Clothes are Holes: How To Fix Different Types of Holes in Clothing

We’ve all felt the sting of a fresh rupture in one our most beloved garments. As Stanley Yelnats learns in Holes (a Toad favorite), “the first hole is the hardest.” But no matter how big or small, a hole doesn’t mean that your favorite wardrobe piece is forever relegated to laundry day and late night frozen yogurt runs (or worse – the landfill). If there was anything to learn from the wisdom of Sachar’s coming to age masterpiece, it’s to live in the moment and take each hole as it comes. 

That’s why we’ve assembled this quick and easy video guide on how to repair a tear in fabric of all types:

How to fix a hole in a sweater elbow:

How to fix a hole in the inner thigh of jeans:

How to fix a big hole in a shirt:

How to fix a hole in leggings:

How to fix an iron burn hole:

How to fix a hole in a down jacket:

How to fix a hole in a sock:

Because when you really think about it, “clothes are actually just holes.”

 

And if you’re looking for repairs that go well beyond holes, check out our how-to guide on sewing buttons, hemming pants by hand, and more. 

We’re all about whatever it takes to keep clothing out of the landfills. And if that means sending your clothes to someone else to repair, we’re OK with that too. Learn more about how this works through our partnership with Renewal Workshop

8 Ways to Save Water

March 22 is World Water Day, which aims to bring light to the water effects of climate change—and how everyone has a role to play in using it more efficiently. With that, here are our top Toad tips for saving that precious H20.

1. Do less laundry. We’ve always said “Dirty is the new clean” (seriously, just check out the hang tag on our new clothes). But when it does come time to freshen up, run full loads and make sure to skip the extra rinse cycle.

2. Reuse. Water that you’ve boiled pasta or veggies in is a great option for hydrating your indoor and outdoor plants! You can also make a big difference by capturing water while you wait for it to heat.

3. Grow native plants. If you’re looking to start a garden, we always recommend going native. Native plants are already perfectly accustomed to their environment, so they require less water than bringing in more traditional landscapes and lawns. They’re low maintenance, attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, and promote local biodiversity.

4. Take shorter showers. Easy peasy (you can also install shower heads that are designed to conserve water).

5. Run full loads only. Same tip from your washing machine applies to your dishwasher. And if you don’t have a dishwasher, double check that that faucet’s turned off as you rinse (bonus: if you have a dual sink, fill one side with hot soapy water for washing, and one with cold, clear water for rinsing).

6. Check for leaks. A slow drip from a leaking faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. And a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day (Pro tip: put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, you’ve got a leak)!

7. Cover your pool. It reduces evaporation and can cut the amount of replacement water needed by 30 – 50%.

8. Wear organic cotton. Organic cotton uses far less water than conventional cotton to grow—and it often uses “green water” (which comes from rainwater) versus “blue water” (which is pumped in from lakes, glaciers, and snow). Shop Men’s and Women’s organic cotton clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Organic Cotton Clothing?

We get a lot of questions about organic cotton clothing, sustainable fabrics, and natural fibers. They’re all interconnected, but for all our fellow fabric nerds here’s our roundup of most frequently asked questions.

What does “organic clothing” mean?

From the veggies in your fridge to the clothes in your closet, crops grown organically are grown with GMO-free seed and follow practices that maintain soil health, conserve water, and support biodiversity. So organic clothing is apparel made from organically grown fibers.

Is cotton clothing sustainable?  Is organic cotton better? 

When it comes to organic cotton vs. cotton, the difference is in the production. Conventional cotton uses 15% of the world’s pesticides. Certified organic cotton farming forbids the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and GMOS. So yeah, organic cotton is much better for farmers, consumers, and all living things. Our organic cotton clothing is made from cotton grown in Turkey, India, and China. For us to use it, it must be GOTS or OCS certified.

What is organic cotton fabric?

