October 15, 2014

Mending x 450

Combine my dislike of shopping, especially for trousers, with my ingrained belief that "planned obsolescence" is not only wasteful and irresponsible, but shameful to boot, and it's high time I tackle the  perplexing seat mend to my only pair of jeans. 
I've been avoiding this particular mend because I just couldn't figure out how to fit a patch to this area where four curved panels of fabric meet. Plus I was daunted by the bazillion layers of fabric in the spot where the two inner thigh seams overlap both the seam that runs from the fly to the crotch and the seam that runs from the crotch up the back of the seat.

Just when I thought these jeans might need to shift from the wardrobe to the crafting stash, enter Slow Fashion Style, an online workshop that started this week led by Katrina Rodabaugh (who I first mentioned here). The workshop is the culmination of Katrina's yearlong project Make Thrift Mend. If consuming fewer clothes in a more responsible manner and caring for the clothes you already have interests you, take a spin around Make Thrift Mend. It's quite inspiring.

Also inspiring are the 450 classmates of mine from all over the world who are participating in the workshop. Our first assignment is to visibly mend an article of clothing with Sashiko style stitches. (A little more about the concept can be found here.) I decided right away to mend my jeans to complete the assignment, but was still reluctant to start until my classmate Arbor Lee shared her mending project. With Arbor's thoughts in mind, inspiring pictures shared on facebook by other classmates, and this mend suggestion from Katrina, I jumped in.
I turned the jeans inside out, ironed the seat, and marked with red chalk the edge of patching area. The patch needs to extend beyond the area of worn, compromised denim so the stitching will anchor the patch to sound fabric. I smoothed out the seat to one side of the crotch seam at a time and securely pinned a scrap of denim in place.
I started with an oversized patch - I couldn't tell ahead of time how the patch would orient itself as I shaped it to the two curved inner thigh pieces to each side of the center seam - and then trimmed it slightly larger than the chalk outline. Getting the patch to sit flat and smooth was a little fiddly, but not nearly as difficult as I had imagined.
The most difficult part for me was deciding on thread color. Make it pop? Make it subtle? Since I happen to have several shades of both orange and turquoise embroidery floss on hand (who would have thought?), this decision, by far, was the most time consuming part of the project. As you can see from the semi-circular outline of safety pins pictured above, it is likely that when worn, the stitching will extend from between my legs up to visible bits of my jeans clad bottom. Subtlety won.
Here's the beginning, six rows of wonky stitches in. More subtle than I anticipated, but I do love it. I love how it looks and I love the calming, relaxing process of stitching by hand.
My crooked running stitch on the outside of the jeans...
...and on the inside.

And that bazillion layer seam convergence at the center of the damaged area? Piece of cake once I found my thimble. There's really nothing complicated about this mend at all. All it takes is a little patience, a little experimentation, and most importantly, the willingness to begin.


  1. I am SO impressed! Well done. Mending jeans has always intimidated me and seeing how you've done this I feel a little sad I chopped my favourite pair off into shorts last summer after they ripped to the point of no return. I think I just might have been able to do something far more creative with them. Next time I will :-)

    1. I must admit, I do have a rather sore finger from the stitching - just couldn't get the knack for the thimble - but it was well worth it.

      One of my workshop mates shared this resource you might like, a jeans repair kit. http://www.nudiejeans.com/books/repair-kit-repair-your-own-jeans/#/0

  2. I did a mend on the crotch of my jeans .. didn't post it though...it was done months ago with a patch on the outside .. i used colored fabrics. The only thing I don't like about my own repair is that now it feels a bit wonky when I wear them haha..

    1. Thanks for popping by, Tammy. Yeah, I'm a little concerned that this patch might be irritating. It's rather stiff with stitches. I'm hoping it will soften with washing, which I plan to do before wearing them. Fingers crossed.