Better than new

I had a second super cute daughter and as a result I currently need a lot more clothes than I used to. My baby spits so often that I can rarely wear something twice and sometimes even have to change outfits during the day. Add a nursing friendly requirement and a severe lack of time and it may not come as a surprise that I resorted to buying some clothes online to fill my wardrobe needs.

But, as it turns out, even with RTW clothes you sometimes can’t avoid picking up a sewing needle.

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With so many threads coming undone it has to be a construction error.

I bought this top that has 4 snaps down the front for easy nursing access and after a while (ridiculously fast actually) 3 of the snaps started to come loose on both sides to the point that I was starting to worry that I would lose one or more if I didn’t do a quick intervention.

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So much better…

As I was doing the repairs I was thinking that I was making this top as good as new, but then I realised that no, I was actually making it better than new because I am quite certain that my stitches will hold and won’t require another mending job 2 months from now. And that thought made me feel pretty good.

The beginning of a knee hole mending journey

I try to mend my clothes if they still have some life left in them and if the repair ends up almost invisible. Items can be left on the mending pile for quite a while though because creating something new generally appears far more exciting than mending something that is already there.

I’ll have to change my tactics though. My daughter currently crawls faster than her shadow and as a result the knees of her trousers get a good workout. A couple of weeks ago she came home from daycare with her first hole in a pair of trousers. Since she’s still growing quite quickly, leaving something on the mending pile for say, a year, isn’t really an option if I still want her to wear it afterwards.

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The offending hole.

I debated whether it would be worth to try to fix these trousers and last weekend I gave it a try. I didn’t think I’d be able to mend a hole this size in a knit fabric invisibly so I went for a patch. I don’t really like to use patches on the outside of my own clothes, but for kids clothing I think it can be fun.

I cut a heart shaped patch from a scrap of red jersey fabric that was attached using a running stitch using a very strong Gütermann upholstery thread. It didn’t take long to create this patch and she has already gotten one extra wear out of these trousers. I have no idea how durable this method of mending is.

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I considered adding a patch to the other knee as well but that would have more than doubled the repair time since I would have had to carefully place it in exactly the same spot on the other leg.

So, my knee hole fixing journey has started. I expect there will be many more repairs to come in the next couple of years. I plan to try different methods of mending to see which methods work best and to keep things interesting for myself. Do you have any tips for durable mending methods?

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Inside view of the repair. The edge of the patch is a bit closer to the hole than I would have liked, I think the fabric shifted when I sewed it on.

Patching up a pair of DIY trousers

Today I’ll show you how I patch up a pair of jeans that will only be used for dirty jobs, such as painting and gardening. It’s not pretty, but it’s fast and sturdy and can give some extra life to a pair that would otherwise be thrown away.

My boyfriend’s old pair of DIY trousers has become a bit too threadbare to continue wearing. In the past I’ve patched both knees and the backside. On one leg the trousers are now ripped above where it was patched and I don’t think it’s really desirable to put another patch on top of that.

old pair of diy trousers

Old pair of DIY trousers that has been used for many years.

In my quite large collection of old jeans that are waiting to be cut up and repurposed I still had one of his old pairs that only had a tear just below one of the back pockets but was otherwise in pretty good shape. To mend these kinds of tears in a pair of DIY trousers I simply take a piece of denim cut from another old pair (preferably in somewhat the same colour, let’s not make things too crazy) and pin it to the jeans so it overlaps the part that needs mending. I generally let it overlap quite a bit. The area around such a tear has usually become thin as well and the patch will reinforce the whole area.

attaching a patch

The jeans are then wrapped around the free arm of the sewing machine and the patch is sewn in place with lines of stitching. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each line. When the entire patch is attached cut off the thread ends on both sides and you are done. I think attaching this patch took me less than 10 minutes including stopping for some pictures but my boyfriend will probably be able to use this pair for a couple of years of dirty jobs around the house.

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Outside and inside view of patch. I didn’t take particular care to sew straight, this isn’t couture…

Did he have a particular reason to ask for a new pair of diy jeans now? Oh yes. Remember how last year I splurged on some new sewing equipment? This year we’re definitely topping that because we’ve just bought a new sewing room house! We’re currently in the process of decorating so this new pair of DIY trousers is certain to get a lot of use in the coming weeks.