Let’s lay out some basic organic cotton facts: Non-GMO, no pesticides, low-water crop. Organic cotton starts with non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) seed that’s grown without toxic chemicals, pesticides, or pollutants that can be harmful to farmers and ecosystems. Organic cotton is grown predominantly with rainwater instead of irrigated water. If it meets these criteria, cotton is certified organic. 100% of our cotton is either certified organic or recycled.

How does organic cotton conserve water?

Organic cotton uses far less water, and often uses a more sustainable kind of water called “green water.” Green water uses rainwater instead of irrigation (versus “blue water,” which is pumped in from lakes, streams, glaciers, and snow). Overall, organic cotton uses 88% less water than conventional cotton to grow.

Is organic cotton softer?

We like to think so, but there’s really no difference in hand feel. The only way to know if something is made with organic cotton is to read the fabric details tag inside the garment.

Convinced? Shop Men’s organic cotton clothing and Women’s organic cotton clothing.

S20_Day1_06_Robolights_6D3A7317_crop

 

How to Fix Your Clothes

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: clothes don’t belong in landfills. Wear it out, or pass it on. We’re big fans of using what you’ve got and mending your clothes when they’re a little worse for the wear.

A good rule of  thumb is to buy durable, well crafted clothes that won’t fall apart after a few wears and washings. Next, follow the wash instructions – most things last longer when washed in cold water and air dried. When you come across something that needs mending or altering, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Here’s how to fix your clothes, so no excuses! 

How to Sew a Button

 

How to Hem Pants By Hand

How to Cut a Raw Hem

How to Mend a Seam

How to Fix a Broken Zipper

How to Repair a Hole in a Sweater

How to Repair Your Jeans

How to Fix a Hole in a T-Shirt

How to Hem on a Sewing Machine

Polybags Suck

Polybags suck. Something we can all agree on, right?

We hate plastic as much as you do. But the prevalence of the notorious polybag is a reality we face in the clothing industry. That little bag your clothes showed up in is key to keeping them safe from damage during transit, warehousing, and shipping. Without them, much of the product would arrive damaged and then comes the big, bad L word (aka it ends up in a landfill).

We are always working to make the best decisions for the environment and for our customers, and – real talk – the polybag that each garment is wrapped in is currently our biggest challenge.

Here’s what we’re doing to address it.

  • •Since the beginning, we’ve made our polybags from recycled plastic.
  • •A few years ago, we audited our bags to reduce the amount of plastic used. We made the bags as thin as we possibly could and reduced the overall average size.
  • •We removed the individual polybags completely from all shipments of samples sent to HQ – and are working with other key partners to ship their products without polybags.
  • •We’re currently in the middle of another audit that will lead to less, and even smaller, polybags in future seasons.
  • •We’re constantly thinking creatively about how to get a second or third life from the bags. We moved the little ventilation holes up to the top of the bag so that it can be reused as a doggy pick-up bag or for your dirty clothes on a weekend getaway (keep reading for more on that).

 

CROP_Poly-bag-doodooDSC09692

But what about alternatives?

The short answer: The current alternative options just don’t match up to our sustainability requirements. And there isn’t enough research yet to prove that alternative options are actually better.

Here’s the long answer: Believe it or not, alternative materials (like compostable plastic) are often not as awesome as they sound. Most compostable plastics (this goes for cups and silverware too) can only be composted in industrial compost facilities, which are rare in the U.S. And even if they make it as far as an industrial composter, they take much longer to break down than the true organic waste. What does this mean?

  • •This can end up causing issues like slowing down the turnover of the facility by causing employees to pull out the compostable plastics to put them back in with the next load of organic waste. Sometimes this takes 5-6 cycles before the plastic is fully broken down!
  • •Often the compostable plastics are thrown into the recycle stream where they can ruin processing machines, so in most places the presence of compostable plastics often cause the whole batch of recycling to be sent to the landfill.
  • •Even when the compostable plastics do fully break down, their presence can degrade the rest of the compost in the batch because they break down into a sticky, resin-y mess. This creates poor compost that’s not rich or nutritious for plants (like compost from truly organic materials is).

