mend and make do

I don’t know about you, but there is one kind of sewing I hate doing . . . repairs.  I usually put things off as long as possible, and end up with a pile of items waiting, either for buttons, a new hem, or even patching up a hole (that’s a frequent job with my husband’s jeans).  Sometimes I would rather just throw something in the bin, go out shopping, and buy new.  But then the scrooge in me says “Nope” that’s not an option.  I’ve got a sewing machine, I know how to use it, therefore, repairs are not beyond me and it’s best to save money for more fun things (like craft supplies!)

I therefore blocked a couple of hours to do some repairs.  First job – a pair of husband’s shorts (UK English, meaning short trousers he wears out and about, but mainly in the garden).  They’d seen better days, fabric had begun to wear a bit thin and one of the hems ripped off.  My initial reaction was just to rip the other hem off, and have matching legs without hems.  That’s what the younger generation do, isn’t it?  But no, my husband didn’t like that, and fraying fabric annoyed him so he refused to wear them until I did a proper repair job.

Out came some blue binding (totally unco-ordinated but who cares?) and I added binding to both legs, sewing completely under so you can’t actually see the blue.

mend and make do 04

The reason I used binding rather than simply making another hem . . . the pockets down the sides and the very thick “jeans” seams”.  I didn’t even bother to match thread, just used what was already loaded on my machine.

mend and make do 05

They’re for gardening/walking the dog etc, so as far as I’m concerned, they’ll do.

Next job was cushions.  I buy cheap cushion inserts with polyester stuffing. Usually paying around 4€ per insert.  Not quite sure what happened with the last batch I bought, but the covering (which feels more like paper than fabric) was ripped, meaning stuffing was prone to fall out when changing cushion covers. 

mend and make do 01

I had four which were all like this, so I reckon it must have been a duff batch.    Anyway, I certainly wasn’t going to throw them out since they were relatively new . . . so, out came an old bed sheet and a short while later

mend and make do 02

Four cushions, all with a nice white cotton cover.  And ready to go back into their outer, patchwork, cushion covers!

I even salvaged part of the sheet (one of my late MIL’s, so probably about 30 years old) because it had a band of a blue & white print cotton sewn along the top.

mend and make do 03

Not a fabric I would have paid good money for, but it’s still got plenty of life in it, and I saved a long band about 8 inches x the width of sheet.

Feeling, oh so virtuous, after all of that . . . what did I do?  I went shopping on-line lol.  Heck why not?  I saved 16€ by salavaging the cushion inserts.  I gave a pair of shorts a new lease of life.  I reckon both those jobs deserve a reward!

So . . .

81P AXlBC6L__SX522_

I ordered this.  Not that I need a beginner’s level in cross stitch, but I was looking for a small butterfly design and rather liked this (cost 6€ including p&p).  And this


I do need a beginner’s level embroidery kit, as I’ve never done any traditional embroidery before.  This one took my fancy because of the bee, and also because it combines embroidery with felt (cost also 6€ including p&p).

I now need to get busy and finish off my current xstitch project: “Yarn Cats” so I can begin one of these when they arrive! 


20 thoughts on “mend and make do

  1. I think it’s pretty common that sewers hate repairs, I certainly do, everyone seems to think that just because you can make a dress, you will want to turn up their trousers! Great job sorting out the shorts and the cushions…and a well deserved treat at the end 🙂

    • exactly! Recently I had a neighbour who asked me to take up his gardening trousers and repair a bag strap (which I did). And brother-in-law also gave me a repair job to do! Like you say, they think because we enjoy sewing, we’ll enjoy any form of sewing.

  2. You gave me a great idea on how to repair a hem on one of my DH’s pairs of shorts – I can do exactly the same as you. So thank you for sharing what you did! I love that embroidery design with the bee – it will be fun to watch your progress.

    • glad to have been of help ^^ It seemed the easiest option, and by sewing completely inside, it doesn’t really matter if your biais binding doesn’t match. I could probably have found a thread that matched fabric but I couldn’t be bothered. Not when it’s just for gardening and walking the dog!

  3. I think people who love to sew hate repairs for two reasons: 1) Other people assume you’ll be delighted to mend something they’re incapable or too mean to get fixed themselves; and 2) It’s not creative. You’re not making something lovely, you’re doing something prosaic, necessary and usually rather dull. It’s a waste of good sewing time! On the other hand, I do patch the Husband’s work clothes as I object to parts of him hanging out for all to see! Once they’ve gone past the point of no return, though, I draw the line, and sometimes recycle bits of the garments for future patches – or even quilts!

  4. Bucking the trend I do like a nice repair, but I like to do hand sewing if at all possible. There is something soothing about needle through fabric and something saved for another day. But then I am the person who loves the back stitching at the end of a cross stitch project.

  5. I’m completely with you and most others – I do not like repairs! My husband is complaining about socks and jumpers I still haven’t repaired! Admittedly it’s been a while (maybe years…), but I’m with Kate – it’s a waste of good sewing time!

    • oh I don’t darn socks!!! they get thrown in the rag bag and become dusters. Sweaters . . . it dépends on the size of the hole ^^

    • thank you Emma ^^ I’m quite excited at the idea of the embroidery kit even though I don’t usually like appliqué, this one looks easy and fun (from the photo at least).

  6. My ‘repair’ pile is probably about the same size as my ‘ironing’ pile 😦 I just push them out of sight.

    When some people find out you sew – especially clothes – I see a little tell tale light of hope in their eyes which tells me that they are just about to say they have a dress they love but it’s too big/small/long/short for them now and I quickly dive in and say I don’t do alterations or repairs. It’s probably the only favour I come right out and say ‘no’ to straight away.
    You obviously deserve a medal.
    Just tell your husband that ripped jeans are all the rage and if Felicity Kendal can get away with them at her age there is hope for us all. Although she has won ‘rear of the year’ in living memory and my rear is just a distant memory.

    • oh gosh, Felicity looks very good for her age, doesn’t she? I used to love watching “The Good Life” . . . and in a way, that’s the kind of life we’re enjoying now!

  7. Good for you Claire!! I’ve actually had a pair of my daughter’s pants in my repair pile that just needed a new button on them. They were sitting in my pile so long that she outgrew them! 😀

    • lol that’s sounds like a world record in repairs procrastination! Mind you, I frequently have clothes in the pile, that suddenly become out of season, and wait for the following year to be repaired.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s