Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why I love mending

Really, I do love it, but it wasn't always this way. When my children were younger and there were fewer of them, I would often give away clothes which had been worn for a while, but had holes or some such wear. Jeans were often the most injured item. My girls are hard on the knees of jeans, but the boys are much worse. At some point it started to bother me that the rest of the garment was fine except for those dratted holey knees. But I was stymied as to how to fix them. This was not something that had been role-modeled for me and though I knew how to sew I couldn't figure out how to do it. Enter my friend, K. K., a mother of 8, who is a few years ahead of me in parenting. She mentioned in passing that she repaired jeans with sewn-on patches and not the annoying iron-on kind. K.K. then graciously spent an afternoon showing me how she did it and that was the beginning of my love of mending. So why do I love it? Well,

1. It saves money. I tend to be somewhat of a miser, although I usually use the word "frugal" because it has nicer connotations. I hate to buy something that I already have. To me, the ideal piece of clothing lasts through at least three children.

2. It is creative. While some mending is just sewing up holes, such as little boys' sweat pants, other mending can be very rewarding. I particularly enjoy patching the girls' jeans. They often have decorations to begin with, so it is fun to see how to incorporate the patch and make it fit with the rest of the design. For instance, the pair of jeans I mended today had pink, yellow, and red hearts embroidered down one side. For the patch I used a piece of red fabric, which I already had, and stitched it on with yellow thread in the same manner in which the hearts were sewn. Then using pink thread I sewed a large heart in the middle of the patch. They are pants that A recently outgrew so they have moved to P. When A saw the patch she deemed it cool and moaned that P got to wear them. It is perhaps the greatest compliment she could have given me. I now see it as a challenge to repair the damaged clothing so that it looks as though it was made that way and not just a repair job.

3. It is quick. Even if I just have a half an hour, I can usually complete at least one mending job. It gives a feeling of satisfaction for having actually completed something. And since many housekeeping jobs never feel "finished" that is no small thing.

4. It can be a ministry. This is another piece of wisdom I gained from K.K. Often, if clothing was too worn (in my pre-mending days), I would just give it away. But I was challenged by what K.K. does. Before donating an article of clothing, she goes ahead and repairs it. Her rationale is that the people to whom the clothing is donated often are the very ones who have neither the time nor the means to repair it themselves. So, they are forced to use clothing which they cannot, at this point in their lives, fix. By repairing it before donation, we can impart some dignity to those who will use it both by showing that they are worth our effort and by allowing them to dress in clothing without holes.

2 comments:

Ann said...

I can always count on your to give me a post I wouldn't read anywhere else!

You inspire me to get my mending out and ENJOY doing it. It does give a sense of satisfaction, that is true.

I remember seeing a great article in "The Tightwad Gazette" book on mending jeans. You do a complete patch taking denim and coving the entire knee, sewing via the sideseams.

Happy sewing E.!

thecurryseven said...

Thanks, Ann. That's actually how I patch jeans. I use a large piece of denim from another, too worn pair and then sew along the side seams. The hard part comes when you're mending smaller sizes. My friend, who I mentioned, showed me the trick of lowering the feed dogs (or in the case of my machine, covering them) so that you can sew sideways.

Elizabeth

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