 

We promise to keep an eye on alternatives and are constantly evaluating how they stack up to what we’re currently doing. And while we’re always working to REDUCE the amount of plastic, here are some ideas for how you can REUSE the bags in the meantime.

CROP_Poly-bag-doodooDSC09711

  • 1) Dog poop bag. Done and done.
  • 2) Store your phone, wallet, and keys when hiking in the rain. Keep bags on hand to cover your muddy shoes before you get back into your car.
  • 3) A simple starter pot for plants: Fold down the bag until it’s as tall as you want the soil to be, poke a few holes in the bottom, fill with soil, and plant your seeds.
  • 4) Scoop cat litter with leftover bags or use one to line the litter box.
  • 5) Hang a cedar closet bag (fill a bag with cedar chips, tie it closed, then poke several small holes in the bottom with a safety pin) to repel moths. Or fill the bag with flower petals, crushed fragrant leaves, and a couple of drops of aromatic oil for an easy DIY sachet to freshen up musty drawers.
  • 6) Fill a bag with distilled white vinegar (a couple of inches below the vent holes), then tie it around your showerhead to remove soap scum and mildew.
  • 7) Cover fragile plants with plastic bags if you detect frost on the way. Same goes for outdoor padlocks in the winter to keep them from freezing.
  • 8) Replace bubble wrap with plastic bags when mailing packages. You can use the same trick when packing away breakable holiday decorations.
  • 9) Use the plastic to stuff winter boots or bags you don’t use in the summer to help them keep their shape.
  • 10) Put plastic bags under furniture you’re painting. They also work great for protecting tables and counters when kiddos are doing craft projects.

 

CROP_Poly-bag-doodooDSC09669

And of course, we’re always looking for other ways to cut back on waste, like by making clothes from recycled plastic and offering reusable shippers. Because just like you, every step we take counts!

 

How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Party

There’s a little football game coming up (we’re not legally allowed to use the name, but it rhymes with “Duper Bowl”) and we’re gearing up for snack central. Since we’re on a mission to find a greener way to do just about everything (see BBQs, holidays, coffee, summer), here are our tips for throwing an eco-friendly tailgate party. 

Checkbox LESS “TAILGATES”

Carpool, public transit, bike or walk… the days of everyone driving their own trucks are over. We’re not here to kill the vibe, just make it a little more carbon neutral.

Checkbox GROWLERS OVER CANS  

Have everyone go to their local brewery of choice and fill up some reusable growlers. OR have everyone pitch in for a pony keg. Sure, beer cans and bottles are recyclable, but reusable containers are where you can make a huge impact. 

Checkbox  GO MEATLESS 

We get it – we love chicken wings too. But maybe, just this once you can try a buffalo cauliflower recipe or mushroom burgers. Who knows, you might actually like it better.

Checkbox REAL UTENSILS  

Hear us out: you can get a zillion utensils for next to nothing at thrift stores (because who needs mismatched forks? YOU DO). Yes, the compostable utensils are better than plastic ones, but they still end up in landfills and take many years to break down. That’s why we’ll always preach the benefits of reusable items. Get a mess of utensils and keep them as your “party set.” You’ll use them more than you think! 

Checkbox RECYCLED DECORATIONS    

Real talk: Those 99¢ streamers we can get online have a lot of hidden costs to the environment (packaging, jet fuel, questionable manufacturing). Get creative and make streamers out of old ribbon or fabric you find at thrift stores, or make a big flower arrangement with the colors of your team. Encourage guests to wear team colors – it will feel festive in no time. 

Checkbox DONATE THE WINNINGS   

There’s a $5 buy in and the winner gets to donate to the winning to the non-profit of their choice! Win, win. Gotta love football! 

