Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I feel I have been doing a lot of mending clothes lately.  Mostly my husband’s jeans.  I realized today why I have rarely had to do any mending before now.  Over the past several years my husband has worn a uniform.  With frequent changes in uniform designs, and having to wear a specific design for different locations, he was always getting new work clothes.

Area to be patched.

Now that my husband is no longer wearing a uniform and is back to wearing jeans and t-shirts to work, I find myself venturing into patching his clothes to extend their life.  My husband used to wear his jeans until the holes became too large to wear any longer.  We usually discarded them at this point.  This didn’t happen very often, because his jeans were seldom worn.

I started mending my husband’s jeans a couple years ago, but it was only when a small hole would start to appear next to a pocket.  At first he told me I didn’t need to bother, then after time I think he realized it extended the life another three to six months.  Now when he gets a hole, or rip, he is asking for them to be mended.  It seems I am mending his jeans every couple weeks lately.  At first I was able to do the work by hand while watching television at night.  Now that the areas are getting larger, I have had to start using patches.

Cut the patch large enough to cover the area.
It has been several years since I have ironed, or sewn on a patch.  Most of the patches I have worked with in the past were iron on, and used mainly for decorative purposes, not out of necessity. 
Round the corners when cutting.

Follow the directions that come with the iron on patches.  Be sure to choose the color that goes best with your fabric.

Ironing the patch

You want to make sure the patch is adhered well. 

After ironing.

Mending something to extend the life of the garment  is something my grandmothers did quite often.  When I was younger I used to think it was out of frugality, but as I got older I realized it was because they still saw something good in the item.  It wasn’t at the end of it’s life yet.
Sewing the patch on with a zig zag stitch for added durability and staying power.

I can remember my brother taking his jeans to Grandma B to have her patch them for him.  She was very good at sewing and mending.  My grandfather’s older coveralls always had patches where she had mended them.  Grandma became the go to for mending jeans for the entire family.  She was also the one who sparked my love of sewing.

Having an open arm machine works best for these types of projects.
While in 9th grade everyone had to take sewing for a semester.  One project we made was a shirt.  I can remember my grandmother helping me and showing me how I needed to do it.  The project had to be completed in class, but I can remember us making another one at her house so she could show me how and help me with the project.  I can remember wearing that shirt proudly.
Completed project.
Over the years my grandmother helped me with several  sewing projects.  She could make slip covers for cushions that were amazing.  The first camper I had she made me slip covers for the seats that fit perfectly!  Some of the projects I completed even amazed her.  After she got breast cancer she didn’t have the energy she used to and could no longer do the things she enjoyed.

On one of their visits to my house my Grandfather came in carrying her favorite sewing machine.  She was going to “let me use it“.  Grandpa handed it to me and winked, I don’t think she will be needing this back.  My grandma just grinned.

Still today that memory brings tears to my eyes.  I am very thankful for her inspiration over the years and still miss her each and every day.  Having her sewing machine to use makes my projects more special to me.

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