Monday, April 6, 2015

Mending, mending and more mending

I've had my portable sewing machine out on the dining room table for a few weeks, and managed to tackle a pretty hefty pile of mending.

It seemed once the word got around the family that I was mending, clothing appeared in the pile on a daily basis.  I mended a seam in a skirt, patched 2 pairs of jeans, hemmed 2 pairs of jeans, zig zagged the edge of 1 bath towel, 2 bath mats, and 2 kitchen washcloths. I repaired the split and fraying edge of the placket on a dress shirt, sewed the two halves of a bra back together (it split right down the front, while being worn :-o ), I sewed closed a hole in the underarm of a sweater, and I fixed my comfy pj bottoms at the waistband.

this one nearly stumped me, but this shirt went from this

to this -- I hope this repair will give this shirt several more wearings


Repairing clothing and household items is satisfying on a couple of levels. It's nice to be good stewards of resources and extend the use of all of these items.


With a zip of the machine, the towels, mats and washcloths can be useful for many more years. No need to send them to a landfill for quite some time. And it's a pleasure to see items in good repair.

these jeans were about to lose their ability to be buttoned


this little fix should make the button hole last as long as the rest of the jeans

Also, mending clothing and household items postpones the need to spend money to replace any of these things. I would guess that all of this mending put off spending a hundred dollars or more on replacing all of these items.


And making minor alterations allowed us to buy items at a significant discount, by being willing to put in a small amount of work to make the item fit right. The two pairs of jeans that I hemmed were both thrift store finds. Both were in very good condition, just too long.

My sewing machine was put away late Friday afternoon, as I readied the dining room for Easter dinner. But I know it won't be long before that mending pile starts to grow again.

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19 comments:

  1. I have always done mending on an irregular basis. I mentioned the pile of mending I had to a friend and she said she never did any mending. at all.. Her riped etc. clothing went into the trash. I was gobsmacked and couldn't say a thing.

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    1. Hi Deb,
      It is shocking, isn't it? But I think people not mending is more common than we might believe. And such a shame, because clothing that just needs a little repair could be made usable, again, in just a few minutes.

      Delete
  2. I always mend! I have done underwear, socks, leggings all this weekend. I have a multi-purpose table in my laundry room that serves as a folding table and mending table. I took out and put away my sewing machine at least three times this weekend alone! I need to keep it out but then I can't fold. I see hubby has a pair of socks that need mending and I'll pull out the machine again tonight.

    In the past I have mended the crotch area of my sons blue jeans and they have lasted him another year at least! I just don't get why people throw away good clothing that can be easily repaired. The look isn't even compromised with a patch job in most cases.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      Oh what an awesome set-up to have a spot in your laundry room for mending/folding!

      I did the same to one daughter's jeans a week ago, and small hole forming in the crotch. I put a patch on the inside, and zig zagged it into place. She should be able to get several more months out of the jeans, for that little bit of work. As my kids are responsible for buying their own clothing, now, I'm saving them money! (I better get an extra nice card for Mother's Day this year!)

      My son showed me the bottom of his dress shoes, and where they're wearing badly. He has 3 choices. 1) he can buy himself a new pair (he works, gets paid well, so he can afford it), 2) he can wear them as is, and wait until his birthday in November and ask for a new pair for his birthday gift, or 3) I have an idea on how we could remedy the spot to give him decent enough shoes to get through several months.

      In addition to helping the kids out by fixing clothing for them, I feel like I'm teaching them to look for alternative solutions to everyday problems. As are you, with your family!

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    2. Do you think we all have a certain mind set? Now that my children are beginning to leave home I have all sorts of mental check lists to make sure certain skills have been covered.

      I have made mending kits for them. In grade 7 Home Ec they made a stuffed animal and practiced many of the skills you would need in mending , like sewing two flat sides together, hemming and sewing buttons.
      I have regularly had my sewing machine out to show how seams can be repaired and taken in or let out depending in the situation.
      I have mentioned to my oldest about looking for a good portable sewing machine for her to have for mending.

      Delete
    3. Hi Teresa,
      I think you're right -- as parents, most of us realize how important these skills really are, and want to make sure our kids also have them.