Holiday Recycling Tips & Ideas

We know a thing or two about leftovers. From fabric scraps to dye water to using every part of a plant, we’re always looking for ways to capture our leftovers and reuse them (wine bottle bowling, anyone?). If you’re having an eco friendly holiday, keep it going and stretch those leftovers into 2020. 

Checkbox USED WRAPPING PAPER

Unless it’s plain ol’ brown paper, wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. Wrap fragile things like ornaments or glassware in used wrapping or tissue paper  to keep it safe until next holiday. 

Checkbox CARDBOARD BOXES 

Ah the ubiquitous cardboard box. Instead of clogging the recycling plant, stick in your yard + cover with mulch = no weeds in the spring. 

Checkbox  POLY BAGS 

Most things ship in plastic in order to protect them from any transit snafus. Get in the habit of reusing these plastic bags for doggy doodoo bags (a Toad office trick), or save and use as packing materials next time you ship a package to another time zone. 

Checkbox FOOD SCRAPS  

Nearly all food scraps can be reused. Toss bones and veggie peels into a pot for broth or soup. Take literally anything, mix it with eggs, toss in a pie crust and you have a quiche (or do the same thing but with cheese and bread and voila, you have a grilled cheese). Stale bread becomes croutons, wilted greens become pesto, and less than perfect veggies love a quick pickle. Waste not, want not. 

Checkbox OPENED WINE   

Opened wine will keep in the fridge for 2 months, so now’s the time to make all those fancy recipes that call for a cup of wine – piccata, coq au vin, braised short ribs, scallops… cooking with leftovers doesn’t sound half bad… 

Checkbox CHRISTMAS TREE  

First, check to see if your local waste management recycles Christmas trees into wood chips (that’s a great option if you have it!). If not, get an axe and get to work – turn your tree into firewood and use the needles for much. Live near a lake or pond? Wash your tree with the hose (get any glitter, plastic, and hooks of of it) and toss the tree into the lake. The tree is a natural incubator for algae and great habitat for fish. 

Checkbox GIFTS 

Got stuff you don’t need? Instead of throwing it all in a box and sending to the thrift store, think about who could use it and donate to specialized organizations that will get it to people in need. Transition houses, homeless shelters, animal shelters, disaster relief organizations, children’s programs, family assistance leagues… what you donate now will be used throughout the year.  

Happy 2020 – let’s make it the most sustainable year yet! 

Happy Environmentally Friendly Holidays!

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to break out the decorations, fill your favorite reusable mug with egg nog and spiked cider, and hang up the LED twinkle lights! That’s right, this year, consider taking an eco-friendly route to your holiday routine; make your gift-giving and personal wish lists, holiday decor and (new) traditions a little more environmentally friendly with these 5 tips. 

Organic Foods_Image by Ryan Michelle Scavo_1066x696

1) Make it from scratch and keep it organic

Hosting a holiday party? Joining in on the office potluck? Prepping for the annual family holiday dinner? Consider going organic and making (most of) your dishes from scratch with those tasty organic ingredients. 

I love food and I love to cook, but I didn’t always buy organic or make meals from the ground up. For years, as Thanksgiving and Christmas approached, I would make it a point to grab a few cans of that wiggly, cylinder-molded, gelatinous so-called cranberry sauce from the grocery store shelves because it was my family’s tradition; it’s what I knew to be “cranberry sauce”. It didn’t know what I was missing until riding the bus one day, a fellow commuter told me about her family’s “famous” cranberry sauce. Authenticity is hard to beat and a homemade dish is a testament to that fact. While that gelatinous sauce is tasty, a heaping spoonful of made-with-love, slightly-sweet-yet-deliciously-tart cranberry sauce hits the spot every time.

And while not all your ingredients and food choices need to be organic, transitioning to organically grown/raised foods is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly choice. Thanks to growing consumer interest, we have more organic options than ever before right at our fingertips. Vegetables, meats, wines, beers, breads…the list goes on. Organic foods are free of synthetic-based fertilizers/pesticides, so eating and drinking organic means fewer pollutants in your system and more nutrients remaining in the land/water, keeping you and the planet a little happier and healthier.

