.

To make clothes, you should have the following clothes with you:

  • Crochet Hooks
  • Knitting Needles
  • Thimble
  • Seam Ripper
  • Sewing Needles
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Tape Measure

What Kinds Of Materials Do You Need To Make Clothes?


The good news is that there are a multitude of different clothing materials and fabrics available today, so you aren’t limited in your options. Granted, some fabrics are better suited for being processed through machines in factories before being used as clothing, but others don’t require this.
Some examples of different fabrics and materials that you can use for making clothing include hemp, wool, cotton, and multiple other goods that are based in plants and can be turned into textiles by means of a spinning wheel. Of course, you aren’t just limited to plant based materials as well. You can also use animal hides for making clothing. After all, this is where leather comes from.

The good thing about these materials, and about cotton and wool especially, is how you can easily spin them into yarn with the aid of a spinning wheel or a drop spindle. As soon as that yarn has been formed, the only remaining step is for you to use either knitting needles or a crochet hook to make whatever article of clothing you need made, ranging from shirts to pants to jackets to hats, gloves, socks, and more.

You’ll also have to decide what clothing that you want your clothes to be. You may imagine a grid down scenario or post-disaster world as being a very eerie and dull environment where most people are wearing tattered and colorless clothing. But if you want to add more color to your clothing, you don’t have to use commercial dyes. You can use the coloring from berries, for example, to add coloring to your clothing. It takes a lot of practice and skill to be able to use natural dyes to your clothing, but fruits and berries are certainly a good place to start. The coloring should be applied directly to the yarn before you weave the yarn into clothes.

A major concern you may have is how you will fasten your clothing after they have completed. In our current world, we are used to the luxuries of Velcro and zippers, but in a post-disaster world you will have to rely on buttons instead. The good news is that buttons are incredibly simple to install. You can use anything from wood to rocks to bone, and then you need to poke holes into the clothing and tie your makeshift buttons to the other side. Fasten the buttons through the holes and the clothing will be secured over the body.

What Kind Of Tools Do You Need To Make Shoes?

Making shoes is not exactly the same thing as making other forms of clothing, but it’s no less doable. In fact, some people would argue that it’s easy to make a simple pair of sandals than it is to make a coat or a pair of pants.

To make shoes, you will need the following tools:

  • Leather Hole Punch
  • Heavy Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Scraper
  • Shoe Pattern

What Kind Of Material Do You Need To Make Shoes?

As with other kinds of clothing, there are a very wide variety of different materials that you can use to build shoes. Leather and wood are just a handful of the materials that you can use to make shoes, while you can use rubber and resin for the soles of the shoes. It’s hard to think that you can make a pair of shoes out of little more than some of a leather car seat, a piece of car tire, and some string, but you can.

Once a disaster situation has occurred, you will realize very soon how clothing will not last as long as it does in our world and why replacements will be needed. Not only should you have spare clothing of all kinds in your stockpile, but you need the materials and the ability to make new ones as well. Not only will this be beneficial directly for you, but the ability to make clothes will come in handy when it comes to bartering, when you could trade your DIY clothing for other valuable items that you need.

Dave Steen

About The Author: Dave is a 58 year old survivalist; father of three; with over 40 years of survival experience. He started young, learning survival the hard way, in the school of hard knocks. Now, after years of study, he's gray-haired and slightly overweight. That hasn't dimmed his interest in survival though. If anything, Dave has a greater commitment to survival than ever, so that he can protect his family. Click Here To Read More About Dave

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