Just When I Thought They were Safe to Wear...

Sewing has become such a part of my life now, that I have a pile of materials and things to mend on the end of the sofa and I think my family might be fed up of moving my box of threads, sewing tools and current project out of the way when we want to fit extras in for watching a movie. On occasions my pins seem to start getting low and that calls for retrievals from under the sofa, where they've fallen between the cracks.

Poor sofa…although today this 13 year old piece of furniture got it's own repairs where my husband has been fiddling with the top cushion and it was losing some stuffing from the split seams. I'd been putting the job off for a while as I pondered whether I'd have any thread strong enough to hold the heavy fabric together for an area which comes under pressure. Here was where my late grandmother came to the rescue once again as I delved through her old sewing box and found carpet repair thread. Do they even sell things like that any more? We don't tend to repair as much, these days, instead choosing to just replace in this cheap, throw away economy.

But I digress. My current sofa project is yet another pair of jeans, in between repairs of work gloves and whatever else my daughter or husband hand me. I wanted to do a free hand pattern again and was thinking spirals, but couldn't get tight ones consistent. So it ended up in loose ones and they put me in mind of vine tendrils, so this one's going green.

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Why the free hand? Because my last project with the more complex pattern went on for ages and just when I thought I'd done my husband happily proclaimed he'd found a hole in the butt when I was wearing them! I was all set for sharing the project, too. I’m going to share it anyway and maybe others can learn from my mistakes.

I originally posted about this project, thinking it was finished, in May 2020. That might give you an idea how time consuming it's been. Having said that, I haven't gotten back to it since the discovery of the hole, instead choosing to continue with the green spirals project I'd excitedly started, thinking that one completed.

My first mistake was trying to do a quick repair job. If my experiences mending jeans have taught me anything, it's that once the first hole appears more will soon follow. Fabric wears and that's a fact, so if the knees are going, the thighs and butt won't be far behind. I'd just done a knee repair and a hole on the pocket, with edging on the worn pocket edges, so no surprises that I only got to wear them a few times before the other knee needed doing. The fabric was thinning all the way up the leg from the knees anyway, so I needed to go big and stitch the lot. I was out of turquoise colours and trying to mix some green with blues I had, then, like an angel, someone in my local buy nothing group gifted me some more turquoise. It was slightly greener than what I'd started with, but that was fine.

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The grid is in place on the first leg and the new turquoise thread arrives!

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First leg complete, onto the next one.

My second mistake, at least it's a mistake if I’m wanting to speed up the process, was the pattern choice. First the grid needs drawing in, which involves measuring and ruling up. Then the circles need drawing in, all before sewing can commence. I do a lot of my sewing while watching TV with the family and the grid can't really be done on my lap, so extra time needs to be put aside for that. The circles I can do freehand once the grid is in place. The pattern then requires a lot of stitching, because it's so compacted. The benefit of this is that it will catch in all the edges of the patches on the back, even if they are small, the down side is that it's time consuming.

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Found some more random turquoise threads in my daughters' old craft things.

My third mistake wasn't discovered until I put the jeans on for what I thought would be the completion shots. They were a tight fit, because I hadn't taken into account that they were stretch jeans and I'd used a none stretchy fabric as support at the back. It was a good job I'd only done the front and not the back as well, otherwise I wouldn't have even gotten them on. I'm going to have to be careful with my choice of fabrics when I start on the back. Even stretch denim might still not have enough give once the stitching is done, so I'm thinking t-shirt material might be the better choice.

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After the first wash with some of the pen still showing and now looking smudgy.

The fourth mistake was not taking the stitching to the bottom hem, because it just didn't look right once they were on. Short cuts really don't work and if I'm honest some of the thread doesn't really stand out and makes it look patchy.

In some ways I feel like I should probably give it up as a bad job, but too much of me wants to salvage the hours of work and the thread. So I feel like this is...

...to be continued...



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23 comments
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The ironey of you covering up and mending holes in jeans is in the world of 'fashion' idiots are paying more money the less actual material is left on the jeans

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I recently saw a rail of 'jeans' where only the seams were left but can't find the image now. I like your stitching method but like you say it's a lot of work. Maybe it'll catch on.


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Can't say I like to feel a breeze on my legs if it's cold enough to wear jeans. 😆

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Ohhh I'm sorry there was another hole but the pattern looks really cool! I am never that creative when doing repairs.
For some reason, my common wear out spot is the left elbow of my long-sleeve shirts and sweaters. I don't know why the LEFT elbow, but yes. LOL
!BEER

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Sorry, out of BEER, please retry later...

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Lol! Extra pointy left elbow?

I always used to try and do invisible repairs and when I couldn't I thought it was a lost cause. The sashiko style of mending has given me a new approach.

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I hope this is a to be continued…ALL THAT BEAUTIFUL STITCH WORK!! 😳

Wow, that is such an amazing repair job. Maybe it won’t look so smudgy after ironing? Could most of that be from the fresh wash?

I know this has been such time consuming work. I hope you do continue until you can come to a satisfied finish. I really love the stitch design you created with the grids and circles.

Thanks for sharing this update on the jeans ~

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Another wash or two should remove the last of the pen marks. I think the only thing ironing would help with is the bottom part which was so creased looking.

Maybe in a year or two I'll have them finished. 😅

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Sewing seems to be a lost art that back in the day was the only way to go.
You've got the patience of a saint to be able to do all of that stitching by hand.

My mom was a real seamstress, she made much of the clothing for our family of seven. She made leisure suits for my dad when they were in style, and she made the wedding dresses for both of my sisters.
I could never do the intricate work you do, but I can sew on a pretty good patch, and replacing buttons is a sinch.

As you stated, most people just throw stuff away rather than even attempt fixing something, and that holds true for most items, what a waste.

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Wow, your mum sounds like she was talented! I love the idea of making wedding dresses, but I think that's a bit beyond me.

I find it hard to just sit and watch TV without keeping my hands occupied, so sewing means I can accomplish something at the same time.

I find it rather sad to think that quality has gone so low that things often aren't as repairable these days. My grandmother's sewing kit even had fine threads for repairing stockings, which indicates that she used to have those old ones that could be repaired. Something I've never experienced. Once stockings ladder now, there isn't really any repairing them.

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My mom was one of a kind. She could never sit still unless there was a project in her lap.

Needle and thread for stockings, I've never heard of that either.
The only thing that an old pair of stockings are good for nowadays is putting over your head when you want to rob a bank, or as a mask for... never mind.

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That's hilarious. Reminds me of some friends of mine. A guy we knew had dug a big rectangle in his back yard, and put the trampoline in it; so the bouncy surface was at ground level.
These guys saw it, and decided to do the same with their trampoline; but to make it easy on themselves, they only dug out trenches for the legs. Took them way too long to realise.

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When I was able to tag sale, I was always on the lookout for carpet thread. I use a lot of it on heavy repairs.

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Man, the amount of work...This is insane, and it looks really cool!

I sport holes everywhere in my clothes, I will keep them until they fall appart hahaha.

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