      Mending kits sounds like a great idea!

      Delete
  3. We love our worn clothing the most (obviously lol). When it finally gives (needing repairs), I'm torn whether to repair it or just turn it to "yarn" material for my projects (always a difficult decision). At least nothing goes to waste in our home either. Even clothes which are not favored and worn much gets upcycled (valued as fabric for projects.) These days I have been making t shirt yarn door mats for our entry ways out of very worn t-shirts that have holes and stains.

    YHF

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    1. Btw...I can't see the holes and stains in the finished rug, so that is the ultimate recycling of material worse than our best rags (the other use for worn clothing).

      YHF

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    2. YHF I would be interested in seeing what the finished products of T shirt yarn look like? and how you create with it.

      My mother and grandmother used to braid old hosiery (before panty hose) , then sew the braids into floor mats.

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    3. Hi Teresa,

      I haven't tried braiding but have tried making "toothbrush rugs" with tshirt yarn...not too good. For that method of making rugs, it is better to use woven fabrics like cotton sheets. I have been crocheting the tshirt yarn in simple single crochet stitches, varying the tshirt's color for design. To see some things made with extra large crochet needles (sizes, P, L, M, N for example), google "crochet XXL". For me, it's a way to get rid of too worn to donate or use as rags clothes and make simple "wipe your feet" rugs as we come indoors. Where we live, we don't wear shoes indoors, so a good swipe on the rugs dusts our feet before we enter. My mom simply laid old tshirts on the floor to wipe our feet...this is better.

      YHF

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    4. Hi YHF,
      Your t-shirt yarn projects sound like a very creative use for badly worn clothing! I'll look online to see some examples.

      Delete
  4. Oh, my mending pile rivals the laundry and dishes ... I'm working on mending pair No. 4 of jeans ... but at least I'm even with the socks, LOL!

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    1. Hi DW,
      Oh, isn't that the truth! The laundry never stops, neither do dishes or mending! Glad you're caught up on socks, though!

      Delete
  5. On the topic of mending. I know many of you mend your underwear. I wonder about this because when I get a hole in my underwear, it's usually because it's gotten so thin that my finger has gone through the side from just pulling it up. I can patch that hole, but another one comes immediately so it seems like a futile effort. Mine usually just goes into the rag bag at this point. But then again, maybe others of you buy more expensive underwear than I do.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      So the way I see it, there are a couple of types of mending. One type, you restore an item to near new, like when a hem or seam comes apart. The other, you're just trying to squeak a few more uses or wearings out of the item, by mending it.

      Yes, my undies do get new holes next to the mended hole, and it is a bit like whack-a-mole. But as I don't like even looking at my holey undies, mending them will at the very least keep me from buying more new pairs for a couple of months. And that's often enough time for me to wait and receive a $10 coupon for either Kohl's or Penneys, so my purchase of new undies costs me as little as possible. (If I didn't get these coupons, I'd probably spend that time that my repaired undies bought me, to find sales.)

      You're right about how thin that fabric gets with time. Why they don't make women's undies from thicker fabric, like men's, is beyond me. Not that I want to wear tidy-whity like underwear, but they could use just a tad heavier fabric, and still have them look nice.

      Delete
  6. mending household goods is such a valuable skill. I am fortunate to be able to keep both of my sewing machines open/out at the ready, in the sewing area of my large bedroom. mending happens almost weekly!

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    1. Hi Carol,
      What a luxury to have a space to keep your sewing machine out and ready! I hope to someday have that kind of luxury. But then again, it won't come until kids begin moving out, and I won't be needing to do as much mending. Hmmm, maybe I need to start thinking of an existing space in my house to keep my machine set-up.

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  7. Good work! I fear my mending pile is deep and wide... it sorta got worse when I "cleaned up" and dumped most of it in the basement where it was out of sight. Some day... :-)

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    1. Hi Cat,
      I sometimes "find" clothing I thought was given away, right at the bottom of my mending pile, when the pile gets really monstrous. Then it's like free clothing!
      You might just have a treasure or two lurking in your basement pile!

      Delete

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