Christmas Tree Hunting 3_Image by Ryan Michelle Scavo_1066x696

Christmas Tree Hunting 2_Image by Ryan Michelle Scavo_1066x696

2) Skip the plastic; go natural with holiday decor

Plastics are a big part of our culture. We find them everywhere: plastic bottles, plastic utensils, plastic packaging, plastic this and plastic that. If you’ve already transitioned your everyday items (bottles, utensils, etc.) to reusable, why not do it with your holiday decor? No matter what holiday you and your friends and family celebrate, if you love to decorate, there are a plethora of natural options. 

For those of you celebrating Hanukkah, consider natural, beeswax candles for the menorah. Often, they’re handmade and they always smell lovely. If Christmas is your holiday of choice, picking a real one is your best choice for an eco friendly Christmas tree. “Friendly fur” trees are softer to the touch while spruce tree needles are a little less forgiving. Of course, whatever species of tree you find, keep it watered and indulge in the natural piney fragrance!

You can also decorate your space with pine bows, grapevine wreaths, pine cones and dried flowers. If you go the dried flower or pine cone route, make them especially festive by spraying them silver and gold with a non-toxic paint. 

3) Buy local, share sustainability-minded gifts and skip the wrapping paper

A lot of factors go into calculating our carbon, including where our food and goods come from. If you have the option, shop locally for gifts this year. Ride your bike, walk or take public transit to local stores – and don’t forget to bring your own bag!

If you can’t find what you want locally (and even if you do), choose to buy sustainably-made gifts. Meaning, look for natural materials and fibers (wood, wool) and ethically-sourced materials in the goodies you’re gifting. 

And finally, if you’ve checked out the shipping practices at Toad&Co, you might be surprised to read that “roughly 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S. each year, which equals more than 1 billion trees and 140 billion gallons of water used”. There’s no denying it, that’s a lot of resources being used. So whether you order online or purchase gifts at stores, choose companies that offer recycled, no-plastic packaging and skip the wrapping paper altogether. To wrap smaller items, consider using a bonus gift, like a scarf or organic cotton tea towel to keep the surprise alive (here’s a step by step tutorial for wrapping gifts in cloth). For bigger items, larger colorful towels, paper bags, and even foldable maps are great repurposed resources!

Get Outside and Ski_Image by Ryan Michelle Scavo_1066x696.jpg

4) Gift experiences

If you want to take a different approach to gift-giving this year, consider gifting experiences, rather than stuff. How many pairs of socks does your partner really need? For the cocktail lover, gift a “mixologist 101” class. Wildlife enthusiast? Take them birding at the nearby refuge or city park! Lover of all things snow? Sounds like a backcountry hut trip would be a perfect option! 

Experiences create memories and make great eco friendly gifts, especially for the people on your list that are difficult to shop for or seem to already have everything.

Get Outside_Image by Ryan Michelle Scavo

BackyardCampfire_1066x696

5) Celebrate outside

Just because it’s getting cooler outside, doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself up inside. ‘But how is getting outside eco-friendly’, you ask? Easy! 

First, let’s start with saving energy. Throwing a layer on and getting out of the house or apartment means you don’t have to turn the heat (i.e., your thermostat) up in your home. By keeping your energy use down, you’re saving resources and money. 

Second, staying connected to the outdoors by going for walks around town, longer hikes at parks and on trails or skiing (among other activities) reminds us how important outdoor spaces really are to ourselves and hopefully to others. If you care about a space, you tend to want to protect it! Making and maintaining a connection to the outdoors is a great way to live a more environmentally conscious life all year long.

It might be the end of the year, but the holidays are a great time to start new traditions to carry into the new year. These 5 eco friendly holiday tips are just the start – try them and then find your own ways to celebrate and live more sustainably!

Get Outside_Image by Sam Scavo_1066x696.jpg

A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado.

Photography by Ryan Scavo and Sam Scavo.

The Story of a Renewed Shirt

Dear Toad&Co, 

I can’t thank you enough. When one of my seams ripped apart in a pogo-stick accident, I thought my days were numbered. I’d had a good life until then – I was born on an organic cotton farm, raised on rainwater and non-synthetic fertilizers, was spun and sewn in a responsible facility, got a fancy non-toxic certification from OEKO-TEX, met my best friend in a small outdoor shop, and spent many years exploring and traveling the world – but I was heart broken to think that I was doomed for the bottom of the landfill. 

But you saved me. 

Instead of being hauled off to the dump, I was sent to Oregon to make the acquaintances of the Renewal Workshop. WOW, what a place! Everywhere there were machines whizzing and buzzing and there were thousands of garments just like me – slightly damaged, excess and returned clothing that had no place in the landfills. Was this heaven? 

My first day there I took a dip in their Tersus washing machine, a state-of-the-art machine that uses CO2 to get deep into the fibers of a garment; there’s no water wasted and all byproducts are captured and reused. 

Next I was off to the seamstresses for new seams, reinforced buttons (just for good measure) and a fancy new label that says “Renewed Toad&Co.” Then I had my first photoshoot, became an internet sensation, and was shipped off to meet my NEW owner.  

Today, I’m the same great flannel I’ve always been but with a renewed sense of purpose: to help change the apparel industry from a linear one to a circular one. I’ve never felt better! 

In gratitude, 

The Renewed Flannel Shirt 

PS – Get your own Men’s Renewed Toad&Co and Women’s Renewed Toad&Co. Then give yourself a high five for leaving a lighter footprint on the planet! 

Leftover Turkey Soup

By: Lucinda, Sr. Product Development Manager and Queen of Waste-Free Living

Lucindablogresize

Lucinda knows how to enjoy the finer things in life, so we trust her when it comes to all things food, drink, travel, and sustainability. 

I must have been about four years old when I remember spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents, Nana and Dada. My Nana was an amazing cook and there were a ton of leftovers. We ate turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and even turkey enchiladas. By Sunday evening, I was utterly tired of turkey.

When Nana served me a steaming bowl of soup, I surveyed it mutinously, with bits of what looked like turkey swirling around my spoon. “This had better not be turkey soup.”

“Oh no,” she replied. “It’s not turkey soup. It’s Kukuruku soup!”

Well, that was an entirely different matter altogether. We watched a TV show that featured astronauts time traveling back to the Stone Age, where the cavemen dined on some strange dinosaur soup called “Kukuruku.” I couldn’t believe that Nana had the recipe or the ingredients!

Since then, my family has always called the soup we make after Thanksgiving Kukuruku Soup. Because salvaging leftovers is one of my favorite ways to reduce waste in my everyday life, I’m passing along our Kukuruku tradition.

Kukuruku Soup Recipe

  1. 1. Roast the turkey carcass. I usually roast it at 375° for 45 minutes to 1 hour. But I recommend going off of how it looks—I take it out of the oven when it looks browned and you know, “roasty.”
  2. 2. Put the carcass into a stock pot and fill with water. Add salt, onion or garlic trimmings, dried herbs like oregano and thyme, and simmer for an hour.
  3. 3. Strain the solids from the stock pot and compost them. Let the stock cool and refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim off the fat that has congealed on the top.
  4. 4. Next, take the last little bits of turkey meat, and the carrots and celery left over from the crudité platter, and mix them with the stock you’ve made in a Dutch oven or stock pot over low medium heat.
  5. 5. I like to add a cup of barley and any leftover gravy to make it even heartier.
  6. 6. Cook for 30-40 minutes, adding in seasonings like dried oregano or chopped garlic (or whatever you’re feeling, really).
  7. 7. Freeze any leftovers and enjoy for a quick, but filling, meal during the busy holiday season.

LucindaNanaresize

The inventor of Kukuruku soup herself, Nana.