Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mending Jeans

One super thrifty thing that we do, which I know some people think is a bit excessive is that I patch K's jeans for work. He's pretty hard on pants, and I suppose he could wear coveralls to protect his pants, but then I'd have to patch his coveralls wouldn't I? As an aside, I feel this way about bibs too, unless it's a special outfit, I don't really see the difference in between having to wash a bib and having to wash a shirt- it's all laundry right? except sometimes with a bib- the spill soaks through to the shirt and then you have two things to wash. I know this drives my mother and mother-in-law a little crazy, I've witnessed both of those ladies putting bibs on N even when she has no shirt on! (some things are just safer eaten while nude, Popsicles are the #1 thing to eat with no shirt on...when you're a kid that is). I'm always being given gifts of bibs, it hasn't really changed my mind though, I think it may be a generational thing.

Anyways.... Jeans only last around three months for him, so it actually does add up to pretty big savings for us, and also has the added benefit of K not having to shop for pants as often, which I think he enjoys.  I try to make a rule of only two patch sessions per pair of pants, otherwise it's a bit ridiculous, but I always keep the jeans to make other patches.  The ones in the photo are mostly patches through the crotch, and thigh area, but they're still keeping on. I think mending clothes is a lost art. I suppose things are pretty cheap nowadays, but it still seems like a huge waste of money to buy a new replica of something that is basically okay... or maybe I'm just super cheap, at any rate here are some tips for mending clothes:

Some areas are not worth mending- if the fabric is disintegrating along the crotch seam, or at the waist band, or in some other fitted area, it's pretty difficult to fix. I don't want to spend a whole day fixing one hole.

I always use the least contrasting material I can find to patch holes that are in the crotch or butt area. I also always try to mend those places with a patch on the inside, using a piece of fabric that will cover the whole weak area, attached using a zig zag stitch, all over the spot. I don't want to fix only the place where the hole is if the fabric around the hole is weak too- you'll just end up putting more patches down later.

Use a weight of fabric that is similar to your pants for your patches, I like to use some thing similar as well as some contrast -to make it interesting. I also don't want to hide the patches, and K isn't embarrassed by them, so I don't shy away from a nice manly floral pattern either. But only on the leg area, and I usually limit it to one contrasting colour or pattern.

I also avoid using fabric that frays easily. Without getting into too much about weaves- jeans are a twill weave, which makes then fray a little differently than a plain weave (which looks like a basket weave pattern). You want to avoid a plain weave because it will fray in big strings that will be messy if you don't turn under the edges of the patch. So most quilting cotton is a no no, ( to test it- cut a tiny bit of the edge- then rip the two edges apart- if you can rip the fabric in a straight line easily, it's not good patching material) you can still use it- but you have to press the edges of the patch under, before you sew it on.

Use a zig zag stitch to attach the patches, because it's a bit wider and will grab more good fabric. Fabric deteriorates around a hole- so if you stitch too closely to the edges of them, it will just pull away with wear. You want your patch to be at least a quarter inch larger than your hole, to give you enough room to sew it on. 

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