Thursday, 12 June 2014

to mend or not to mend

Do you mend clothes? I do. There is something satisfying in getting another lease of life for a tattered pair of jeans or a ripped but loved shirt. I tend to pile up clothes that need mending in a pile in a dark corner until I have enough motivation to get on with it. Sometimes I get started because there is another chore I am trying to avoid.


Yesterday was the day to get the pile out of the dark corner. I needed a bit o a change from the usual chore but still wanted to do something useful. You know, for that moment when the husband asks "so, what did you do today?". This is what I found in the pile:
  • one knitted monkey with damaged eye
  • one flannel shirt with two large rips over the elbows
  • three pairs of trousers with big holes
  • one school polo shirt without buttons
  • one pair of running shorts with open seams
  • one stripy hoody with the pockets partially pulled off

I thought this would keep me busy or a wee while. I started off with the trousers. Alistair's skinny jeans needed one bigger patch on the right knee and a new patch on the left knee. I usually remove the back pockets with my seam opener and stitch them onto the knees but these particular ones were bolted on (why?) and I couldn't get them off. Luckily I do always have some old pockets in my magic stash, taken from trousers that were beyond repair. I also re-use still good enough patches.


Annie's orange cords were so badly ripped that the trousers own pockets were not big enough to cover the hole. I found a large one in the stash, probably from one of Richard's jeans. It was just about big enough.

The monkey got a new eye. I think it might need a bath, too. I am glad I used acrylic wool to knit it. I shall sneak it in the washing machine next time James is distracted.


Richard's rustic flannel shirt was mended with interfacing and an oval patch cut from a red sheet that I don't use because it is not fitted. I used the same fabric for sleeves for a little girl's blouse. I used a zig zag stitch to sew the patches on. It was a bit tricky using the sewing machine for fixing a relatively narrow sleeve but a bit of tugging and pushing and some expletives was all it took to get it done.


I closed the hole in Alistair's favourite hoodie, found some buttons to stitch onto James's  polo shirt and zigzagged the split seams of my running shorts. I don't have an overlocker and there was a bit of puckering but I don't care.


I am ever so pleased with my work. We may not wear those clothes for a fancy occasion but they will be good enough for outdoor play and work in the garden.

As for the usual chores, I shall do them tomorrow. Unless I can find another excuse.


27 comments:

  1. It's certainly not procrastinating if you're completing another task is it? My mending takes much the same course as yours. The pile grows and grows in the sewing cupboard, until for whatever reason I decide the time has arrived to take action. Sometimes things in the pile are deemed no longer wearable and are transferred to the rag pile, many times outgrown during their time in the mending pile.
    Great job Christina. My patches always go on the inside, I may have learnt a new technique.

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    1. That's interesting, I never thought of putting the patches on the inside. I suppose you need to darn the outside if you do this? I shall give this a try next time I run out of nice patches. x

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  2. Good for you. I do mend when I can. Some things are just too cheap or worn out to put much effort into, but if it's at all worth it, I will fix things. I don't think you were procrastinating; imagine if you were out shopping for new clothes instead! :)

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    1. Clothes are shockingly cheap, aren't they? Considering what fabric and labour in our countries cost. I make rags of all the stuff that is no longer wearable, and too worn for charity. I hate shopping for clothes! x

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  3. Fortunately we don't seem to get too many clothes damages around here, mostly buttons coming off, which do always get sewn back on, so no clothes repairs, but not because I wouldn't repair, just that we seem to get away without too much damage! xx

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    1. Yes, I noticed that damaged clothes are a young child problem, mine are rarely in need of mending. x

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  4. I try to mend what I can, or if that fails I take it over to mums.

