Although it used to be common practice to mend any tear or wear in any clothing, however this has become less and less common, with cheaper clothing and the throw-away society. People often want to be seen wearing clothing that does not look mended or worn, and in some cases, mending can be uncomfortable. Darning is often very uncomfortable in socks, especially if the wear/tear is on the sole of the foot (which is always seems to be). Personally I always mend my clothing until it literally falls apart, in which case I upcycle it into something new (either at a recycling point or myself, depending on the item).
In general, a lot of clothing is thrown away without being reused or recycled (many recycling points now have a clothing bin to either be sent abroad to be reused, or to be used in housing insulation). “An estimated £100 million worth (based on 2015 prices) or around 350,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.” (http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/valuing-our-clothes). Clothing accounts for 10% of the global carbon footprint, and hence to upcycle them can have a massive impact on the global carbon issue. “extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints” (http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/valuing-our-clothes).
“The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year” (http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/valuing-our-clothes)
I have recently made it part of my zero waste challenge to upcycle all of my old clothing (and to help others to do the same). This has included making skirts from my old, broken jeans, using old material from skirts that no longer fit, or from other broken clothing, and creating other objects from old material, such as jumpers, bags, bunny doorstops/bookends, and scarves.
These are all very easy to make and simply require simple sewing abilities (which do definitely improve with practice) and a sewing machine, in some cases.
These are examples of my bunny doorstops/bookends.