Mending and altering clothes is simpler than you might think.

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If you've tried on new clothes at the store and found they rarely fit perfectly, you're not alone. Manufacturers can't possibly make clothes to fit every shape and size. Fortunately, it isn't that difficult to alter new clothing once you get it home.

This article will show you how to rehem, refit, let out, or take in clothing for a custom fit. And if you have old clothes that need repair -- whether they're from the local thrift shop or the back reaches of your closet -- we'll show you how to fix rips and tears, make patches, repair or replace a zipper, or make a tie slimmer. We'll even cover how to resole a warn pair of shoes.

So buy that too-long dress you fell in love with at the store, and don't give away that shirt with the worn elbows. Just mend them using this article as a guide. We'll start on the next page with common alterations.