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    1. I would definitely go to my mums if she lived any closer. She is much more skilled than I. x

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  5. I have a mending pile. usually buttons, lengthening and shortening and always making waists smaller for my skinny bilinkies. I think it is a really important thing to do. I missed your peasant blouse post somewhere along the line but followed the link - it is really beautiful, it is a brilliant pattern isn't it? keep crafting Jo x

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    1. Yes I really love the pattern. Unfortunately, we only have little boy Birthdays lined up and I don't think it would be much appreciated if I made them a peasant blouse. x

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  6. That is a task well done. I believe my husband has asked me twice now if I can sew up the obscenely large holes in the back of his work pants. I am glad that he is asking me, but then just seem to forget to do it.

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    1. Richard's holes are always huge, I don't know if the size of damage corresponds to the size of the wearer? x

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  7. I mend clothes where I can...at the moment my two grow so quickly there's less wearing but plenty of permanent stains (nursery's mud kitchen and dark blue, allegedly washable, paint will be the death of me). You should be really pleased with your effort, nice job!

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    1. I am still battling those permanent stains. We now get glue from well done stickers. It is amazingly resistant to washing. I leave the paints to schools as much as possible. x

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  8. I totally understand doing one job so you can put off doing another! Your idea for using a back pocket to cover holes is brilliant. I used to mend the boys' jeans when they were young. If I hadn't, it would have meant buying new jeans for them every couple of months. We lived in the country, and they were hard on their clothes. However, I have to admit that mending was the job I would avoid by finding other things to do instead. :-)

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    1. I prefer mending over any other chore really. It is quite satisfying. Young children wear the clothes down by just looking at them, I am sure they are. x

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  9. I occasionally mend things Christina, but I should do more really. You have put me to shame with your work today! I do find it sits in a pile somewhere for a very long time. I find sewing hard lately, there is always somebody who needs me for something and I am easily distracted! I think you did a great job with your pile of mending and I do understand the satisfaction it brings when you manage to salvage something and keep it for longer. :) Have a great weekend, Christina! x

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    1. I didn't mean to put you to shame. My mending pile has been waiting for nearly a year! One pair of jeans was actually too small for the youngest to wear. I am sure it fit when I put it in the pile. x

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  10. I like a nice sit down after lunch sometimes with some mending or sewing on of badges. The Superman costume needs two knee holes sewn up. It's had a hard life! Hope you have a good weekend, CJ xx

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    1. Oh the badges! I always buy cubs and scouts stuff way too large so I don't have to remove badges and sew them back on when they outgrow their uniform. Have a lovely weekend, too. x

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  11. Hey Christina,
    The short answer is no. But I am very impressed by your thrift and industry. I can barely thread a needle, I'm afraid. I have used old jumpers to make cushions covers before though.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Leanne xx

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    1. Threading the needle is the most difficult part.... my arms are getting too short! I never made cushion covers from jumpers but it sounds like a good idea. Have a lovely weekend, too. xx

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  12. I patch patches on my favourite clothes but must admit to having a large pile of clothes desperately in need of mending. My children learnt that the quickest way to get clothes mended was to wear them to my mother's as she'd whip the clothes off them and mend them in an instant. My mother in law used to turn collars on shirts, but I don't go to that extreme.

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  13. I mend things sometimes, and sometimes they end up in the rag bin at school! You have done well, I really should do more, pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a glass of wine! (this evening not in the morning, depending when you see this comment!!)

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  14. I used to love to mend clothes. Now, with only the youngest at home there very rarely seems to be much mending and when there is it is the misters. Our son, who dropped out of uni and became The Farmer Boy, does so much damage to his working clothes they are pretty much always beyond repair!

    And I'm with Jay ... I hope you suitably rewarded yourself!

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  15. I do mend things but find if I don't get to it straight away then it never gets done. In clearing out my studio this week I found three pairs of trousers that needed mending... that I'd oviously put into a pile in a dark corner until I felt up to the job. One of the pairs of jeans was sized "age 13- 14" and my youngest son is 21. I wonder how many times I looked at them and thought I'd do it another time!

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  16. I really enjoyed this post! I love to see how others do these everyday jobs. I bet it was rewarding, wasn't it? My two still seem to outgrow their clothes before much serious wear and tear takes place but I'm sure that will change as they get older.

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx