Fit to Wear

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There are many ways of approaching the goal of producing less waste but for me, one of the most obvious things is to consume less and make do with what you have.

Mending, repairing and refashioning will significantly extend the life of items, save them from landfill for longer and of course, reduce the need to purchase a replacement.

Here is a practical example that I did this morning in less than an hour.

This is GMan’s sweatshirt which he wears on the weekend when gardening, mowing and painting as you can see.  The cuffs and lower band are all frayed and badly stretched but the body of the garment is still relatively sound.

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When I said that I could replace the cuffs, he commented how much he liked the fit of it – although I don’t think ‘fit’ is actually the right word.  So, The first thing I did was to make a pattern for future reference.

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I use lightweight interfacing for this purpose and have a roll of it.  I find the patterns cut on interfacing are durable and unlikely to tear.

There are only 2 pieces required – one for the front and back (with different necklines marked) and one for the sleeves.

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Next, I had a dig in my stash of ribbing to find a suitable piece.  I found some bottle green which was exactly enough for the lower band and sleeve cuffs – no wastage at all.

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I then found a piece of black for the neckband and set to work.  I will not try to explain how the ribbing is attached as there are plenty of good instructions which can be found using Google.

The final result.

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GMan is happy and I am sure this will see plenty more wear in the garden.

 

A New Life

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In the 6 years that I have been writing this blog there have been numerous posts about mending and repairing clothes to extend their life.

Tonight I want to show you a couple of projects I completed on the weekend.

This was a long-sleeved shirt which was worn at the cuffs.  The traditional repair of this problem is ‘turn’ the cuffs, that is, to remove the cuff and replace it with the worn outside to the inside, thus doubling the life of the shirt.  Unfortunately, this had worn right on the edge and was visible from both the right and wrong sides.  So, I decided on a different course of action as it is a much-loved shirt.

Using an existing short-sleeved shirt as pattern, I re-fashioned it to a short-sleeved shirt.

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The excess that was cut off did not go completely to waste, either.  I removed the buttons and added them to my stash because, to quote my late father, “you never know when it might come in handy”.  I think that growing up in the Great Depression drove much of his thinking in that respect.  I do not hoard stuff but I do recognise that some things are likely to have a potential future use.  It is all a matter of balance.  I also managed to cut 6 x 5″ squares for future patchwork projects.

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My next project is a perfect example of when those salvaged bits do actually come in handy.  A elastic in a pair of GMan’s shorts had stretched to the point where even the associated drawstring was not sufficient to comfortably keep them up.

I unpicked the stitching and removed the elastic and salvaged the drawstring.  I just needed some suitable elastic and I would be able to reconstruct the shorts.  I found some that I had kept from some underpants that had worn out!  Of course, the fabric from the underpants had ended up in the rag bag.

Here are the shorts with the elastic removed and the drawstring and ‘new’ elastic ready to be re-assembled.

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So, thanks to my stash of salvaged elastic the shorts have been repaired and are as good as new at zero cost.

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Darning – My Version

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I have been unwell for a few days so blogging has not been high on the agenda but I am back now.

Tonight I have a quick post to show you how I mended a small hole in the sleeve on my woollen cardigan.

I noticed the hole a couple of weeks ago when I was about to lightly press the cardigan so I put it aside to mend and finally got around to doing it today.

Darning seems to be a dying skill and my method is far from the traditional method but I find it quite effective.  The basic premise is to replicate a weave by running a series of tiny stitches parallel to each other in one direction and then another series perpendicular to the first.  It is generally done in a fine matching wool on knitwear.

Today I used 4 strands of regular sewing thread in a matching colour to darn a small hole in the sleeve of my cardigan.  I do not have a ‘before’ photo but the ‘after’ one shows the result.  It is not perfect but I am happy that the cardigan is still wearable.

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A New Bag

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I promised I would share some of the things I spent my time on during my Christmas/NewYear break from work.

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This is a bag which had definitely seen better days. It is over 20 years old and the handles were worn out.  I had cut the handles off before I took the photo but you can see that they really needed replacing.

My daughter arrived a couple of days before Christmas and had used a couple of large paper carry bags from boutiques to pack some of her Christmas gifts.  One bag had split and could no longer be used so I cut the heavy ribbon carry handles off it.  They were just the right length to use to replace the handles on my bag.

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I wonder if it will last for another 20 years?

Luxury of a Long Weekend

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Thank you for your kind words after my last post and patience while I collect my thoughts.

This morning I woke and lay in bed contemplating the unusual situation of 3 days at home (it is a long weekend here in Queensland) and no commitments.  That is right – nothing, nobody, nowhere.  We had no plans.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love catching up with family and friends, entertaining and going places but it is such a novelty not to have anything planned.

The weather is cool and humid with showers of rain threatening.

GMan and I began by taking the outdoor table downstairs to clean it in preparation for painting.  Next, we have cleaned all of the concreted area under the house – swept, vacuumed and cleaned with the high-pressure water spray.

After using the outdoor vacuum cleaner GMan discovered that the filter bag was falling to bits.

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I decided that I could make a new one which appears to have been a success.

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Here it is attached to the lid of the vacuum cleaner.

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There are lots of other things we can work on and there will be more about those in upcoming posts.

I hope you are having a safe and relaxing weekend wherever you are.

The Importance of Ironing

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I know many of you will not read this post and others will shake their heads in disbelief at the title but please bear with me.

Ironing is an aspect of homemaking that seems to be almost universally hated but there is a valuable aspect to the task.  I have mentioned before about the importance of taking care of what you own to get the maximum use from it and thus reduce the overall carbon footprint of any item.  This applies to clothes and keeping your clothes in good repair makes good economic and environmental sense.

Taking the time to check each garment while you are ironing can identify problems before they become too extensive to repair.  My previous post about my black linen top highlights this point.  I noticed they fraying at the hem and have repaired this by using a wide satin stitch (zig zag) along the edge that had frayed.  I have checked the remainder of the hem edge and cannot see any signs of similar problems, however, I will keep a close eye on it in the future.

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The mend is not invisible but reasonably well-disguised so I am happy to continue to wear this top.

Today when I was ironing I discovered 2 other issues.  The first was one of GMan’s business shirts.  There was a small yellow stain on the back near the armhole and I have no idea of the origin.  It is about the size of a 20c piece and not terribly noticeable as it is a dark checked shirt.  However, I have soaked the shirt in the hope that the stain will come out.

The other discovery was another minor mending job.  I have a pair of white trousers with a centre back zip and a few stitches of the seam had broken just below the zip.  This is not a huge issue at the moment but could be if I wore them and split the seam further.  I repaired the seam and they are as good as new.  This is a classic example of the saying “A stitch in time saves nine”.  It could also save me from a potentially embarrassing and costly situation if I had to rush out and make an emergency purchase.

Obviously, I do not iron everything but hanging out washing or folding clothes I also take time to make sure they are in good order and ready to be worn.

Disappointed

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I was doing the ironing today and one of the items I ironed was a black linen top that I bought in Melbourne when we were on holidays in December.

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I noticed that there seemed to be a small segment of frayed fabric on the bottom edge.  On closer inspection I discovered that that bottom has a facing rather than a turned hem and the fabric had been trimmed too close to the stitching leaving next to no seam allowance.

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Thanks to my spreadsheet tracking what I wear, I know that I have worn it 4 times.  This is not a $5 top and I am really disappointed that this has happened.

I could toss it in the bag to go to the op shop but I have decided to take responsibility and mend it.

My first thought was to align the edges and zig zag it together using a fairly short stitch.  This would be far from invisible but fairly effective.  The section in question is on the bottom edge at the back of the garment.  Alternatively, I could unpick the topstitching to access the section from the inside and restitch it.  My concern with this approach is that it could create a noticeable dip in the edge.

How would you approach this mending task?